A story of bravery, despair, and survival

Imagine being trapped in a nightmare, enduring unspeakable pain and suffering at the hands of a twisted criminal. Roxanne Eka Peters, a courageous 35-year-old woman, found herself in this horrifying situation, forced to make a life-altering decision. In December 2015, she made a bold choice to protect herself and her child from the clutches of her rapist, Jason Cassar.

Cassar, a 51-year-old man, subjected Peters to unbearable physical and emotional torment. As if that wasn’t enough, he went further and threatened her child’s safety, demanding more abuse. The weight of this horrific predicament became too much for Peters to bear. Fueled by anger and rage, she took matters into her own hands and ended Cassar’s life.

However, Peters’s act of self-defense came with consequences. She was charged with manslaughter and interfering with a corpse, resulting in a nine-year prison sentence. Despite acknowledging the significant provocation she faced, the Brisbane Supreme Court showed little leniency.

Justice David Boddice recognized the brutality Peters endured and the justifiable anger it ignited. He understood that her response, driven by the desperate need to protect herself and her child, could be seen as somewhat reasonable. However, he expressed disappointment in her decision to hide Cassar’s body instead of immediately reporting the incident.

While Peters’s actions were driven by justified rage, hiding the evidence worsened her legal situation. Justice Boddice emphasized the importance of affording the deceased some level of human dignity and pleaded for Peters to reflect on the impact her anger had on her handling of Cassar’s remains. He also acknowledged the burden of loss that Cassar’s family now had to face.

Cassar was not just a perpetrator of unspeakable crimes against Peters; he was also part of a larger pattern of abuse she had endured throughout her life. Growing up amidst drug abuse and suffering from sexual assault, Peters had reached her breaking point. Cassar’s threats towards her child became the final straw.

The court’s decision to impose a harsher sentence on Peters for attempting to hide the body highlights the importance of transparency and seeking help. If she had reached out to the authorities immediately, she might have had a chance at a less severe punishment.

Now, we must reflect on Australia’s response to Peters’s act of killing her rapist. Is it just? What are your thoughts on this matter?