Victim speaks out after pervert jailed for 14 years
A woman who was sexually abused as a child over a hellish nine-year period says she can finally breathe again after her tormentor was locked behind bars.
The victim, now 37, says her life has been destroyed after she was repeatedly abused as a young girl between 1984 and 1993.
She has spoken up after her abuser Paul Cant, 71, of Shelley Avenue, Grantham, was jailed for 14 years after he was found guilty at Lincoln Crown Court of four counts of indecency with a child and six charges of indecent assault.
He is also on the sex offenders’ register indefinitely.
His victim told Lincolnshire Live that she has struggled to form relationships and has issues with trusting people.
She has also described her “life of hell” after Cant robbed her of her innocence as a child.
The woman, who lives near Lincoln, said she finally went to the police in early 2017 after a breakdown at work.
She said that she had suffered in silence for many years even after the abuse stopped because she felt it was her word against his and that she did not have enough support around her.
However, the woman has now praised Lincolnshire Police for supporting her and acting on her harrowing evidence, and urges other victims of abuse to speak up.
“As a child I had no idea what was happening to me was wrong, I only realised as I got older,” the woman, cannot be named for legal reasons, said.
“Knowing that I was abused but thinking that no-one would believe me has been really hard.
“I’ve spent a massive part of my life never being able to trust anyone or the authorities.
“I’m now in a relationship for five-and-a-half years which has been the longest I’ve ever been in – a big thing for me has been intimacy because of what happened to me.
“It’s been tough – I can only describe living with what happened as a life of hell.”
Matters came to a head in 2016 when she had a meltdown at work because she was concerned that her abuser was having unsupervised access to a young girl.
She confided in a work colleague who contacted Lincolnshire Police and Cant was arrested in late January 2017.
The woman said that she felt a “huge sense of relief” after being interviewed by the police in February, 2017.
She said: “But beforehand I had felt very concerned because no-one had really supported me for years.
“It was my word against his, there was no DNA, and no-one to really back me up.
“I had to tell the police everything in graphic detail and that was difficult because I didn’t know before I went to the police that I would have to go through all that.
“But they were very good and said that if I didn’t feel like I could talk they would understand.
“However, I just thought: ‘This is my chance now’.
“When I came out of the interview I was shaking from head to toe.
“But the next day when I got up it was like I could breathe again for the first time – it was a relief to get it all off my chest.
“The abuse happened a long time ago but even after it has stopped it just eats away at you until you do something about it.”
She added: “What I would say to other victims of abuse who have never felt like they could come forward is don’t ever think it’s just your evidence that will be put forward.
“Some cases could result in no further action but you never know what else the police can find.
“It’s their job to gather as much information as they can and there is often more evidence out there, so do make a report.
“In my case, Lincolnshire Police were fantastic and so was my support structure.
“My abuser is in jail and hopefully I can now move forward.”