A Nova Scotia woman who was violently sexually assaulted by her common-law spouse says she feels the justice system made a fool of her and now she regrets taking him to court.

She reported the attack to police when it happened two years ago and he was subsequently charged, convicted and sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison.

“I felt relief. I felt like justice had been served,” says the woman, whose identity is protected under a publication ban. “I felt better about what had happened knowing it probably wouldn’t happen again.”

However, her former partner was released from prison after spending just two months behind bars, pending an appeal.

“It feels like they’re just completely making a fool out of anyone this happens to,” she says. “If I could go back, I would not go to the police. I would not go through any of this again.”

The man has been released from prison on a number of conditions. He is not allowed to have any direct or indirect contact with the woman he has been convicted of assaulting and has also been added to the sex offender registry. He is not allowed to have a Canadian passport and can’t leave Nova Scotia. He’s also not allowed to leave his residence after 10 p.m.

The conditions will be in place until November, when his appeal is set to be heard.

“I get everybody has a right to appeal, but while he appeals, he’s supposed to be a free man,” she says. “I’ve barely slept since I found out he’s been out.”

The woman says she lost her job and had to testify during a painful trial. Now she says none of it was worth it.

“It feels like nobody actually cares what happens in these cases, like it’s just a go-through-the-motions and what happens after it’s done doesn’t matter.”

Verona Singer, who manages the victim service unit with the Halifax Regional Police, says she hopes people will always report sexual assaults, but admits the system doesn’t always focus on the needs of victims.

“Sometimes it’s not set up to support victims in the way or to meet the needs of the victims in a way they think justice should be done, or ought to be done,” says Singer.

Meanwhile, the woman is fighting the publication ban that protects her identity so she can tell her story her way.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Kayla Hounsell.