TODAY 27-year-old Leon Totten is starting a nine year prison sentence for the rape of a 13-year-old girl.

Before his sentence his brave victim read out a powerful statement about the impact his crime had on her life.


Here is her statement in full, in her own words...

"TODAY gives me the opportunity to voice a part of my journey. It has taken me 11 years to fully and truthfully express my deepest burden. My story started 11 years ago, I was 13 years old. I didn’t realise at the time, but those few hours entirely changed me and the rest of my life.

"I stayed silent for the next eight years, I tried not to give it a thought and think about the repercussions of that catastrophic event. But I was fundamentally, silently broke. I didn’t want to talk about it! I felt disgusting, dirty, embarrassed, ashamed, I blamed and judged myself and thought other people would too. I wanted to get on with life, so I acted like it didn’t happen. I was in total denial.

"At the time I didn’t realise, but eight years later it was to catch up with me. The plethora of emotions came crashing down like a ton of bricks. I felt everything I didn’t allow myself to feel previously all at once; I felt everything, and I felt nothing! It was a downward spiral and I needed to seek help before I felt dangerously low. I look back and I now know the day that I finally spoke out was the start of my strength and my bravery.

"Telling my parents was the hardest thing, I knew they would blame themselves and it wasn’t their fault! Watching my mum break down on my shoulders as I told her is one of the most gut-wrenching feelings imaginable. I felt like a total disappointment to not only myself, but worse, to my parents! Her words, “my baby, my poor baby”, she repeated this over and over and over again, with every word shattering my heart. I will never forget that day.

"After being diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and seeing a behavioural therapist, the strength I have conquered over the past three years opening up is astonishing. I have shocked and surprised myself with the courage it takes to speak out, the bravery of telling your truth and doing what is right. I admire every person out there who speaks their truth, there really are no words to describe how painful it is, on the other hand I know how uplifting it can feel to finally unburden yourself with the horrific secret that encompasses your life.

"That day 11 years ago has always held a huge significance in my life; however, the actuality of the rape was never thought about. The exact happenings retreated deep into my memories as it became unimaginably impossible to discuss. Having to relay this information to a room full of unfamiliar faces in the court room and being asked “what his body was like, to describe his penis, and if he ejaculated inside me” was deeply traumatising. I wanted to scream but holding myself together is something I am extremely proud of.

"I stand here today with strength and resilience, but it hasn’t always been this way. My life has been completely put on hold this past year and a half. Dealing with this court case and the stresses of reliving that day has halted my personal growth, progression in my career and life in general. The copious amount of days spent not being able to get out of bed, crying with depression and anxiety and reoccurring nightmares all this resulting in medication being subscribed.

"Rape is something that shouldn’t be taken lightly. The severity of what Leon Totten did to me is an act of complete exploitation and manipulation. Being a defenceless child, my virginity was brutally ripped from my control.

"Something which is meant to be meaningful was stolen from my person with no remorse. He committed an inexcusable crime that has become a part of my life and has no expiration date. It will stay with me and is part of my identity. It has forever changed the way I carry myself, and the way that I live the rest of my life.

"I can’t change what happened to me, but I am truly thankful to be able to speak the truth and say what happened that evening, and I am eternally grateful that the right outcome has been reached. I am able to close this chapter of my life and move forward with strength, courage, happiness and truth."