Victim gains strength from speaking out
THE more people she told, the easier it got for victim Ellie Cardell to come to terms with her stepfather's betrayal of trust.
Miss Cardell, 20, detailed her relief today at gaining closure to an invasion of her privacy by her mother's ex-husband at their Mooloolaba home in November 2013.
She also encouraged other victims of such crimes to speak up about them.
Bruce Alexander Gregory, 46, pleaded guilty in Maroochydore Magistrates Court this morning to watching his step-daughter through a window as she showered.
Miss Cardell, who was 17 at the time, said the incident hurt her.
"This person raised me so ... it broke the trust," Miss Cardell said.
"It was confusing.
"Teenage years are confusing enough - to have to sort of question who raised you and who you are - it was a big thing."
Mr Gregory's marriage to Miss Cardell's mother Samantha Johnson ended after the incident.
They had wed in 2004.
Miss Cardell said she had endured trauma, nightmares and seen a psychologist since the incident.
"Then to be listened to by the police ... that was a different experience.
"People who listened to your story and say 'yeah, this is wrong'."
"It's been a rollercoaster."
Miss Cardell has moved to Brisbane where she is studying law at the Queensland University of Technology.
She wanted people to speak out about their experiences.
"Things of a sexual nature are awkward for people to talk about and the more that people talk about them the less it's going to happen."
She thought there were too many people who didn't speak up.
"I've got young cousins and I'd like them to look at me and say 'yeah, I'll speak up too'.
Her mother Miss Johnson supported her daughter for speaking publicly about the incident.
"If she can be an example for other young women to speak and say that that behaviour is not okay, that makes me incredibly proud as her mum."
She said the incident changed her daughter.
"I think she is going to grow into an incredibly strong woman because of having gone through that and understanding that people aren't always what they seem.
"I think it would have been a worse situation for Ellie if she hadn't spoken out.
"The result today is a good one that she gets to close that chapter and not have to carry that for the rest of her life."