Rape victim is awarded over R12bn by court six-years after victimisation

2018-05-25 11:23
Gavel (PHOTO: Gallo images/ Getty images)

Gavel (PHOTO: Gallo images/ Getty images)

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She was helping her boyfriend set up for an outdoor party at the tender age of 14, when a 22-year-old (at the time) armed security guard, Brandon Lamar Zachary told her boyfriend not to move and forced himself on Hope Cheston.

Six-years later, now 20-year-old Hope has been awarded over R12bn by the court, and her rapist, Brandon, has been sentenced to 20 years in prison, reports CBS News.

Zachary should never have been hired because he wasn't licensed to be an armed guard," Hope's attorney, Chris Stewart, said at a news conference.

Hope's mother, Renatta Cheston-Thornton, filed a lawsuit in March 2015 on behalf of her daughter.

Hope told CBS News her victory is not just hers, a victory for all women:

"Sexual assault is sexual assault, it's not right, and it needs to be punished."

She said she worried that her case, just like many others, would be ignored:

"For the longest (time), I thought it would be pushed under the rug and no longer mattered ... but I came to find out 12 strangers feel like what I went through and my story and how I feel six years later is worth a billion dollars."

Even though the media does not often make the names of rape victims public, Hope stressed that she wants her name to be used so that it gives other rape victims strength. She is now a full-time university student and plans to spend her summer working with an organization in downtown Atlanta that helps homeless people.

Even though quite a few people are surprised with the amount of money she was awarded by the court:

"Verdicts in the tens of millions of dollars, or even hundreds of millions, are not uncommon", Jeff Dion, director of the National Crime Victim Bar Association said in an email to CBS news. But he's never heard of a $1bn verdict in a case with a single victim.

Hope is very happy and hopeful of the world’s view of women.

"I feel like my case is just to show that you may not get it immediately, but you will get what you're worth. This shows that people do care about the worth of a woman," she said.

 Sources: CBS News, BET, BBC

Read more on:    rape

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