text by Rob Kidd, Otago Daily Times
A woman who was molested by a labourer in a bar says she has lost everything since that night.
The victim, who was working as an exotic dancer at the club on July 18 last year, spoke powerfully at the Dunedin District Court yesterday about the ongoing trauma she had endured at the hands of 23-year-old Christchurch man Kyran James Ranui Marx.
"A drunk night out with the boys for you has turned into an endless nightmare for me," she said.
"I've lost my job, my home and my love for life ... I've lost my sense of safety and security, not only in the world but in my own body."
The woman said since the incident, she had been unable to work.
She had left Dunedin because it felt like "a prison", and being around her family filled her with shame.
She had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and had been plagued by a mocking image of her abuser.
"I saw the look in your eyes as you stood on top of me. I still see it every night when I close my eyes. I watched you laugh in my face as I kicked and screamed," the victim said.
She had been performing at the club and dancing for Marx when things quickly soured
He lifted her skirt, grabbing her buttock as he did so.
The victim remonstrated with Marx and indicated he should put the money at the top of her stocking.
She turned around to continue dancing but despite the warning, the man again grabbed at her underwear, touching her genitalia in the process.
The victim hit him in the arm and told him not to touch her.
"The defendant was laughing," court documents said.
She screamed and kicked at him, pulled away and ran off stage.
Counsel John Munro said his client was sickened when the summary of facts was read to him.
He said he was "bloody sorry", Munro told the court.
"He made a very very silly and grave mistake."
While accepting the seriousness of the assault, Munro sought to differentiate it from other cases.
"There's a degree of consent to touching in that environment," he said.
The submission prompted an angered reaction from the victim, who was so distressed she briefly left the courtroom.
Judge Michael Turner accepted Marx's actions were spontaneous and his letter of apology appeared to show genuine remorse.
There were references before the court that described the defendant as a hard worker but one contradicted Marx's claim that the 2019 incident was his first trip to a strip club.
The judge noted one man spoke of socialising with the defendant for several years, which included trips to Calendar Girls.
"All you saw was a body," the victim said.
"I'm more than just a body. I'm a soul, I'm a spirit; and my spirit was crushed that night."
All she wanted, she told the court, was justice.
"I don't wish you any harm. I just need you to understand what you did was wrong and to never do it to another person again."
Munro argued community work was the appropriate response but Judge Turner was not persuaded.
Marx was convicted of indecent assault, given a first-strike warning and sentenced to six weeks' community detention, six months' supervision and ordered to pay the victim $2000.