When you make the first call, you are honestly at a point where you have nothing left to give.
For me there was no fear left when I reported my ex, I was nearly killed at his hands over an 18 month period so many times that I felt like it didn’t matter if he did kill me because he had tried to so many times that if he had as a result of me reporting him then at least I had tried to be free.
For many out there in a relationship with an abuser the grooming lasts a long time , you can be belittled and made to believe it’s not rape. I did not consider I was being raped until the night I was attacked and fled to a friends house and then only when the police said they had charged him with rape did it even enter my mind. He made me believe I was frigid, a tease, or that I wanted it or even that I was in a relationship with him so I was obliged to have sex with him even if I was asleep or saying no.
He was bailed but they managed to get him remanded. It was so surreal, I was now fitting in the box of a victim and I didn’t want to be that. I was emotionless, I could not cry for the want of trying. I could not face being undressed, I suffered vivid nightmares and flash backs … Years on they have settled but it still haunts me.
The police I must praise for their hard work and support was brilliant although I know for some victims this is not the case.
I did have a victim support worker early on but for some reason they stopped contacting me and I wasn’t in a good place to reach out for support.
Victim blaming is rife with rape.
Even when it’s not rape in a relationship it goes on:
Were you drunk ?
Were you dressed provocatively?
Were you walking home alone in the dark?
For rape in a relationship the questions are more direct:
WHY DIDNT YOU LEAVE?
WHY DIDNT YOU RUN?
WHY DIDNT YOU TELL SOMEONE?
WHY DIDNT YOU FIGHT BACK?
It should not be this way. To be brave enough to report rape is not easy and leaving an abuser is the riskiest time for the victim. I have only used the word victim because that is what you are classed as by the police. A victim of rape.
The jury sided with him despite a lot of evidence as defence was attacking me. The case lasted over two weeks . I didn’t go to the verdict because I was so exhausted . For the rest of the hearing I stayed at a friends house.
After the verdict the DC in charge of the case called me and told me he was acquitted. I crumbled to the floor. It was over, I gave everything I had to give and I had no fight in me. I wasn’t eating or sleeping or looking after myself days and the nights all merged into one.
There was zero after care or support from any services. This is completely lacking, it was like all of a sudden it had ended and there was nothing more to do. Life for everyone moved on but really my life stopped that last day I spent in the court room wondering over and over again what I could have said or done differently.
I do not take on victim shaming. I have grown strong, through sheer grit and determination. I refuse to be a victim, but I’m not a survivor either. What happened to me happens to so many. The ‘rapes reported’ statistics have increased dramatically with the high profile celebrity cases of rape and grooming.
Conviction rates for rape are far lower than other crimes, with only 5.7% of reported rape cases ending in a conviction for the perpetrator. So is it any wonder that people don’t report rape seeing that statistic its so disgraceful.
A jury has to be 99.9% sure of guilt or they have to aquit.
How many rapists are walking the streets? It’s not the fault of the police. The ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ ruling to sentencing means a jury has to be pretty certain it happened or they have to let them go.
In 2015-16, police recorded 23,851 reports of adults being raped – nearly all of them women – compared with 10,160 in 2011-12. However rape convictions are still far lower then you would expect in recent years as low as just u dear 6% of reported rape cases ending in a conviction.
There is nobody to blame but the ‘justice system’ and the rapists.
We need to stand up to make a change for the people who come forward saying they have been raped. Better support and after care, not necessarily from the police, but support services are crucial. Just having someone to talk to and be open with about how you are feeling about court and after the trial has finished, no matter the outcome could help people greatly in moving forwards.
If you or someone you know has been raped and not reported it please seek the support to do so, although my trial ended with an acquittal I do not regret it
Slowly I am moving forward and I hope one day to be a part of the end to victim shaming for all.
If you or anyone you know has been affected by rape please and would like to find your nearest rape crisis centre please visit: https://rapecrisis.org.uk/centres.php
* Statistics provided by the Office of National Statistics