THE VICTIM of a convicted sexual offender has pledged to help others after years of suffering following her own ordeal.
The Leamington resident, who did not want to be named, was sexually assaulted in her teens by 55-year-old John Hall, previously of Rugby, but now of Sleaford in Lincolnshire, who has been jailed nearly two decades after the incident.
The then 13-year-old was babysitting in Rugby, when Hall, who was known to the family, called in on her. After chatting to her on the sofa, he told her the necklace she was wearing was caught in the zip of her top as a ruse to touch her before putting his hand inside her bra.
The teenager froze and was unable to react before Hall went on to rub his body against hers, and then got up and left.
The assault was reported to the authorities although she did not to take it further because she did not want to face Hall in court.
It was only last year, when she was aged 28, she reported what had happened to police after becoming aware of a further complaint of sexual assault against Hall.
She told the Observer: “I came forward because I knew he had done it to someone else. I could live with what happened to me but I feel strongly to protect and help other people.
“For him to commit two offences that we know of so many years apart shows this man needed taking away from young girls and the community.The psychological damage is far greater than the physical and it’s not something either myself or the other lady will forget.”
Her own ordeal lead the now 29-year-old to take an overdose some years later and face a further battle with her mental health including post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression, which still affect her today.
But having children proved pivotal in her determination to turn her life around.
The mum-of-two, who was forced to leave school after the impact of Hall’s actions affected her behaviour, did exams in maths and English before heading to university to pursue a career in social work.
She added: “I decided when my children were born I would turn my life around and stop mental health, a consequence of his actions, from defining my future. I can not allow this man to take anymore of my life away.
“I believe social work has a wide range of sectors and I do want to work with survivors of abuse or mental health. I feel with that line of work if you have life experience you really can relate to a service user and their needs. It enables me to connect with emotional difficulties they could be facing. You never can truly understand the impact unless you’ve experienced this yourself. Psychologically the impact is far greater and has a significant impact on how we view ourselves and others. But I do know now I can move forward with my life, I can hold my head high and I can help others.”
And the former victim hopes her case will provide hope to others suffering in silence.
She added: “I hope this helps people who may have been the victim of abuse to come forward, that they will be taken seriously and timescale doesn’t matter. They’re not alone and neither was I.
“I am thankful to Rugby police and to the wider public who know both me and him. The support has been overwhelming.
“My life since has felt like a constant battle to keep on the right track. It feels like it’s hurdle after hurdle but I know now that’s justice has been served and whilst he will be out in two years that’s two years he has to reflect on his actions and the impact on the people he made his victims.”
She has since set up a Facebook page called ‘Survivor’s Story’ for victims in need of support.
Hall was recently jailed for four-and-a-half years and ordered to register as a sex offender for life.