Eight years after Bekah D’Aoust, 31, was sexually assaulted at a Kemptville, Ont. house party, she is now legally allowed to reveal her identity.
On March 4th, a Brockville judge approved D’Aousts’ request to have the publication ban lifted in order for her to tell her story in hopes of making a difference for other sexual assault survivors.
“A part of my victim impact statement is explaining to him [Ryan Hartman] how he has affected my life and how he completely ruined my life, but at the end I actually thank him, because he made me a better person in the end,” said D’Aoust.
“I’m so much stronger.”
In November, Ryan Hartman, 38, was found guilty of sexually assaulting D’Aoust while she was asleep on an air mattress at a 2011 house party in Kemptville. Hartman’s conviction came after two unsuccessful appeals of guilty verdicts.
In 2012, Hartman denied that he assaulted D’Aoust, but was convicted of the crime after D’Aousts’ testimony and evidence. During the second appeal in 2015, Hartman admitted to the crime but claimed he suffered from the mental disorder sexsomnia.
The judge found that he was not asleep when he assaulted D’Aoust, but extremely drunk.
Global News was the first media outlet to reveal D’Aousts’ identity on March 4, after she sent reporter Kraig Krause a phone video of her reaction to the publication ban being removed. Since then, she says, she has received over 100 messages of support from people across Canada, the United States and Europe.
Many of the messages are coming from survivors themselves. D’Aoust says she was also sexually assaulted when she was 14-years old, and the trauma from these two incidents, she said, needs to be shared in order to help other young women.
“It sucks to hear their stories and I’m in disbelief when I hear that this happening over and over again around me,” D’Aoust continued. She went on to say that she is devoting her spare time to support other sexual assault survivors of all all ages, whether it’s through social media or in person.
D’Aoust says the sexsomnia ordeal was overwhelming, but because of the term ‘sexsomnia,’ she notes that it gathered attention across the country — shining a positive light on sexual assault survivors.
Hartman is now asking that his case be thrown out based on unreasonable delays and the judge is expected to make a decision on his request in the coming days before his sentencing in later March.
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