Rape and the legal system: My story of injustice 

In the UK, only 5.7% of rapists spend any time in jail.

For me, the decision on whether to report to the police was an incredibly hard one, and I completely understand why only around 15% of those who experience sexual violence choose to report it.  The stress of the whole process, and talking about a truly awful experience, comes up against ‘will he do it again’ and ‘could I stop him before he does?’ I knew I had to try and stop him from doing it again.

If it wasn’t for my support worker, and my amazing friends and family, I would have definitely backed out of the initial video interview. It was TERRIFYING. Knowing that I had to relive the whole thing over again, in the end some parts had to be repeated multiple times for clarity, so the officer could record every single detail, no matter how small. The most intruding, personal questions, but they needed to build their case . The worst part was I knew there was a male officer in the next room, watching the whole thing on camera. Many people I have spoken to said they didn’t feel ‘believed’ , for me this was not the case, I knew they believed me and it was a massive weight of my shoulders.

After the interview, I didn’t hear anything for a while, I was fairly relaxed as I had text messages still which I’d received from him the day after, admitting what he had done. The police took my phone for evidence, along with my clothes from the night of the rape. He also admitted it to one of my friends on Facebook messenger, which they also had a copy of.

Maybe a month or so later I received a phone call saying he had been arrested, followed by another one a few days after telling me he had been interviewed and released on bail. After that I heard nothing for a few weeks, until they asked me to go back for some follow up questions. Again, these seemed pretty irrelevant but I was fairly relaxed given the evidence they had against him. Having to talk about it again was awful, but with the help of my support worker I got through it.

Several weeks later I received a phone call, and the detective on my case told me he was coming to see me that same day, to update me . Stupidly, I presumed this must be positive. I was soon to find out that they would be taking no further action, there was not enough evidence to send the case to the Crown Prosecution Service, even with the two messages clearly admitting what he had done.

As you could imagine, this was a massive blow. It had taken a lot of courage to report the incident in the first place, and for it to be thrown back in my face because the clear evidence provided was argued to be “insufficient” was unbelievable. The detectives had been lovely, and kept me updated throughout, I knew this wasn’t their fault, I was angry at the system.

On the positive side of things, this will always be on his record, and hopefully his brush with the law will stop him from doing anything like again .I do know several people that have had a positive experience with the justice system, and obviously some rapists do get convicted, but in my opinion not nearly enough do. The system needs to change.

For further information or to access help please visit rapecrisis.org.uk

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