A young woman who was the victim of a sexual assault at the hands of a Gainsborough man has spoken about the impact it has had on her life and how she hopes more people will have the strength to speak out.
The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was sexually assaulted in July last year.
Last Thursday Mark Chesham, 48, of Riverside Approach, Gainsborough, was found guilty of intentionally touching her in a way which was sexual and not consented at Lincs Magistrates’ Court.
Chesham has been bailed until September 29, for sentencing. His victim has spoken about how her world was ‘turned upside down’ but she says now the court case is over she can hold her head high.
She said: “We had to hide away but we don’t have to anymore. My message to others would be to go through the system. Report it, no matter how little you think it is. We didn’t think it was a police matter at first. But no matter how big or little it is, something needs to be done about it.
“The system does work although I didn’t have a lot of faith in it at first.
“I want to thank the police, especially PC Simon Roberts. He has been fantastic.”
She said it was the support of her family and their belief in her which helped her come forward.
She said: “We stuck together. It ruined everyone’s lives and we had to work to keep things together. The hardest bit was telling mum and not knowing what she would say.
“It’s difficult letting people back into our lives now. I am not sure how to let anyone back into my life.
“I didn’t see a way through it but I know I did the right thing.”
Speaking about Chesham, she said: “At first nothing was going to be acceptable apart from jail.
“But he has been found guilty and that’s enough for me now.”
A spokesman from Lincs Police said: “Some victims in similar circumstances might have decided to give someone like Chesham the benefit of the doubt and accepted his apology, but what he did was a criminal offence.
“The victim was distressed and concerned about it and rightly reported the incident to the police. If it had not been reported we can only speculate as to how the situation may have escalated in the future. We would encourage victims who find themselves in a similar position to contact the police.”
The victim’s mum said: “We have all got something to learn from this.
“It’s been a tough journey. We are stronger and we are trying to move on from it.”