“I had to pay my police identified perpetrator” — alleged child abuse survivor saddled with a $120,000 bill for not being heard.

By Jing Chen

A 60-year-old advocate has been sharing her story to challenge the judicial system and to draw attention to the difficulties survivors face while looking for justice.

Marita Murphy said she was raped by two teenagers when she was just seven years old.

She said the assaults happened in her ten-day stay in a Catholic family, after she was picked up by a woman with three boys in her car and was driven to a house in Elsternwick.

“These people offered to help,” Mrs Murphy said.

“They came up to get me. It was a very long drive,” she said.

Marita Murphy was the youngest of seven children in the family. She was at home with her brothers and her gran who was 84 before being picked up by the family. `Picture shows her with her father who passed away on July 1 1968 from a brain tumour. Photo: Marita Murphy

Two of the boys — the woman’s older son aged 13 at the time, and an Indigenous teenager who was also staying with the family — are the alleged main perpetrators of the assaults.

“Mum thought they’re a good Catholic family. She was obviously very devastated about what had happened. She had been sick in hospital and my dad had just died six months earlier after a long illness,” said Mrs Murphy.

Mrs Murphy said she felt “a lot of shame” growing up as a sexual assault victim in the “little, Holy, wholesome Catholic church community” where “everything’s about virgins and purity”. Picture shows her mid-term and final school report at age 12. Photo: Marita Murphy

In May 2014, Mrs Murphy reported her case to the police. With her recollection of memories, the police found the two brothers in 2015.

She said the older brother denied the existence of both her and the Aboriginal boy, while the younger brother said the Aboriginal boy existed, when they were questioned separately by police.

“If I’m just a little seven-year-old girl from the country, how could I know they had an Aboriginal called Eugene living with them?” Mrs Murphy said.

On June 2018, Mrs Murphy had her first meeting with the Aboriginal named Eugene, who was a father of a young son at the time, and showed him the photo of her with her mum.
I said, you love that little boy, don’t you?” she said, “and I said, my mum loved me too, but something awful happened to me at seven. 
And you could just see him wrestling with his conscience.

In 2016, Mrs Murphy sued the older brother in the County Court.

The defendant denied the allegations against him and applied to permanently stay proceedings saying that allowing proceeding was an abuse of process.

The application was initially refused by the primary judge, noting that “Although the defendant had suffered general prejudice”, the Act was “specifically intended to recognise the difficulties faced by survivors of abuse in bringing claims at an earlier time”.

After the trial, the defendant told Herald Sun said he didn’t believe he would have been allowed out in such cold weather.

However, Mrs Murphy said it was summer because it happened six months after her father passed away.

She said that this was later supported by her oldest brother’s statutory declaration.

On 22 May 2017, the Court of Appeal set aside the initial ruling and ordered a permanently stay of proceedings.

The judges noted that the defendant was 13 years old at the time of the alleged offence and it would be too “burdensome and oppressive” for the defendant to defend himself.

Australian Lawyers Alliance said in an opinion piece that considering the “life-long consequences of the abuse to survivors” noted by the Family and Community Development Committee in their report, “the narrow interpretation” taken by the Court of Appeal in Murphy’s case is “disappointing”.

They also noted that the decision can cause “concern for survivors of abuse”. 

Mrs Murphy said she was under the burden of a $120,000 bill for both decisions made in courts.

“That’s got to send a clear message to any survivors, don’t you come to the courts, looking for justice,” she said.

Mrs Murphy’s story has been filmed into a documentary and is going to be shown at the Ballarat Cinema.

The documentary “You Be The Judge” has been published on Youtube as well as The FAQyMe Gene, which is a website made by John Brown to address the issue of child sexual abuse.

“I remain at risk of litigation and defamation by speaking out, which is so unfair, but I’m going to do it anyway,” she said.

“It’s not a personal thing, it’s about a system.”

Marita Murphy became the winner of the AMA President’s Award 2022 for the advocacy work she has done for sexual assault victims.

AMA Victoria President Dr Roderick McRae chose Marita Murphy as the award winner after watching her documentary “You Be The Judge”.
Mrs Murphy speaking at Hyatt Melbourne on April 29 for AMA Award to raise awareness of the impact of childhood trauma on sexual assault survivors’ mental health.

“The health system is flooded with trauma, and prevention is better than a cure,” Mrs Murphy said.

16 thoughts on ““I had to pay my police identified perpetrator” — alleged child abuse survivor saddled with a $120,000 bill for not being heard.

    1. Maryknoll Hall showing Saturday June 5th 6pm. All welcome but numbers are capped to 60 because of Covid so I need to know who’s coming. Cost, just a donation for the hall and tech hire ….

      Like

  1. All over the world, the sex crime justice system, is flawed it appears to defends the perpetrators, and for those who have been a victim, it is just more abuse by the so called justice system. Something needs to be done worldwide, I just don’t know what is wrong with some people, surly the judges can see it’s failings,😡😡😡

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely. Get raped by the perp and get raped by the system. I spent nearly 3 years fighting until I had a stroke and had to give up. So the message that is sent to the perp is keep lying and you’ll get away with it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Is there any way this post can sent to my email address patgarnet88@hotmail.com. I have a friend (not on facebook) who would find Marita’s experience very informative. We all need to support each other as this travesty is still in communities. Thanks to anybody who can email this to me

    Cheers and THANKS Pat Garnet

    Like

  3. My documentary has two showings in Victoria in July please anyone feel free to contact me directly Facebook Messenger Twitter for details or ask the premier if you can have a lend of his copy hopefully he’s finished with it

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sadly now no longer “Mrs” after 37 years, never any third party involved in our marriage.. trauma upon trauma..,

    Like

  5. I want you to get justice. My sister and I never got it.
    But please could you change the wording from Aboriginal to Indigenous and Juvenile delinquent to an unemployed teenager or young adult?

    Like

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