Rape victims can throw up or be brought to tears by the tactics of opposing lawyers.

Katy’s stepfather had sexually abused her from the age of nine until she left home at 21. He was initially found guilty of indecent assault and rape, but the conviction was overturned on appeal and a retrial ordered.

“The defence barrister’s style was deplorable,” Katy says of the retrial. ” He intimidated me the whole time. He would yell at me and come up really close to question me. I was surprised at his level of animosity. He called me every name under the sun. I was just a piece of shit to him.”

Katy describes the trials flatly, without emotion. She says she is describing incidents from a past life: the “younger Katy” who was repeatedly sexually assaulted and had to go through the trauma of multiple court cases.

Reference to this article in a book by Evan Whitton.


The “crisis in care” series examined the problems within the Victorian Department of Human Services and the impact these problems had on the children, young people, parents and carers who have to deal with the department. The articles were written with William Birnbauer and published in The Sunday Age.

The series received a special commendation at the 2004 Media Peace Awards of the United Nations Association of Australia and was a finalist at the 2004 Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission media awards.

July 4, 2004: Slipping away: youth on drugs

July 11, 2004: Did political correctness kill little Jed?

End of state care too abrupt: report

July 18, 2004: Appoint a children’s champion, Vic told

Bracks fails to deliver over Jed

August 22, 2004: Seeds of another stolen generation

An inter-racial success story

Young deaths a backdrop to bitter power play

Women’s refuge facing closure

August 29, 2004: Investigate all child deaths, state told

Pictures provide small window on unspeakable pain