We need a public inquiry to get to the truth regarding Cyril Smith's sexual abuse of vulnerable children over forty years. He is dead now, and no longer has to live with the consequences of his actions. But for all those he hurt, they deal with his actions every single day.
In a statement the Liberal Democrats have described what Cyril Smith did as "vile and repugnant" and said they "have nothing but sympathy for those whose lives he ruined." And media reports this week include victims recounting that Smith, a Liberal Democrat MP, used his power to sexually abuse children for decades. We need to know exactly what went on, and what lengths people went to to protect this man.
Smith has devastated so many people's lives, and it sickens me to know he was protected by the very people who should have been protecting the vulnerable children he preyed on . The least we can do is give his victims some closure. We are calling for a full and transparent public inquiry into Smith's abuse of children.
I am a rape survivor myself, and there is not one day that goes by where I can forget that. I have to live with it, emotionally and physically, no matter how difficult it is. It is like living in a prison sometimes. On bad days it is so painful I don't know how I will carry on. But I do. I know all those Cyril Smith hurt face the same life sentence.
At the very least they deserve some form of closure, some assurance that society cares about them, and refuses to ignore this man's actions anymore. Newspapers were willing to expose childrens' suffering, and survivors' voices are finally being heard. Society is recognising what we have gone through.
But a clear message needs to be sent out – that we will not tolerate, or honour, those who abuse children.
The people involved in covering up this abuse have not been fully questioned. That tells survivors – 'Your suffering is not important.'
Cyril Smith devastated lives. Now we need proper justice for those he hurt. Sexual violence survivors everywhere deserve this much.