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Two New Zealand Sisters Have Exposed Their Identities To Name Their Abusive Father

They say waiving their right to anonymity has empowered them.

Celeste and Tiana Smith have waived their right to anonymity in order to expose their stepfather who sexually abused them more than 100 times.

The New Zealand Herald reports Celeste is now 19 years old, and Tiana is now 20 years old, however their stepfather Ira Manamana started abusing them from the ages of 12 and 15 respectively.

Manamana was sentenced to 16 years of jail with a minimum non-parole period of eight years at the Waitakere District Court last week.

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Although sexual abuse victims have the right to remain anonymous, and the media initially kept their identities hidden, the sisters decided to reveal their identities in order to encourage others to speak out about their own abuse.

“Automatic name suppression makes you feel like you have to be hidden and ashamed,” Celeste told NZ Herald.

“I wanted to show that it is not an embarrassment to have your name out there on this type of offence.”

While at first, she found the abuse had taken so much from her, she found that speaking out was a way to reclaim that.

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“From the experience of being abused, I lost so much: The relationship with my family, I lost my self respect, I lost my personality of being cheerful and carefree.

“Now I am gaining it all back.

“I really feel so much relief after talking about it and coming out, I feel brave and confident and well-supported by everyone around me – it feels so empowering.”

Tiana also supported her sister’s comments about the experience of speaking publicly about the abuse.

“I’m finally allowed to speak after the many years, since 15, of having to keep this secret. I feel content with myself knowing there is now nothing to hide.”

She added that the abuse has nothing to do with the victim’s integrity, and everything to do with the abuser.

“It’s got nothing to do with [the victim], they haven’t put themselves in this position or done this to themselves.”

Manamana will serve a 16 year jail sentence for his crimes, with a non-parole period of eight years.

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