Raped & blamed for being ‘pretty’
I was considered the classic victim by the police. A classic story of man jumping out of the bushes on a woman and raping her.
Yet my mother and the whole of my family made sure I knew I was to blame. 'I told her so many times to not walk the way home' my mother told the police. She never said that... in fact she told my dad to stop picking me up from my friends places as I was taking advantage of his good nature. While I sat there in a state of tears and grubbyness, missing a shoe and my new mp3 player left at the scene where I was raped, as I ran away after the rapist had finished with me. My mum tried to comfort me while more distressed than me, she told me 'its what happens when you are pretty'.
I wasn't pretty. I never wanted to be pretty. I wanted to be successful. Left feeling worse by my mums comments I was then forced by my parents to go through with the whole procedure with the police... waiting 5 hours in some awful house for children with toys for 5 year olds.
I was 17 and no one knew if I was a child or adult... I had no choice... thats all that was decided on my age, my parents were the decision makers and I had no voice. I was then examined by a fifty year old male doctor, exactly what I needed. He told me to comb my pubic hair, spread my legs wide open for him and. Like I say, just what I needed. Once they had finished with me... like being raped all over again with no option of saying no... I was sent home to face the rest of them.
What were you wearing? Why didnt you just run? Why didnt you hit him? I had to explain... after being strangled and screaming til the point of losing consciousness the energy drained out of me. I couldnt fight nor could I run. I was frozen, face shoved in the snow as he raped me then forced oral sex until I gagged. I had to explain I wore trousers and a long coat... yes the rapist said 'I bet you're fit under all those clothes' I didnt have to wear a short skirt to invite him to rape me.
After the family scrutiny panel came the whole community. I tried to be a normal teenager and go out with my friend. Only to be threatened by local girls who said I lied to police and accused her cousin of raping me. I don't even know the girl or her cousin. I dont l know who raped me and I didn't suggest anyone to the police.
After barely passing my A-level exams I tried to continue but I was the damaged one now. The girl who was raped. Everyone knew and they all blamed me. 'Why was she walking home alone at 11pm? It's her own fault'; the words always echoed from my family to work colleagues and people my age in the community.
I still dont know who raped me. I'm still blamed by my family. I still relive the horror daily of not just the rape but the police investigation too. It was my 'responsibility' to report to prevent it happening to anyone else. Well no one was caught or questioned and 10 years on I still feel damaged and alone.
I battle with my new boyfriend on victim blaming. He thinks girls lie about rape. I'm alone in the world as only I think that a victim is not to blame. It is the rapists choice always. I hope to keep challenging that and that's why worked damn hard to get my degree and a job in national charity speaking up for victims.
The moral of my story is... its not the police campaigns... its not the Sun newspaper.. it's people that blame victims and until that culture changes... people like me will always be alone
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