Auckland, May 15, 2019
Auckland resident Seetha Rama Rao Salvaji (47) was sentenced to 14 years in prison at the Auckland District Court today on proven charges of child abuse and rape.
In his verdict, Judge Down said that the accused had not shown remorse but granted him concession for his services to the community.
Members of the family of Salvaji, the victim, her parents and friends of both families were present at the Court to hear the judgement.
Former prison employee
Salvaji was found guilty by a jury on March 6, 2019 following about a week of hearing.
Prior to being convicted, Salvaji was employed as an Officer in the Corrections Department. Last year (May 2018), he was elected to the post of Chairman, Mount Eden Prison Employees Union (Corrections Association of New Zealand).
According to the criminal case filed by the New Zealand Police, the offending occurred in 2003 when the victim was about ten years old.
Two years ago, she decided to complain to the Police.
It was meticulous police and detective work that brought the offender to justice.
In her Victim Statement, the victim said that following the incident, she was very confused and that her sleep was affected.
“I would have flashbacks at night, I would wake up in the middle of the night and sit on my bed in a corner, not moving. Sometimes, eyes closed in fear I would just stare at the wall in agony. I developed a fear for darkness and until this date, I cannot sleep alone in the dark. My innocence was taken advantage of. This was a very inhumane act,” she said.
Self-harm and agony
The Victim said that when she was 14 years old, she started harming herself.
“Every time I had flashbacks and felt low, felt disgusted in myself and my body, I would physically harm myself because I felt I deserved it. Hurting myself physically felt better than the emotional internal dilemma and the confusion I was facing. I felt that by self-harming, I had complete control over myself because it was my body and my actions. It was something that was in my control, something I had power over. I felt that I deserved it for not stopping the abuse and not telling someone about it. I felt a deep sense of disappointment in myself. Every time someone talked about relationships, I would have flashes of the abuse I wish I had not,” she said.
The Victim’s mother said that while her daughter was strong and independent, she was not aware of the intense pain that she was suffering within over the years.
“When my daughter revealed the abuse to me, I fell on my knees and cried out loud, not being able to control myself. She said her abuse started on her birthday.”