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It's Not Always Right To Report Sexual Abuse


The Daily Mail published an article this week in which Debbie Newsome says she was ..."groped by Roger Moore" the Bond actor, when she was 21. But she explains that she welcomed the attention and felt flattered and that she was promoted to a Bond Girl. So, why bring up the insinuation of sexual abuse at all?

See, the thing is, bringing up some situations of sexual abuse years after the event is not always the right thing to do for two reasons:

1. In the UK there is no Statute of Limitations for serious sex crimes which means that someone can be arrested, charged and convicted for a crime that happened many years ago. It's often the case that the evidence is the word of the alleged victim against that of the accused with other witnesses having hazy memories or may have died. Yet prosecutions still continue and the accused then has to prove his (because the majority of the accused are male) innocence rather than the prosecution having to prove his guilt as does any defendant nowadays charged with sexual abuse. This is not always fair as has been demonstrated in the last 12 months.

2. The damage and cost to the families can be catastrophic. I have personal experience of being abused as a child. When I was 13 I went for a sleepover at my friend's house. I was settled in the camp bed next to her bed, snuggled down in my sleeping bag with the lights switched off when her step father came in to say goodnight. He bent over my friend and kissed her on the cheek. Then, he came over to me and gave me a full snog on the lips, tongue in the mouth all wet and slobbery while groping my budding breasts. I didn't know what to do so I just lay there as still as I could for what seemed like half an hour though it was probably only a few minutes. And then he left.

I was shocked, of course. I didn't sleep that night. I did what children do - I thought I'd done something wrong. I never told anyone. I didn't discuss it with my friend. I was in a stupor for days because I found it hard to compute how life could carry on normally when something so gross had just happened to me.

It would have been great if I'd had parents I could have talked to, but I didn't. So, when I was a young adult, I got some counselling and discussed the abuse and its effect on me. I worked through the shock and disgust and came out the other side intact.

So, is it now the right thing to do to now bring this up almost 40 years later? To go to the police and get this man arrested? Should I put my case to the Crown Prosecution Service, who is open to hearing about sexual assaults in the past since Operation Yewtree? No, no and no.

It's not right for me or my family. I'm over it. I've talked it through and put it to bed. It doesn't haunt me. I'm a grown woman with the ability to reconcile lots of uncomfortable things that happened to me when I was younger.

If I had the urge to publicly accuse this man, I'd have to question myself and my motives. The only one I can think of is if I was stuck in a victim mindset and sought revenge. Thankfully I'm not. Behaving like a victim disenfranchises you, steals your integrity and keeps you stuck. Yes, they were responsible for what happened then but I am responsible for myself now. Debbie Newsome was 21 at the time. She wasn't a child. She was a grown woman with the capacity to step away from an uncomfortable situation. But she chose to stay put and, by her own admission, use the situation to get herself promoted to a Bond girl. Why complain about it now? Shouting through the tabloids looks like a cry for help and unless there is evidence, the accused can't contest the allegation and the accuser loses self respect. It's a 'no-win' situation.


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