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I was raped and didn’t report it – though I wish I had. This is why

Five in six women who are raped don’t tell the police. I am one of them

Tuesday 11 July 2023 16:38 BST
The Sexual Assault Referral Clinic was both reassuring and helpful – if only women could feel that way about the police and judicial process
The Sexual Assault Referral Clinic was both reassuring and helpful – if only women could feel that way about the police and judicial process (PA Wire)

I am not the perfect rape victim. I was raped by my Hinge date who I invited into my house to watch a film the first time we met. If the perfect rape victim did exist (they don’t) and I was her, then I suppose I would have been out walking my elderly neighbour’s dog at 1pm on a pleasant autumnal afternoon, in a busy suburban area on a route I knew well that passed by a police station; wearing baggy trousers, long sleeves and flat shoes; and I wouldn’t have had a drink since that glass of Baileys last Christmas.

I am not her. In fact, in the days leading up to my rape, I exchanged flirty text messages with my rapist. I went out that evening to meet him, dressed in a way I felt might interest him, hoping for a mutual spark. I found him attractive, I wanted to kiss him and told him as much, I even wanted him to touch me. Until I didn’t. Until the look on his face and the intent behind his actions changed; until what he was doing became aggressive and violent and I wanted him to stop. Until I told him to stop and he did not stop.

The next morning, as the reality of what had happened to me dawned along with the new day, I googled what I should do, then contacted my local Sexual Assault Referral Clinic (SARC), The Bridgeway, who told me I could go in for a forensic examination and support, with no pressure whatsoever to report what had happened to me to the police. I remember that this reassurance felt vital to me.

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