All she ever wanted was to hear the words, “I was wrong”, “I’m sorry”. Instead, the woman at the centre of the Luke Lazarus case has watched on as the man she claims raped her in a Kings Cross alleyway four years ago walked free.
Lazarus, the 25-year-old son of a Sydney nightclub owner, was on Thursday acquitted of raping the then-18-year-old woman in a judge only retrial, two years after a jury found him guilty.
In an emotional Facebook post, the woman told friends that she felt “let down and confused” by the recent verdict.
“The reality is this doesn’t get to be over for me,” she wrote. “I don’t get to know who I would be today had this not happened to me, and I mourn for that person.
“She seemed like she was on her way to being great.”
Lazarus was jailed in 2015 and served 11 months of his maximum five-year sentence before the Court of Criminal Appeal found he was entitled to a retrial.
In delivering this week's ruling, Judge Robyn Tupman said while the woman in her own mind believed she had not consented, Lazarus had a "genuine and honest belief" that she had.
According to the ABC, she was sitting only four seats away from Lazarus, crying, as the ruling was read and ran from the room once he was officially acquitted.
In her Facebook post, which has attracted hundreds of likes and comments from her friends, the woman wrote that nothing has made her feel better through all this than admitting she needed "help".
"At first I felt like I needed to be happy and it would all just go away. I didn't want anyone to worry and got mad if they did (sorry mum...and everyone else). When I finally gave myself permission to answer the question 'How are you?' with anything other than ‘Good!', it saved me," she wrote.
The woman then went on to thank those who had supported her, making special mention of a particular detective "for pouring more time, effort and care into this case than anyone. I wouldn't be standing here on my admittedly shaky feet without her."
She expressed hope that sharing her story would help her heal, help her move on, then finished with words of American poet Maya Angelou:
"You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise."