I was raped when I was 21. I had walked home alone and it ate me up inside that I'd 'done the wrong thing'.
The police, to their credit, didn't show any hints of blame to start with but outside of that, it was present with how the police communicated with the press. It was bad enough reading the views of amateur and professional journalists who felt it was their right to give advice for "women not to go out alone" but when I read quotes of senior police officers saying the same thing it made my blood boil. They may not have said it to my face but they patently felt it was at least in part my fault.
Later the police tried to get me to go onto Crimewatch and tell my story. I was initially keen having been told it would help catch the man. I sensibly backed out when I realised it was just for good TV.
This came to a head when one of the police officers involved in my case explained why he thought the man may have stopped offending. It was apparently because "he'd probably found a girlfriend or wife".
So men only rape because they are lonely and women are out late at night. Thanks police. I feel like you have my interests at heart.
I was fortunate though. This all happened before the age of Twitter. The thought of my case appearing on Crimewatch with instant feedback possible on Twitter and no sanction for people who make judgements on the victims is a horrifying thought. Being raped is bad enough. Going through the investigation is worse than being raped again. If it had happened now, why would I put myself through the pain of it all when the chances of conviction are so low? In that way the attacks on victims are the most dangerous thing, as it is limiting other victims accessing justice not just the direct impact on the people attached.
We do NOT give permission for posts published as personal experiences to be reproduced, translated or otherwise published elsewhere. We will not contact people who submit their personal experiences on behalf of journalists, bloggers or other third sector organisations. These testimonies remain the intellectual copyright of their authors and must be treated with the ethical guidelines used by academics for research involving human subjects. Our full guidelines can be read here.Download this post as PDF? Click here