Trigger warning: This article contains descriptions of sexual assault
A rape victim who was sexually assaulted by a man she met on a dating app has told a court she used to be “fun-loving and independent” before the assault.
The woman, who cannot be identified, delivered a victim impact statement to Downing Centre District Court on Thursday during a sentence hearing for Kumar Raghav Jha, 44, who was found guilty by a jury of one count of sexual intercourse without consent at a trial in May this year.
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The victim told the court of the mental and physical impact the 2021 rape had on her.
“Before the assault, I was confident, fun-loving, independent,” she said.
“I’m now scared, withdrawn. I don’t enjoy socialising.
“Who am I if I am no longer the strong, independent woman I used to be?”
The victim added she finds herself now pushing people away and has lost her trust in others.
Jha has been in custody since the jury’s verdict.
On Thursday, Judge Timothy Gartelmann jailed him for three years and six months, with a non-parole period of two years and three months.
“All sexual assaults are serious,” Gartelmann said.
“This a relatively serious example of its kind.
“(Jha) knew she had not consented to it. He likely did not plan it but persisted when she pleaded with him to stop.”
The court heard Jha and the woman met on a dating app before first meeting in person on August 7, 2021.
A second date was arranged on August 21, 2021.
On that date, the pair ended up at Jha’s apartment where the victim told him she was not comfortable having sex.
He told her “no sex, no nothing”.
The pair moved to the bedroom where the offender suggested they “kiss and cuddle”.
She repeatedly told him she was uncomfortable and did not want to have sex.
Despite her pleas, Jha held her down and sexually assaulted her.
The next day, he messaged the victim apologising but said she had consented.
The victim spoke to friends and reported the assault to police.
Gartelmann said Jha had no prior convictions and no history of violence, coercion or aggressive behaviour.
He has been assaulted in custody and remains worried about his safety.
His risk of reoffending his relatively low, the judge said, and his prospects for rehabilitation appear reasonable.
The court heard Jha has shown no remorse and maintains his innocence. He says the victim went to police because she was upset that he rejected her proposal to be her boyfriend after meeting for the second time.
He has indicated he might appeal against the conviction.
He will be eligible for release from prison on parole in August 2025.
If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au.
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