Page last updated at 16:23 GMT, Friday, 16 October 2009 17:23 UK

Victim of family rape speaks out

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The woman was sexually abused from the age of five until she was 22

A woman whose mother did not believe her when she became pregnant after being raped by members of her family says she tried to commit suicide.

Her mother beat her when it was discovered she was seven months pregnant, Cardiff Crown Court heard.

Her step-uncle, stepfather and brother-in-law were given long jail terms after the judge said they treated her like an "unpaid and unwilling prostitute."

The woman said the truth may not have emerged without her partner's support.

None of the convicted men can be publicly named to protect the victim's identity.

I even tried to commit suicide but my partner helped me. He just told me not to do anything
Abuse victim

The step-uncle, 55, was convicted of seven counts of rape, three of indecency with a child, and one of indecent assault.

The stepfather and the brother-in-law, 27, were each convicted of three rapes.

The court was told the woman was repeatedly abused as a child by the step-uncle and later in life also by her stepfather and brother-in-law.

The woman said her partner had given her the courage to report the abuse to police.

"He gave me the strength to do that otherwise it would've been kept under the carpet or whatever, but he helped me to come forward," she said.

Rapists being led to court
The rapists cannot be named in order to protect the victim's identity

She said she had felt so low at one point that she had tried to take her own life.

"I felt like there's nothing for me now. Even after my ex-husband left me, I thought I've got no-one now, I won't be able to get married or nothing in this life now," she said.

"That's all I thought. When he took my kids, I thought that's it, my life has ended.

"I even tried to commit suicide but my partner helped me. He just told me not to do anything."

When asked whether she had been ostracised by her community, she said she had been called names and it was difficult for her to leave the house.

"I was being given wrong names like I'm a prostitute, I stand on the streets, I do bad things but I've never been like that," she said.

Not content with your own sexual abuse on her, you encouraged the others to treat her like an unpaid and unwilling prostitute
Judge Patrick Curran's comments to the step-uncle

"It was so hard for me to go out as well. Even nowadays I can't even go out of the house properly because I feel like people are going to talk about me."

She had told the jury her mother beat her when it was found that she was seven months pregnant.

She said her mother had not believed her when she had tried to tell her that she was pregnant by a member of her own family.

'Extremely courageous'

"When she went to the doctors, checked me out, she realised I was seven months pregnant, she still didn't believe me," she said.

"She hit me with a rod and stuff like that so she never believed me.

"She always said to me 'they can't do that to you, they're your family, they can't do it' but unfortunately they did."

During the trial, the court was told that when the woman became pregnant at 14 she was hidden away, sometimes in a wardrobe.

The step-uncle agreed in court he was the father of her child, but told the jury he had not found out until much later once DNA tests were carried out.

In court, Judge Patrick Curran told her step-uncle: "Not content with your own sexual abuse on her, you encouraged the others to treat her like an unpaid and unwilling prostitute.

"You all then involved yourselves in a group rape on her."

Prosecutor Marion Lewis said the woman went to police last year and told officers she had been repeatedly abused from the age of five.

The three men, all from Cardiff, had denied the charges but were found guilty of rape and indecency after a trial.

The step-uncle, 55, and stepfather were jailed indeterminately, with terms recommended of 20 and 15 years respectively, while her brother-in-law, 27, was jailed for 12 years.

The court was told that both the step-uncle and stepfather are illegal immigrants, who will be deported after they have served their sentences.

After they were sentenced, Det Insp Chris Mullane, of South Wales Police, said the victim had been "extremely courageous" in coming forward and he urged anyone who had been raped in the past to come forward and the case would be investigated "robustly".



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