Warning: this story deals with rape and child abuse.
Today, 74-year-old Richard Haynes was sentenced to 45 years in jail by a Sydney court.
In the 1970s and '80s, he repeatedly tortured, abused and raped his daughter, Jeni Haynes, who was aged between four and 11 at the time. To survive the trauma, she forged new identities, including Symphony, a four-year-old girl; Ricky, an eight-year-old boy; and Muscles, a teenager. In fact, she developed 2000 distinct personalities, who she has referred to as an “army of strangers”.
At her father’s trial earlier this year, Jeni, now 49, told the court that she had dissociative identity disorder – and testified as six of her different identities. It’s reportedly the first case in the world where a victim with the disorder has taken to the stand in multiple personalities – and secured a conviction.
Now, her father is locked up in prison, but Jeni’s pain endures. Her eyesight, bowel, anus, coccyx and jaw are all irreversibly damaged from the beatings and sexual abuse she endured.
But she’s intent on telling her story. "I want my 10-year struggle for justice to literally have been the fire that ripped through the field so that people behind me have a much easier road,” Jeni told the BBC before the sentencing.
"If you have MPD as a result of abuse, justice is now possible. You can go to the police and tell and be believed. Your diagnosis is no longer a barrier to justice."