My name is Claire and I am a South African born Australian. In July 1999, I was was brutally raped and left for dead on the streets of Paris, France. My attacker was caught 10-years later through DNA and for the past 6-years I have been navigating the French justice system.
The French judicial system requires me to be a civil party in the prosecution and pay for all the criminal proceeding fees myself. To date, it has cost me more than AUD$35,000.
The first court hearing was held in November 2011 and my attacker was sentenced to 12-years of jail time. He was granted parole after serving less than 4 (information that the French court's refuse to confirm as they believe the victim has no right to know).
My request to receive a small amount of compensation was rejected by the relevant French court. I am now appealing the court’s decision and could create a legal precedent for victims of rape in France. I need your help.
The appeals process has been relentless. I was summoned to testify on 5 June 2014. Due to a legal technicality, this hearing was adjoined to 19 February 2015. The opposing party then decided to play dirty, and created a complication that forced the hearing to be adjoined again.
The hearing finally went ahead on 2 July 2015. The outcome - I don't know. Much to my dismay a decision will only be handed down on 1 October 2015.
Since June 2014, I have incurred additional legals fees as well as the cost of multiple flights, accommodation and living expenses in France . I have not been allowed o work in France because they only granted me a 'visitors' visa.
I have tried so hard not to be a victim but the French system keeps dragging me down. I have sought counseling and medical support to make it through as there are many dark and desperate moments.
I feel like I am the criminal and I have to battle for my rights.
I am overwhelmed by the ongoing expense of surviving such a violent crime in France. I feel that I have completed a civil duty by taking an extremely dangerous man of the streets of Paris so that he does not hurt any more women. It is such a struggle to come to terms with the fact that I may never be reimbursed by the French government for doing so.
This journey to finding justice will cost me more than AUD$35,000.
I am seeking your support and help to cover some of these expenses. Whatever you can spare, no amount is too little, and every little bit helps. I would like to donate a third of the donations received to support women who are victims of sexual assault in Paris.
I thank you from the deepest part of my heart for helping me find peace as a victim after battling such a complicated legal system for 16-years.
You can read more of my story here: www.clairemc.com
Follow me on facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/clairesbattletojustice
By sharing my story, I am finally empowering myself, giving a voice to others in similar situations and ultimately being a catalyst for change.
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