The teenage girl who was allegedly raped by three men in Geelong has spoken out about her experience for the first time.
She was just 14 when the incident allegedly occurred, and the men were aged 30, 29, and 20. She took her case to court, however was shocked to find how difficult it was to bring her attackers to justice.
Now 16 years old, she wrote an open letter as told to Miki Perkins at The Age, explaining how she dealt with the process as a minor who had just experienced rape, and why she decided to discontinue the trial.
One of the things she found hardest was having to relive all her experiences again through questioning. But her description of the environment rape survivors are placed in is particularly eye-opening.
"I couldn't stand the thought of been interrogated and drilled for days on end. Not to mention the sterile and serious atmosphere where everyone wore clean-cut suits and spoke in legal terms I didn't understand.
"I felt so out of place, so uncomfortable. I tried to be strong in front of all these adults, but I was on the verge of tears the majority of the time. And a courtroom is no place for a child. It was just the lawyers and me, I felt so intimidated."
It became clear that the trial was going to take several years to carry out, and she had to think about her own mental health, and her studies.
"Going into year 12 during intense, traumatic trial would have affected my mental health and could have had a negative impact on my schooling."
Ultimately, she was very disappointed with the process, and discontinued the trial. Her parents were worried that the cross-examination would be damaging on her, as she would have had to give evidence in court for three to five days.
"I hope one day very soon this changes, so what happened to me never happens to another girl."
Her family is now seeking to change the legal system, and are campaigning for the protection of child rape victims during the court process.