Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

Not Guilty

I was sexually abused and raped when I was 14 years old.

Of course I didn’t believe this for many years as I thought I was to blame just as much/even more than he was. He was the married man with two children.

I don’t remember when it first started (this may be because I do not want to remember) but I think I was about 12 years old when he first started his manipulative grooming.

He was always popular with all of the children (my cousins and his nieces), he would take us out on jet skis, take us to the cinema etc. but he treated me like I was special.

He told me he liked me, I was beautiful, all the clichés. He would text me a lot. He touched me when no one was looking.

He made me believe that we had a secret, special bond.

He always knew I would fall for it, a young, inexperienced, naïve girl who is at an extremely vulnerable age. And I did fall for it.

Then he raped me and told me that I could not tell anyone or he would be in a lot of trouble. Then he did not talk to me anymore, ignored me and would go out of his way to make me feel like I was harassing him, that I should be ashamed of myself and that what he did was my fault.

Obviously I was hurt, confused, ashamed and angry. I thought there was something wrong with me. After two years of silence I broke down and told my (amazing) cousin who helped me tell my family.

This is a very brief description of the abuse I suffered, as I want to focus more on what happened when I finally found the courage to speak out.

My family believed me straight away (immediate family and one side of cousins, aunt and uncle), I was very lucky and still am to have such an amazing, loving family around me.

The events after this have become a bit blurred, as it was a very traumatic time. I was interviewed and recorded being interviewed. I was asked many questions. I still believed I was in the wrong so felt very scared when answering, as I felt ashamed and embarrassed. One side of my family did not believe me and would still have contact with him and his family.

I was subjected to a horrific internal examination. I remember my mum crying by my side holding my hand whilst about 5 doctors were looking inside of me with cameras and probes. None of whom were the slightest sympathetic that I can remember. I had to relay what had happened to me to many different ‘specialists’, never seeing the same person twice. My case was moved from one police station to the next then to the next.

I have recently learnt that from the day we reported to the police it took 2 months for this man to be arrested. In which time he had found out that I had told and had managed to get rid of all evidence, throwing his phone in a cement mixer.

My phone was taken for testing as I had deleted all evidence on it, as he would make me delete messages straight away when the abuse was happening. I was told that nothing was found as I had ‘overridden’ the memory. I find this very strange that technology we have cannot find anything.

After over a year and court dates being postponed the day before they were due to start (causing a lot of emotional anxiety and pain) the case finally went to trial. We only met my prosecution solicitor on the first day of the trial and did not speak to him at all before he went into the courtroom, whereas the man who abused me had the opportunity to pay a lot for a solicitor and prepare with.

I gave evidence via video link, as would any vulnerable victim, and could not answer any questions. I was in no frame of mind to give evidence. I remember just wanting to be anywhere but in that room. I tried to pretend I was not there, I closed my eyes and cried the entire time only answering no comment or I don’t remember. I just wanted it to be over as soon as possible. I remember being called all sorts of names by the defence. I was not aloud to speak to my mum about anything, as she was a witness the following day.

After about a week the man who abused me was found not guilty.

I have had to try to move on from this the best way I can. It has take me a very long time to acknowledge that what happened to me was not my fault. It did not help that some people around me would blame me. People would say how wrong it was that I pursued him so much, and that I was 14 and should have known better. I did not believe that I was raped because I did not say no, I did not fight him off, and I even unlocked the door for him to come in and knew he was going to come over and knew what was going to happen. However, I was 14 and he was nearly 40. I could not consent at that age. I still have mixed feelings of shame but after receiving cognitive behavioral therapy and growing up, I have started to come to terms with it.

I want to obtain the court transcript for my case as I feel I need to see what happened to help me move on. I strongly feel that I was not in the right frame of mind to give evidence and that I was called horrendous names. However, I have asked for these but have been declined. They also cost a lot of money. I want to know why it took so long for his arrest and how it was just accepted that his phone ‘fell into a cement mixer’ by accident.

I have tried to accept that there just wasn’t enough evidence. And I know that this was the case, and that nothing I do will get me justice. But I need to do something.

I hope that this has in someway helped someone else.

 

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