PETA Butler has suffered through horrors many of us could never even imagine.
Aged just 16, she was raped by a fat man with bulging eyes in a shabby Toowoomba hotel room in 2006 while her mother — who organised the whole thing — sat outside, metres away smoking cigarettes.
But, 12 years on, the nightmare is far from over. Not only is her rapist, known as “Thommo”, still at large but her mother Therese is soon to be released from prison.
It has driven her to throw her support behind a petition, which was created by someone she knows, which calls on the Attorney-General appeal the case and extend her mother’s sentence.
Her mum Therese was jailed for four years in February after pleading guilty to procuring a child for carnal knowledge. However, it was suspended after 12 months from sentencing.
She was found guilty of taking the teenager on a “girl’s weekend” to Toowoomba, plying her with alcohol, and sending her into the bedroom of her cheap hotel room to be forced into having sex.
In the plea to the Attorney-General, the petition-maker writes that Peta’s mother is due to be released in October this year and the sentence is “inadequate” for the crime.
Peta, now a mother herself, says that she fears for her life and that of her children and partner because of her mother’s release later this year.
“Australian children who are victims of pain, torture, neglect, malnutrition, emotionally or sexually abused or subject to violence for several minutes, hours or days should automatically have their abuser sentenced to murder charges,” the petition reads.
“These charges should be automatic when there is sufficient evidence to prosecute.
“No child should be left feeling their life was worthless. We need justice for every child.
“We are urging the Attorney-General to appeal this case as a matter of urgency and set a precedent to protect our children.”
In a series of brave interviews in recent weeks, Peta has revealed sickening details of the fateful night in 2006.
She described the moment her mother left her alone in the hotel room and what happened shortly after.
“Not long after that, he entered the room,” she said. “He didn’t say anything. He just literally walked up to me and took off his clothes and took off my pants. I was frozen. I couldn’t do anything. I just couldn’t move,” a brave Peta, told Courier Mail journalist Kate Kyriacou.
Reliving a decade of pain with A Current Affair’s Tracy Grimshaw this week, she said: “I think to myself ‘how could a mum do what she did?’”
“How could a mum sit outside knowing that their daughter is being raped by her potential boyfriend?”
It was an interview interspersed with horrifying audio of the dreadful telephone confession which helped bring Therese Butler to justice, Peta described how she waited helplessly for her mother to intervene.
“I was hoping she was going to come in and stop it,” Peta tearfully told Grimshaw.
“She knew what was happening.”
It was a moment that brought a tear to the eye of the seasoned journalist who replied, “Yeah, she did. She’d served you up to him to save yourself.”
Asked why she took so long to finally make her mother admit to the horrific crime, Peta replied: “I wasn’t strong enough for it at that time. I didn’t think people would believe me.”
It wasn’t until she had daughters of her own that she broke her silence.
Horrific audio of the phone call confession, coaxed out of Therese by Peta with the unstinting back up of police, was played on A Current Affair.
“I wouldn’t have taken you down there unless you were 16,” Butler tells Peta.
Peta says “I told him no, I was crying, I was telling him no.”
Her mother insists the man said “he wasn’t gonna touch you”.
She continues: “It was still. Yeah … it was still rape, but you were 16. I wouldn’t let him touch you under, under 16, no way”.
Therese seems oblivious to her daughter’s involuntary part gasp, part moan, part cry of protest over the telephone.
She maintained that “Thommo” promised he had not touched her, then nervously asks her daughter if there is anyone else there who can hear the phone call.
Police are still hunting for Peta’s rapist — a man believed to be known as “Thommo”, who Peta said spoke with Therese online for about two years before convincing her to allow him to assault her daughter.