Lisa Lewis on Name Suppression

UPDATED: Moved to top

Everyone knows the name of Lisa Lewis, not only is she New Zealand’s highest paid hooker and a nominee for the Veuve Clicquot Businesswoman of the Year Award but she was also a victim of sexual abuse when very young.

Well, between the ages of 5-8 I myself was a victim of sexual abuse.? I have come to understand firsthand the impact, the repercussions and the difficulties of dealing with something which is still seldom spoken of.

I know the sense of emptiness and frustration a victim has when even they are not allowed to identify their abuser.

In my case an extended family member misused the time he was supposed to be babysitting me to take advantage sexually.

But why is she telling us all this. It sounds positively awful, no one should have to go through that and then cop it all again in the court process. Surely this is a case for where name suppression should be used. Lisa says no way.

It was a horrific affair which evolved over an extended period and ultimately led to a step relative? appearing before Justice Morris in the High Court at Rotorua on March 15, 1995.? He was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment after pleading guilty to two charges of sexual violation by an act of unlawful sexual connection, and two charges of committing an indecent act.? It emerged he’d been involved in about 80 cases of abuse all up, but because of the “hush hush” approach from most sectors of society had repeatedly got away with it.? In my case it took a very brave family member to make a stand and accept the word of a young and frightened girl.

All the hush-hush that comes with name suppression in cases like this is supposed to be for the benefit of the victim. the thing is no-one ever asks a victim what they think about it usually because they are too young at the time. This allows the kiddy-fiddlers to get way with it for so long.

Right now one of the cases that I am alleged to have named both the victim and the accused (“The Olympian”) and the case of the “Comedian”, both of these fellows have been ordered to stay away from the complainant and in one case ordered to stay away from young children. The ex-MP with name suppression is in the same boat. The thing is this. If we can’t be allowed to know who it is that should stay away from various situations or people then how can they be reported for breaching the court instruction because we aren’t allowed to know who they are in the first place. Therefore we run a real risk of there being more victims, especially as they are all out on bail. If they were known then they would effectively be under house arrest as they sure as hell wouldn’t show their faces anywhere.

Lisa thinks so too, and she thinks so from the point of view of a victim, so we can at least get a picture of how victims have to deal with the situation.

The trauma had a huge impact on my life.? Having trust abused is not something any five or six or seven year old should ever have to experience, and even today, when I enter a new relationship a subconscious lack of trust seems to kick in as a defence mechanism.

I have a lot of sympathy for the public stance Slater is taking, and a crusade in which he argues few abusers have any case for having their names kept secret.? But I would go even further than him.? Slater believes child abuse is the one exception where there should be name suppression, in order to protect the child.? Well, I still have vivid memories of my experiences and the aftermath, and don’t think it works that way.

In my case, I was told by family I was not to talk about it because it was “a naughty subject”.? If I did talk, the threat was I would be taken off my mother’s hands by social service agencies.

As a result I went through four wretched years of harbouring “a secret”.? And the healing process didn’t start until I was able to start talking about it. ? It’s left me a firm believer that daylight is the best disinfectant, even if in many cases people think they are protecting the child by keeping everything under wraps.

In my experience, far more good would be achieved for all parties with maximum transparency.

I agree, and I am grateful to Lisa for her support. Lisa is a very brave person, not only because of the industry in which she works, not only for using her real name, but for exposing her childhood sexual abuse, abuse that the attacker is probably still under permanent name suppression for. He not only is a convicted kiddly-fiddler, he is a coward. The little girl he abused is a champion.

With name suppression there is no fear of public consequences.? And victims feel they can’t talk about it, that they are an object of “shame” and they go into their shell, as I did.

In the case of current court name suppression tendencies, the wrong people – the offenders – are being protected, rather than the victims. ? As for me, I grew up very boy-shy and extremely nervous around men after the sexual abuse.? Ironically, when I began working as a stripper much later in life, I found it provided a very beneficial dimension in terms of overcoming my trauma.? It finally made me face all my fears and helped me get over my shyness with men.

Lisa is a toughy for sure. Everything is out there (physically as well as literally). She is dead right, the point is how do we get there. I feel a momentum building for action. I think the Law Commission, the Judiciary and the Police have missed the point and where public sentiment has moved to and it has moved fast. I will make sure it moves further.

As Lisa Lewis says “Sexual abuse is not okay. Neither is name suppression for offenders.”