Speaking Out

I have just spoken out publicly about being sexually abused by James K Baxter, a famous poet and literary figure in New Zealand. It was published in a weekend journal, circulated by three major newspapers in three major cities in New Zealand a fortnight ago.

I have been very pleased with wonderful responses from men and women supporting me and my article. Some very sad, telling me of other abuses by the famous man. Many men have contacted me validating my courage and the way I wrote my article. This is heart warming, showing some changes happening slowly in our male culture. I didn’t get “You must be a bloody feminist who hates men”.

What I didn’t quite bargain for was my experience last night. I was watching a soppy movie about love and death which was a real tear jerker. Then I remembered so clearly that the abuse by Baxter was my first sexual assault. There have been others. It was like when one remembers the first time with a lover, except this time it was about remembering one’s first experience of sexual abuse. How devastatingly sad. And there are many like me.

I started crying and crying for myself and the naive young woman that I was. I wrote a poem and looked at this photo of myself in hippie days, so young, so soft. I am reading to my beautiful niece, Penny.

The body always remembers. It is so f…….. hard to speak out or write about sexual abuse dear friends. That’s why many never do. Never underestimate the courage and vulnerability it takes for any man, woman or child to do so. Offer them your love, compassion and understanding. Above all, do your best to be a safe man or woman for others to be around.

Thankyou to everyone who has supported me and what I have written. It means a lot.

Tonight I cried

for the girl

who was me.

so sad

for her heart

her naivety.

She didn’t know

that there




to devour


eat her up

spit her out.

She was only


all she


was love.

How could

she know

that this

would be

her first

sexual assault.

Written by Ros Lewis

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About me

Rosalind Lewis

Rosalind Lewis

Professionally I have 33 years experience as a Clinician, Lecturer, Group Facilitator, Educator and Supervisor in Education, Social Services and Mental Health. I currently live in Melbourne, Australia and work in Mental Health. I have a particular interest in supporting and empowering women and men to be all they can be, by assisting the discovery of tools that help them find strength to transform difficulties into opportunities, enriching their lives both personally and professionally. I am a New Zealand Registered Psychotherapist with PBANZ, member of the New Zealand Association of Psychotherapists and have a Masters of Health Science (Psychotherapy) First Class Honours. My research thesis was about the long term consequences of intimate partner violence for women. I am influenced and informed by both my professional experiences and my own personal journey, which has involved many challenges and celebrations along the way.