Each week Megan Nicol Reed asks a public figure to choose three of the seven deadly sins to confess to.

This week Louise Nicholas enters the box. In 1993 Nicholas accused several policemen of raping her nine years earlier and obstructing evidence in the subsequent trials. The 51-year-old now works as the National Sexual Violence Survivor Advocate, reporting to the Ministry of Justice and ACC.

WRATH
I'm so glad you picked wrath. Surely, as someone who has been so patently and so publicly sinned against, you are entitled to feel wrathful?
I definitely indulged my full fury. I couldn't understand how 12 members of the public, our jurors, got it so wrong. I could not understand that, when I felt they would see that the evidence was overwhelming.

Is that what made you angriest? Not so much what those men did to you, but that you never saw justice done?
For a while I felt that I never got to have my justice but my justice came and my anger subsided when … it was actually the night the jury came back and we had all these "not guiltys". It was seeing the anger, the sadness, the snot and the tears of not only my family and my friends, but from members of the police who were involved with Operation Austin which undertook that investigation. I thought, we may have lost the battle in courtroom 12 but my determination was to win the war, so that anyone else going through this process wouldn't go through it like I did.

Advertisement

Do you still harbour anger towards the men who hurt you?
Nah, I did what I needed to do, for not only myself, but for my family and other women; where their lives have led them, that's their pathway. I don't want to give any more air to them, the air that I inhale, that I exhale, goes to survivors of sexual violence and ensuring they get the best support they can.

You've spent the last week supporting an 8-year-old boy in court. The man accused of sexually assaulting him was acquitted. How did your wrath manifest itself?
I keep it very internal because of my own journey and the anger and the guilt and the sadness and all those emotions that I was caught up in. I don't want to put that on to our survivors, I want to empower them. I want them to know, regardless of the outcome, that you have taken this journey, you have stood up, you have told your truth, and you can hold your head high walking out of that courtroom.

GLUTTONY
Nothing about your physical person suggests a gluttonous streak; I'm curious why you picked it?
For me gluttony is like you overindulge and I have overindulged in my speaking out. I pig out on needing for people to understand. I want to shake them, to help society understand what it's like to be a survivor of sexual violence, going through not only the harm that's been perpetrated but the processes, the police process, the court process, the outcomes. So I just want to swallow it all up and be this big fat pig and throw it all out there again. And say, please understand, please listen, please stop the rape culture, the victim-blaming.

Do you ever drown your sorrows in alcohol or food?
Umm … I enjoy a wine or two, but to say that I over indulge in that, no. I don't see that as a pathway out of the hurt, I see that as my time to sit back, have a couple of wines, reflect on the day. You know, Friday night with the little boy, when we got the "not guilty", I just needed to come home, pour a glass of wine, and reflect on whether there was anything we could have done better.

SLOTH
As well as courage, your pursuit through the courts of the men who'd hurt you must have required a huge amount energy. It's hard to imagine you are a slothful person.

You know what, sometimes it gets bloody hard to keep up that persona, to keep up, you know, that I can help, that I can support others. Sometimes it just gets so hard, especially when there're children. The youngest child I've supported was a 6-year-old. I just wanted to come home, to curl up on the bed after hearing what'd happened to her, just blob. And I don't want to hear anything, I don't want to see anything, I don't want to know anything.

How long does that lethargy last?
It's not long because I know that the next person we need to help is right there, within metres away. So it's kind of like, "Get over yourself, Louise. Buck yourself up."