'My partner raped me, and I was the one prosecuted'

Here, one woman writes under an assumed name about her harrowing experience

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The Independent Online

I was prosecuted for ‘malicious communications’ against my ex-partner. He was sexually violent and abusive, and after the first rape I reported him to the police. The investigation was sloppy and after a few weeks the CPS decided not to charge him. They said I was in no danger; he went on to rape me again.

I was able to get a restraining order against him after recording a phone call in which he stated he was going to rape my friend as well. Because he worked with vulnerable people, I thought I should inform his employers that I had a restraining order.

I was then arrested, held for nine hours and charged with harassment. I was also accused of other things that I had not done. At court I was accused of lying about the rapes. Although the judge said that I was a credible witness, he ruled that my actions were disproportionate.  I was found guilty, and ordered to carry out community service.

I went to Women Against Rape to get help to overturn this, and found out about injustices that were even worse: women charged not with harassment, but with perverting the course of justice and imprisoned for years. What I’ve gone through, and what I’ve come across since, are the reason why WAR’s campaign to stop the prosecution of rape survivors is so important to me.

The police handling of rape is shocking – from the HMIC report that showed that 25 per cent of rapes are no-crimed, to taxi driver John Worboys who sexually assaulted over 100 women before he was stopped, and the IPCC investigation which showed London police pressuring women to retract their allegations. In Rotherham, officers refused to investigate because they believed that the victims had consented. If the police don’t know the law on rape, how can they investigate it? Some of the children were prosecuted for underage drinking but none of the adults for underage rape. No wonder the conviction rate for rape is a shameful 6 per cent.

WAR has worked with a number of women who have been imprisoned for a so-called false allegation. Some were raped by strangers, others by partners or ex-partners. Some are mothers whose children are traumatised by being separated from them. We are convinced that their convictions are miscarriages of justice. We are appalled that far more resources seem to be thrown into investigating and prosecuting women than into investigating violent men. Being raped is a horrendous abuse of trust, to be convicted by the very authorities we depend on for protection and justice is an even worse abuse.

The maximum sentence for perverting the course of justice is life. To use such charge against women who report violence when most rapists are never even prosecuted is vicious sexism. Victims and their families will speak out in Parliament today for the first time. These prosecutions must stop.

Jail Rapists NOT Rape Victims. More information can be found at www.womenagainstrape.net