‘I want the whole world to know’

The Glengarry News - - Front Page - By Richard Ma­honey News Staff

A North Lan­caster wo­man says she will never re­cover from the trauma she suf­fered when she and her twin sis­ter were sex­u­ally as­saulted by their un­cle more than 40 years ago.

“You took from me, with­out my con­sent, my pu­rity, my pride, my in­no­cence and my youth,” Ly­dia Lam­bion said in her vic­tim im­pact state­ment pre­sented in St-Hy­acinthe court in Oc­to­ber of last year. She was con­fronting her un­cle, Chris­tian Lesage, who had pleaded guilty to as­sault­ing Ly­dia and Sylvia Lam­bion be­tween Au­gust 1, 1976 and Jan­uary 1, 1978 in St-Hy­acinthe and Ter­re­bonne.

The 68-year-old was sen­tenced to 30 months in jail on two counts of in­de­cent as­sault and one count of at­tempted rape.

Noth­ing can help heal the scars that re­main from a life­time of abuse, Ly­dia Lam­bion told The News.

“I have been den­i­grated since birth,” said the 56-year-old, who is pre­par­ing for an­other day in court, this time to con­front her mother, who she says did noth­ing to stop the mis­treat­ment, which be­gan when the twins were 14.

Her 80-year-old mother, who also faces an as­sault charge, told Ms. Lam­bion that “my body be­longed to my un­cle.”

The sis­ters have been sui­ci­dal, suf­fered post­trau­matic stress and eat­ing dis­or­ders. Ly­dia Lam­bion will be see­ing a psy­chi­a­trist and a ther­a­pist for the rest of her life. Be­cause of her emo­tional stress, she has lost cus­tody of her three chil­dren.

Since 1976, when she was first as­saulted, six weeks af­ter the death of her fa­ther, “I have lived in a prison, due to the rape, you, Mr. Chris­tian Lesage, com­mit­ted,” she said in her im­pact state­ment.

“See­ing you, Chris­tian Lesage, rap­ing my sis­ter be­side me, also trau­ma­tized me for life.”

The names of vic­tims are usu­ally not di­vulged by courts. How­ever, the Lam­bion sis­ters wanted a pub­li­ca­tion ban lifted.

“I want the world to know. I want to help oth­ers who have suf­fered like we have,” says Ms. Lam­bion. Speak­ing out could en­cour­age other vic­tims to “get out of the dark cor­ners” and de­nounce preda­tors.

“I am an open book,” she says, how­ever, she adds, “I am not do­ing well. It hurts in­side. This is very painful.”

She re­calls that ini­tially, she was afraid to con­tact au­thor­i­ties. Her fam­ily told her to stay quiet or her un­cle would go to jail. When in 1978 she told a judge that she had been raped, the judge took no ac­tion. In sen­tenc­ing Mr. Lesage, Judge Stéphane Go­dri noted that the ac­cused demon­strated no re­morse.

He hoped his nieces would for­give him. But he later said they had ex­ag­ger­ated the con­se­quences of his ac­tions.

“His re­grets seem to be con­nected to a cer­tain fear of go­ing to prison,” the judge wrote in his ver­dict. Jus­tice Go­dri also con­sid­ered the cur­rent so­cial con­text where there is more sup­port for vic­tims who re­port sex­ual as­saults, par­tic­u­larly those against chil­dren.

Trauma

In her state­ment, Ly­dia Lam­bion said that af­ter she had been as­saulted for third time, De­cem­ber 26, 1977, she was in­structed by her mother that “this had to stay in the fam­ily.”

Her un­cle’s wife de­fended him. She was bro­ken.

Her un­cle said she was noth­ing in her fam­ily’s eyes. She would later marry the first man who came into her life, and would suf­fer 14 years of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence.

She de­scribes her “scars and con­se­quences for 42 years.”

She con­tin­ues to have flash­backs, night­mares, has para­noia and hal­lu­ci­nates, panic at­tacks.

She is ner­vous around men and au­thor­i­ties, has mood swings.

Ms. Lam­bion has made three sui­cide at­tempts. She no longer cel­e­brates Christ­mas be­cause it re­minds her of that “day of hell” in 1977.

STÉPHANE BRUNET PHOTO

CROSS- BOR­DER RE­SPONSE: Fire­fight­ers from Rivière-Beaudette re­sponded to this truck fire in Curry Hill last Thurs­day af­ter­noon. For­tu­nately, no­body was in­jured. More de­tails in­side.

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