Rape Survivor Wants You To Know Her Name And What Happened That Day
One of Tasmania's most depraved criminals is being considered for parole, more than 33 years after he terrorised a community. Warning: Distressing Content
When Alicia* was 17, she was brutally raped by Jamie John Curtis and an accomplice, abducted from her home, and locked in the boot of a car while her 22-year-old fiance, Dean Allan Allie, was stabbed to death.
Later, she begged for Curtis and his 16-year-old accomplice (who cannot be named) to kill her with a knife, instead of a chainsaw. They attempted to rape her again instead.
It was a 12-hour ordeal which shook the Tasmanian community. It was only when a farmer who had seen the car coming and going from his property approached the vehicle to investigate -- finding Alicia unconscious, and the two men passed out drunk -- that Alicia was able to contact police. The following day, Curtis confessed his crimes.
"In ten years of working around sexual violence, I've never read anything like those police reports," Nina Funnell, who broke Alicia's story, told 10 daily.
"It was one of the most notorious crimes in Tasmania."
Curtis was sentenced to life in prison, but due to a law change allowing prisoners to appeal life sentences, he was re-sentenced to a minimum of 30 years.
Now his case is being considered by the Tasmanian Parole Board on Friday. And Alicia feels she has no option available to her other than going to media -- only, there's a catch.
Why Alicia is going public
Alicia isn't her real name. Due to Tasmania's gag laws, designed to prevent media exploitation of sexual assault victims, Alicia isn't able to reveal her identity without risk of prosecution.
She's fighting for her story to be heard with her own face and name, but it's a process that can cost up to $10,000.
Alicia turned to Nina Funnell through the #LetHerSpeak campaign after writing to the parole board asking to meet with them in person. She was refused, and told instead to write a letter.
"How can you understand how victims feel, how it's impacted their life, their fears for the community, as I do, when you haven't spoken face to face with them?" Alicia told 10 daily.
"I think it's a joke."
Curtis was first released on parole last April, but within months he was rearrested after allegedly assaulting another woman.
It was later revealed he'd signed up to multiple dating sites within weeks of leaving prison.
Curtis pleaded guilty to eight counts of failing to comply with a community protection order, and sent back to prison.
Now, he could be released back into the community.
"It frightens the hell out of me," Alicia said.
"Not just for myself. I don't think he'd be a threat to me ... if he's going to commit another crime, it will be opportunistic. He'll just grab whoever he can, really."
Warning: distressing content.
On the morning of February 15, 1986, Curtis and his accomplice were looking for a woman to rape, Funnell reported.
They had spent the night drinking. Driving around Hobart, they abducted a 15-year-old girl out on her paper round, but she escaped from the boot of their car.
Not to be deterred, they headed to Alicia and Dean's home, where the pair were sleeping. Dean answered the door. Alicia woke to a knife at her throat.
"Just keep quiet and you won't get hurt," a voice told her.
As Funnell reports, the pair had viciously beaten Dean. They brutally gang-raped Alicia, with Curtis instructing his younger accomplice.
After several hours, the men planned to go on the run, knowing the police would be looking for them after the 15-year-old girl escaped. They told Alicia and Dean they'd let them go once they were far enough away from Hobart -- but that was a lie.
Instead, they drove to a rural area near Hobart, and took out a chainsaw.
"Have you ever felt the blade of a chainsaw on your skin?" Curtis said, reports Funnell.
"It will be just like the chainsaw massacre movie."
They locked Alicia in the boot of her own car, stolen from the property, and stabbed Dean to death. They showed Alicia his bloodied, fly-covered body, and then drove on.
Not long after, the men told Alicia they'd kill her with the chainsaw. "Can't you do it with a knife?" she replied. She even brought them one. "Just kill me already, I would rather be dead."
Instead, Curtis raped her again. She fought back, he retaliated, she blacked out.
When Alicia was finally found by a passing farmer and able to alert the police, 12 hours had passed since her ordeal began.
Alicia, now 51, says it's been powerful to see the details of her rapist's crimes so widely reported in the media.
"I'm a bit blown away, to be honest," she told 10 daily.
When asked how the events of 1986 had impacted her, she replied: "I think it's made me one hell of a strong woman."
She said her friends and family have known her story, as well as some coworkers, but until the media attention some hadn't spoken to her about it before.
"A lot of people think it's a sensitive subject and just tip-toe around it and not mention it, because I might turn into a basket case," she said.
"Whereas it's quite the opposite. I'm absolutely more than happy to speak about it."
Working with News.com.au, Funnell launched the #LetHerSpeak campaign, which both aims to help survivors tell their stories if they wish, and to overturn laws in Tasmania and the Northern Territory preventing them from doing so.
Some victims -- including Grace Tame, who was preyed upon by her high school teacher -- have taken their case to the Supreme Court in order to self-identify, but this process costs an average of $10,000.
The #LetHerSpeak covered all of Grace's legal and out of pocket expenses, but part of the campaign's aims is to ensure other survivors don't need to go through the same process.
"We can't expect every survivor who wants to tell their story to come up with that kind of cash, and also be willing to subject themselves to yet another legal process, having already gone through what is often a very gruelling, taxing trial," Funnell told 10 daily.
"It's actually quite cruel."
The Tasmanian government has committed to review the law, which commenced in April this year. Submissions closed in May, but since then, there have been very few updates. The ball is in motion, they are reviewing it, which is encouraging.
"In the era of #MeToo, we are increasingly seeing that for some survivors, being able to reclaim a sense of ownership over their own story is really important to them," Funnell said.
"For Alicia, she wants to correct the record, she wants to take ownership of what really happened to her, but she also wants to remind people of the details of what actually happened on that horrendous day in 1986."
A GoFundMe to help cover the legal fees of survivors wishing to tell their stories has raised $20,000.
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