After battling a childhood of sexual abuse, Louisville woman fighting for her own justice
Katya Estes is seeking justice for years of sexual abuse at the hands of her own grandfather.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- It was a life filled with so much pain.
"This is something I've been fighting for, for so many years," Katya Estes said. "This has been my life. This does not leave my mind."
Estes is seeking justice for years of sexual abuse at the hands of her own grandfather.
The now 20 year old filed a civil lawsuit against him. The jury trial is scheduled to start next week.
"I want for him to face what he has done, so it can smack him in the face," she said.
"Because it smacks me in the face every day."
James Estes pleaded guilty in a criminal case in 2010 to raping Katya, convicted of first degree sexual abuse of a minor under the age of 12.
But his five-year sentence was downgraded to probation, and the only jail time he ever served was 60 days behind bars for a probation violation.
Katya Estes believes the punishment didn't fit the crime, and now she's seeking her own justice.
"Finding justice for children who are victims of sexual abuse is so difficult," said J.T. Henderson, with Family and Children's Place. "Our police and prosecutors and crimes against children unit find it very difficult to gather enough evidence that they can enter into court to get convictions."
Since turning 18, Katya Estes has become an advocate for other sexual abuse victims.
Just a week ago, she won a national award in Washington, D.C., for her service at Family and Children's place.
She has chosen to be a voice for others not strong enough to go public with their stories.
"I think it's important to speak up, and I think it's important to empower each other," she said.
During the civil trial, Katya will wear pieces of jewelry given to her by other local victims.
"We don't talk about it, and that's how this happens," Henderson said. "And so Katya is standing up, and she is saying, enough."
Staff at Family and Children's Place say, unfortunately, the statistics in Louisville are right in line with the national average.
One in every four girls and one in every six boys will become the victims of some kind of sexual abuse before they turn 18.
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