Some victims worry they won’t be believed because they were drinking or taking drugs, or don’t remember what happened.
It is important that victims understand that the police will want to focus on the sexual offence that has been committed against them and bring the perpetrators to justice so they can’t commit this crime again.
Here a rape victim who recently had her perpetrator found guilty, and awaiting sentencing, couldn’t remember what happened to her. However thanks to her reporting the incident to the police, and forensic evidence being found, the force were able to charge the man with rape.
Here she tells us what happened:
I was in Cambridge, living with a host family and taking English classes at school, in order to improve my English.
One night I went out with some friends from my course, one of them was having his birthday and to celebrate he wanted us to rent a limousine to go to London and go to a club there.
On the way I drank too much alcohol. When we arrived in London I was so drunk I didn’t realise we were in London. This is when my memory starts to get blurry.
I know someone put me in a cab but I don’t remember who. I don’t even remember saying to the taxi driver where I was going. I remember I changed seats and was sat next to the driver at some point, yet I don’t know how I got there. I remember discussing with the driver about how I was going to pay him.
In my bag, some money I had in an envelope had disappeared, my phone was not there either. I was very stressed and kept saying to the driver that I did not know how I was going to pay him. On the way home we stopped at a cash machine but my card did not work. I think I forgot the PIN.
At one point we stopped somewhere I did not know where. I was stressed. He said to not stress, and he gave me a cigarette, even though I told him that I had never smoked. Then it gets blurry again.
Then I remember he was above me somehow, touching my breast. I just remember him being on top of me. I remember noticing when I put my shorts back on that my tights were broken. After that he kept apologising and drove me back home saying I did not owe him anything.
In the morning I wanted it to have been a bad dream and checked my bag. This is when I discovered that the money, my phone and my passport were strangely not there. Everything then felt real.
Because I had lost my passport I told my host family about the fact that I had lost everything. I then called one of my best friends and told her in French that I thought I had been raped. The mother in my host family speaks French and over heard me. She came into my room and asked me what happened. I cried and told her. She then called the police.
The whole investigation and trial process was a reminder every day that this happened to me. It was hard sometimes. I tried to forget. The hardest part was that I did not want to tell my parents. They would have been so sad and I didn’t want to make them feel that way. Towards the end I could not keep it a secret from my mum. One month before the trial I told her what happened. She cried and it was so hard to see her suffer.
The incident has affected my relationship with men, in trusting them. However I have met a lovely guy, he came to the trial with me and was the best support. I needed him to understand what I had been through for our relationship to work.
The trial has affected my work and my social life. I have been down all the time. I could not concentrate and I was constantly thinking about the outcome of the trial.
The police have been amazing. The two policewomen that were with me have provided me with the best support. The forensic examination was uncomfortable but it is a very useful process as this is how they found the evidence to prove what happened.
The forensic results showed that the taxi driver had penetrated me and his DNA was found.
While this has affected me I do have the support from my family, my boyfriend, my friends and the university. Without them it would have been much worse. The outcome of the trial has given me more faith for people in my situation to get positive results from these types of cases.
I want to tell victims of rape and sexual assault to report it, do not give up, go to trial, even though it is unpleasant, because if you don’t, you say to society that what happened is ok, and it isn’t.
In other incidents of crime, like stealing or beating someone up, the defence would never assume the victim wanted it. In a rape case because everything is about consent, the victim is accused of wanting it to happen in the trial. It seems to be the only defence possible. However the evidence the police collected proved what happened to me and now my rapist will be punished.