I have been left with nothing! No justice, no acknowledgement. I have been made to feel unimportant, disbelieved, and basically a nuisance for standing up to our legal system for the disgusting way they have treated me! As if coming to terms with being raped is not traumatic enough.. The experience i have been put through by the police and CPS has been just as if not more traumatic!
Almost a year ago i was in a good place in my life… I made a last minute decision to to go and see a band who were playing at a local nightclub. That night i was drugged and raped by an associate. Someone I had only known around 3 months. I have no recollection of leaving the club, how i got home, or what had happened to me over a long period of time. I am a mature woman who has always enjoyed a social drink. I am self aware and know my limitations with alcohol and also the affects it has on me. I am certain that my drink had been spiked with a substance that had left me powerless and without any control over what was happening to me.
I woke up feeling completely disorientated, confused and unsure of what day it was or what had happened. I had sustained injuries to both my hands and legs. I am left with a permanent scar on my leg. I went into complete shock trying to recall and piece together the terrifying events. All i had were flashes of waking up with the perpetrator penetrating me and laughing at me. I am still unsure now if my lack of memory was due to whatever i had been spiked with or my body and minds responses to the trauma of the rape. I have since gained further insight from my therapist around trauma response, and it seems that your body and mind can do amazing things to protect you when faced with threatening situations. I have to find a way to accept that i will never truly know exactly what my rapist subjected me to over a lot of hours. I cannot describe the fear and anxiety this has caused me and i continue to battle with the post trauma symptoms day and night.
My first response was to blame myself for being irresponsible. It is strange the way shock and adrenaline make you able to cope and i thought i could just carry on and accept what had happened. After asking a friend for advice and having serious concerns about this dangerous man doing this to someone else i made the decision i had no choice but to report it to the police. I felt if he did this to someone else I would never forgive myself for not reporting what had happened to me.
I put my faith and trust in the police and made the assumption that i had done the best thing. How wrong i was. I will regret reporting the rape till the day i die, and will never trust a police officer again.
The police arrived to my home in a marked car. I think my neighbours and other residents in the street think i am a criminal. I went through the standard procedures. Was taken to the SARC. It was a bank holiday therefore short staffed. There was only a male doctor available to examine me and take internal swabs, blood tests etc. I explained i felt uncomfortable and could I see a female doctor but was told i would have to wait another 24 hours and would not be allowed to shower. I could not face waiting any longer to wash so felt i had no choice other than agree. The examination was degrading. Over the following weeks i had to do two ABE interviews because the WPC was taken ill during the first one. Both were done by different officers. It is so humiliating and degrading having to relay such disgusting information to several different officers. I just did everything i was asked and tried to remind myself that this was all necessary. My home was declared a crime scene and again due to bank holiday no forensic team were available and both myself and student lodger at the time were forced to find alternative accommodation for the night. Unbeknown to me this was just the start to my horrendous experiences of our legal system.
The man who raped me was arrested, and charged with rape. I was informed that he was actually on bail for rape and assault on another victim when he had drugged and raped me. This was a huge shock and i felt very angry that this individual had been given the opportunity to rape again when he had already subjected someone else to such serious crimes. He was remanded in custody and i was told that both cases would be tried together at crown court some 6 months later. Throughout the investigation and awaiting the trial i was kept completely in the dark. I knew nothing and remained under the elusion that i would be able to find out during the trial what had been uncovered by the police. I thought i would get the results of my toxicology report and have conformation that i had been spiked. I hoped that CCTV in the city centre would help establish how, when, where i had sustained my injuries. I felt confident that ‘the powers that be’ would ensure that the perpetrator would be held accountable and punished accordingly for the two counts of rape and one of assault on two victims.
Both myself and the other victims attended court on the second day of the trial to be cross examined. I will never be able to forget this.
During the summing up an error was made by the prosecuting barrister and the judge declared a mistrial and dismissed the jury. I was informed by the police that a retrial would start the following week with a another 12 jurors and myself and the other victim would have to return for cross examination again. I was absolutely devastated. It was so close to hearing the verdict and to be told i would then have reappear in the witness stand and be accused of lying and degraded by a female defence barrister was just too much to bear. Myself and the other victim were told we would not be allowed to know what had caused the mistrial until after the retrial. This was most traumatic and horrendous few weeks i have ever faced. The retrial was a complete mockery. I was told to ‘act’ as if it was my first time being cross examined to prevent the jury from knowing. After another gruelling week of waiting and then Halloween weekend i got a phone call from the police. His words were although the defendant was acquitted of two charges of rape on two separate victims the judge had given him a firm telling off. The defendant was sentenced to 20 months for the assault on the other victim which he had already pleaded guilty to from the time he was arrested.
I have been left traumatised and struggling to come to terms with the verdict and the absolute travesty. The defendant was released from prison 6 weeks later as he had served his sentence on remand and given a discount for admitting the assault. He is now walking the streets which terrifies me.
Since the verdict i have followed the complaints procedure which is still ongoing. The responses i have had from the police and CPS have been both dismissive and far from satisfactory. Both have admitted mistakes were made but are expecting me to just accept the outcome and get on with my life. After a meeting with the CPS i am so disturbed by their lack of empathy and awareness. The prosecution barrister admitted to not seeing all the cctv evidence and made it obvious to me he was prosecuting in a rape trial without knowing all the relevant information and facts. It appears the jury responsible for the verdict were not given a true or fair account of events. No toxicology was done, no forensic evidence testing done. No witnesses called to court. I am still in shock. The more i manage to find out the more it is evident this was all based around the perpetrators account of what happened, his fair trial and human rights. The victims seemed irrelevant. It seems all evidence gathered by the police was either not tested and used in court, or used by the defence to discredit my account of what had happened. I have only touched on a few failings when writing this but it is shocking how many things are so unfair and unjustified in this case. The officer in charge of the case is dismissing any failings and has refused to meet with me an discuss things face to face. The CPS just lack understanding and have very outdated attitudes towards the victims in these cases.
I was told about this website by Rape crisis as i feel so strongly about bringing awareness to my case and the way it was handled. It is wrong and unacceptable that survivors of sexual violence are made to feel so powerless by a legal system in place to protect the public. I want the public to be made aware this clearly did not happen in my case or many other documented cases of a similar nature. If I knew before reporting i was raped that only around 7% of sex offenders are convicted, or had any idea what I would be subjected to by the police and CPS then i would have never reported it. I will continue to fight and argue my case and do everything in my power to get recognition. If enough survivors make a stand then hopefully things can change in the future!
For anyone who can identify with my story.. My thoughts are with you and i wish you all the best in finding a way to stay strong and survive these horrific occurrences we have been unfortunate enough to have to deal with. Remember you have survived! With or without justice we cannot allow these vile individuals who chose to commit these serious crimes, or let our inadequate mockery of a legal system beat us!!!!
A huge thank you to the amazing ladies who are behind its not justice… Your website has been a huge comfort to me and reminded me i am not alone in my suffering