As the law stands currently in New Zealand, victims and perpetrators of child sexual abuse are all automatically granted name suppression as soon as proceedings start. The rationale for this is to protect the victim, as naming a perpetrator in a family sexual abuse case also “outs” the victim. But what happens when the person who has been abused wants to be named, and wants their abuser named?
Mark and I discussed this on his Sunday morning show this week, and talked about one brave woman who is challenging this law. (Click here to listen to the interview)
Last week Candy Eum had her application to waive name suppression granted by the Courts, enabling her to talk publicly about her experiences, and name her abuser as her step-father and Rotorua businessman Brian Hughes. Mr. Hughes has been convicted and jailed for multiple sex offenses related to the sexual abuse of Ms. Eum.
Shame is one of the core experiences of childhood sexual abuse, and secrecy the outcome, and while many victims would want their identity suppressed, Candy’s argument is that the choice should rest with the victim…
“Ms Eum said she wanted her name made public so she could help other rape survivors.
“Victims should be given the right, from day one when they report, if they want their name suppressed. For victims to actually have to go through the ordeal to report, and then go through the ordeal to have their name unsuppressed – I just don’t think that’s very fair on them.
“The name suppression is designed to protect victims and survivors, so they can report without feeling afraid that they will be identified.
“The problem is, I was never given that option. It was just automatically suppressed.” (Click here for the whole article)
A big part of the reason Candy wanted to be able to talk publicly is she now is working to help other survivors, via her website “The Strength to Survive” see: www.strengthtosurvive.com
From the website…
“My mission is to inspire truth and freedom for victims/survivors of child sexual abuse as well as the supporting family members and friends. This website (The Strength to Survive) is created with the aim to provide a guide for victims and survivors, made by real survivors, to help each other and others discover a life free from the trauma of their abuse.”
And that’s a mission that I would hope we are all willing to support.