Harris: 'From icon to inmate'

A Griffith woman who was the victim of sexual abuse has described the sentence handed to Rolf Harris as too lenient.

A Griffith woman who was the victim of sexual abuse has described the sentence handed to Rolf Harris as too lenient.

A GRIFFITH woman who was the victim of sexual abuse has described the sentence handed to Rolf Harris as too lenient.

“Legislation needs to be revised for indecent assault on minors and for paedophiles,” she said.

The woman, who did not want to be named, said she agreed with some of the views expressed on Twitter about Harris’ sentence.

Hetty Johnston, founder of leading anti-child sex abuse group Bravehearts Inc, raised the prospect of further charges against Harris.

‘’Rolf Harris – icon to inmate. victims vindicated. Hopefully when he comes out there will be more victims waiting to send him right back,’’ Ms Johnston tweeted.

The Griffith woman said she agreed with this.

“I hope he gets what’s coming to him in those pathetic three years for all that torment he has put those girls through.”

The woman said her abuse led to depression and she was unable to work for a period of time.

She said she was sexually abused by a number of men growing up and was later a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace.

She said it was worrying that  some people in powerful positions took advantage of others.

The woman encouraged victims to speak out against sexual abuse.

“When you speak up, others will feel more comfortable to speak up. One person has to have the courage and the rest will follow but even if they don’t, you have taken a stand and you will be able to grow, learn and become stronger and accomplish more in life. Maybe not now or next year or in 10 years, but these ladies are finally seeing justice. Sexual predators cannot hide forever,” she said.

2MIA FM community radio station has decided to remove Harris’ songs from its playlists.

Station president Dolf Murwood said listeners were asked on Friday if they wanted to hear Harris’ songs in light of the guilty verdict.

“We did a bit of a poll on Friday to see what the reaction was considering the council has taken his painting down,” Mr Murwood said.

“The responses were pretty-well overwhelming that we shouldn’t play his songs. We will take them off the playlist.”

Harris was sentenced to five years, nine months jail after being found guilty of 12 counts of sexual assault between 1969 and 1986.

The sentence, criticised by many as being too lenient, has been referred to the office of the Attorney General in the United Kingdom for review. Harris is expected to serve less than half the sentence.

Father Bob Maguire, outspoken Melbourne Catholic priest, questioned the entertainment industry’s record on victims.

“What was everyone else doing while Rolf Harris performed atrociously? Is entertainment another institution in need of reform?’’

Derryn Hinch, 3AW radio presenter and anti-child abuse campaigner who has served jail time for breaching court orders and naming sex offenders, also criticised the sentence.

“Harris sentence light. Deserved longer. Worst thing for victims: Never said sorry, called them liars, forced them to testify #rolfharris,’’ he wrote on Twitter.

The Survivors Trust – an umbrella organisation in the UK for rape, sexual violence and childhood sexual abuse support organisations welcomed a prison sentence for Harris but said his sentences for the crimes against four female victims should not be served concurrently.

“Without concurrent sentences, Harris would be facing 11 years and nine months – a sentence that we feel better reflects the lifelong suffering his victims have felt and are still battling,’’ it said in a statement.

It said Harris would have received a minimum of eight years and could have got life imprisonment if the crimes had occurred more recently.

It said the “sentence in no way reflects the ongoing nature of the suffering that his victims have experienced’’.

Last week Griffith City Council decided to remove an artwork by the disgraced entertainer from its offices.

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