Sex victim chose fatness to avoid sex appeal

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JAILED: William John Ross,was sentenced to prison on sex charges last week. PHOTO FILE
JAILED: William John Ross,was sentenced to prison on sex charges last week. PHOTO FILE

A woman who relived her childhood molestation through two trials as the abuser successfully appealed his first conviction has told a Napier court of the lifelong impact, including making herself fat to avoid being regarded as sexually attractive.

It came in a victim impact statement read on her behalf by a victim's advisor yesterday in Napier District Court where William John Ross, now in his late 60s, was sentenced to four years and six months' jail on one charge of attempted to rape the woman's sister and concurrent terms of 18 months for indecently assaulting each of them.

Ross had denied the offending and according to Judge Geoff Rea mounted a defence claiming the women's claims of where offences happened meant they could not have occurred.

Neither complainant was in court for the sentencing, but in the victim impact statement one said that since the abuse when she was just eight years old she had spent over 30 years struggling with relationships, including not trusting men, and had deliberately over-eaten to make herself fat so that she wouldn't appear sexually attractive.

The woman said she did not tell anyone what had happened in the offences in the early 1980s, even having known what her sister was subjected to as she sat in the man's lap.

At 17 and having told a boyfriend who then said he would go to the police if she didn't, she told her mother, but to her mum it was "all about herself," the victim said.

She said she was elated when Ross was charged and found guilty in court for the first time, but guilty about the stress she believed she had contributed to placing on her sister in bringing the issues to light. The woman felt she was "instrumental" in making her sister relive it.

She said when she learned Ross had successfully appealed she rang her partner who was overseas and cried on the phone for an hour, but she eventually steeled herself to go through the process again.

"Having to go through it all again is on a par with the assaults," she said. "I just wanted him to be accountable."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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