The letter writer would like to mention that she is from the UK and the court systems might differ in other countries.
This is my story of when I was sexually assaulted and I hope it will encourage more women to come forward with similar stories and to try to get their cases taken to court.
It was Sunday, so I went to church and afterwards I stayed in the city to wait for the discussion group later on in the day. I went shopping for a while then sat down to have a cigarette. This guy asked me for a light, so I gave it to him. He started talking to me; he asked me about the scars on my arms (I used to self-harm) and seemed concerned. We talked for a little longer and he asked if I wanted to go for a walk, to which I agreed. I was chatting away and then he invited me into his accommodation for a drink. I know it wasn’t a good idea, but I thought he seemed like a nice guy. So, we go in for the drink but then I need to go as it’s almost time for the discussion group. When I try to leave he stops me and asks for my number, which I give to him reluctantly. But when I try to walk out the door he grabs me and starts trying to kiss me. I try to pull away but he won’t let me and carries on despite my protests. He pushes me down onto the bed. At this point I am chilled with fear because I think ‘he’s going to rape me’. He keeps kissing me whilst I try to push him off. But he’s everywhere on top of me and his hands are on me and his lips. He pauses and I plead with him; say that he’s a good guy and he doesn’t want this. He ignores me for a while and continues to touch me and kiss me whilst lying on top of me but eventually does let me up. He asks me to call him so I just agree as I’m panicking and try to leave as quickly as possible. I can’t quite believe it at first. I’m in shock. I phone my friend and freak out. He comes to pick me up at the station and the enormity hits me and I’m sobbing.
I went to tell another friend of mine that same day and he persuaded me to call the police. They came and I had to tell the whole sorry story to them. It took a while, but eventually an inspector came to see me and asked some more questions. When she came again; she said that the guy had been arrested but he denied all charges. He also mentioned the scars on my arms, so they had to ask me about my mental health history and get in contact with my doctors. I should’ve refused. He was literally saying it to make me seem unbalanced or something. But I let them have access to my medical records, anyway, because I wanted to seem cooperative.
I took the case to court but it didn’t happen for about six months after the incident had actually taken place. I had victim protection, which meant there was a board around me when I gave my evidence so that I couldn’t see the accused. It helped because then all I had to do was to answer the questions about the statement I had given and the lawyers were all very nice and on my side. The only thing that was difficult was them asking me about my mental health; I had mild psychotic symptoms on occasion and the defence lawyer questioned me about this, despite its irrelevance. The accused had made up this ridiculous story about me trying to buy weed from him as his defence, which just made him seem like a liar. However, the jury must have felt that there wasn’t enough evidence for a conviction. It upset me, but I understand. It was my word against his. I just hope he got the shock of his life when he was arrested and had to go to court for what he did.
It wasn’t pointless to me because I felt closure. I felt that at least I had sent him a message loud and clear; that what he had done was completely unacceptable and that I would not just lie down and take it.
This post is a part of a series to talk about stories of assault and violence and help break the silence.
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