Sexually abused as a minor, she still seeks justice

Sexually abused as a minor, she still seeks justice

.

Dear Mrs. Macaulay,

I have been struggling with a burning issue for years and it seems like it is going nowhere. I am a male and I was sexually assaulted at the age of 14 by a man in my community. At first, he was protective of me and to be honest, I was happy because I was always treated like a nobody so him coming to protect me was a great feeling. My parents were not really around and I was living with my father and stepmother in an abusive home. This man sexually assaulted me and after being sexually assaulted, I told my father that same night and out of fear, he advised me to keep quiet. I did not listen and the next day, I started telling everyone. Eventually the man heard about it and he tried to kill me but to no avail. I reported the matter to the Child Development Agency (CDA) and I was taken to a boys home. I have only been to court once. That was in 2014, and now it is 2024 and I still have not received justice. The man is still walking free and I am still suffering. I have tried multiple times to contact the officer handling the case, and I was told that the officer had been transferred and there was no record of the case being pending. Now I want to know what more I can do to get justice before I plan my act of revenge that will make me a wanted man. The system has failed me and I am frustrated.

It is very unfortunate that you were not able to have your complaint heard in the family court when you were taken there. You say that the system failed you, but revenge is not a good idea or a sensible idea, because even if you do not succeed in your action against it, your mere attempt would be enough to send you to prison. And you are wrong to conclude that the system failed you. The system is inanimate; it is the people who work within the system who, by their actions, create success or cause failure.

I can understand how frustrated you must have been all these years, because everyone you reported this man’s sexual assault to did nothing – even your father who was afraid to do or say anything, and you were left free to speak out.

You say you reported the matter, but the man was not arrested for first sexually assaulting you and then attempting to kill you. It seems that this office has not responded to the criminal offenses committed against you. It seems to me that you were sent to the boys’ home and taken to family court because they thought you only needed care and protection. Another date had to be set for you to be brought back to court because your case would not have been heard at your first appearance, and all the necessary witnesses would have had to be heard when your case was processed and heard.

I do not know why you were not brought back to court. This failure was allegedly caused by the boys’ home officers, the court clerk and the CDA officer who should have been in court that day for your case. And you yourself were at fault for not keeping track of your next court date and not reporting it to the home officers. It appears from your letter that you have kept silent.

You also say that you tried to contact the police officer in charge of the case, without specifying how and when this officer became involved in your case. Was it the officer in the family courtroom? Because you never said that you reported the case to a police station. You also say that there was no record that your case was actually open and, according to this last statement, they would have said that there was no record of your complaint.

What more can you do to get justice? You can go to the family court registry where you were taken and ask for a search to be done for your case. You will need to give them the date, day, month and year of your court appearance, which I hope you remember; if not the day or month then at least the year. There should be a record of your court appearance. The CDA should also have a record of your report to the CDA and their decision to place you in the home. If and when you get information about your complaints from the CDA or the court registry or both, then since the whole matter arose out of sexual assault on a minor, I suggest you go to the children’s registry and report that you were sexually abused and that you need them to help you get your complaint resolved legally and tell them everything about the man, identify him and find out what happened over the years. The Child Protection Act created this office to deal with cases like this. Then there is the Children’s Advocate who you can also report anything to and who can determine whether your situation warrants them making arrangements for you to have legal representation now, which you should have had under the same act when you were 14 and until you turn 18.

These are the only avenues I can suggest to you. I am not saying that you will be successful with these solutions, but as I mentioned, the CDA and the Family Court should have a file on you and your case, as should the boys’ home. The fact that your case seems to have fallen through the cracks of the justice system is not new, but it is due to a human failure in the way they do their job. It is accepted that “to err is human”, but a 10 year delay and the resulting failure to resolve a minor child’s case is shocking and unacceptable, and I must say that I am sincerely shocked as I have never heard of a situation like yours.

So I hope you succeed. Please don’t even talk to me about taking the law into your own hands. If all I’ve suggested fails, maybe you should go to an investigative journalist from a media outlet and tell him about your experience, and maybe he’ll decide to investigate and report on it.

I hope I have clarified the situation for you.

I wish you the best for your future life.

Margarette May Macaulay is a barrister, Supreme Court mediator, notary and advocate for women and children’s rights. Email your questions to [email protected]; or write to All Woman, 40-42 1/2 Beechwood Avenue, Kingston 5. All replies are published.