Rape survivor speaks out on her police ordeal: "I want to share my story"

Stock image - victim anonymity protected
Stock image - victim anonymity protected

A rape survivor from Aylesbury has bravely shared her story in an effort to improve what she says are failings in the way that crimes such as hers are handled.

Following a night out in Aylesbury with family and friends, she says she was raped back in December last year.

Having fallen asleep drunk after being with friends, she claims she was woken up on the sofa by a man having sex with her.

To make matters worse, that man was her neighbour, who had offered to give her a lift home from a nightclub in town. It was someone she trusted.

She said: "I'm not sure how long I was out for but I woke up to a man having sex with me.

"This man was no stranger to me, it was someone I knew and trusted.

"I was paralysed with fear, not knowing what to do - unable to move or speak; it felt as though my whole soul left my body.

"I was screaming inside, do something, say something, stop this. No matter how hard I was screaming internally I couldn't move.

"I blacked out again and by the time I woke up, he was gone.

The survivor said she was left confused, furious and hurt - and did not know what to do or the correct procedure to follow.

But unfortunately this is where problems began as there followed a 7 month wrangle with police for both justice and information on how the case was progressing.

"Immediately I knew what had happened to rang the national rape hotline. I was trying to make sense of everything.

"The people at Rape Crisis were amazing, they have been so supportive.

"The lady advised me of what routes I could follow, calling the police or not and illustrated the guidelines I needed to adhere to get evidence against the perpetrator.

"But as morning came around my kids arrived, and I had to become mum again. I got dressed and went to work and life returned to normal."

A week later she spoke to her parents about the incident.

She decided at that point it was time to get the police involved. She told them exactly what had happened on the phone, and they said they would send two officers to her house.

Two male officers arrived at the house, which made her feel extremely uneasy and uncomfortable as she had to recite her story, give them her underwear and go through all of her things.

"It was uncomfortable and degrading quite frankly, and that was the first strike for me.

"I gave them the names of everybody who was with me that evening and the people they should talk to, and most importantly, the name of the perpetrator too.

"I did everything I was told to do, everything I was asked for."

Fast forward seven months, she claims nothing has been done by the police whatsoever. No correspondence, no updates, nothing.

"I have made numerous complaints to the police, they haven't called me or let me know what is going on.

Two weeks later the alleged man who did it was still walking past the front of her house.

"I called the police asking for answers. Why hasn't he been arrested yet?"

She says their answer was 'they couldn't locate him.

“He was walking past my house, trying to talk to my kids, and trying to initiate contact with me again. I've never felt so angry and scared.”

Eventually, the alleged perpetrator was invited for interview at the police station.

She continued: "I feel like they only responded because I phoned them to ask them, why is he still walking past my house?

"He's still trying to talk to me, constantly ringing me, texting me - to him, he had done nothing wrong. He was trying to get my kids to get me to speak to him, trying to invite himself around - I was absolutely terrified.

She alleges the perpetrator went to her parents house and basically fabricated a story that he came to her house and had consensual sex.

"He told my mum how sorry he was. If he claims he didn't rape me, you have to wonder why he was sorry if things were 'consensual'.

Seven months later, she is still scratching around for information from the police about the case and how things are going.

She continued: "I'm living a nightmare. I live next to this man. If it wasn't for my friends and family, I don't know what I would have done. I wouldn't be in this position talking to you. I'm scared to leave the house.

"I finally got a phone call, after I made a complaint. I got a phone call saying that two officers will come to my house and speak to me."

They bought a letter that said the case is being dropped because there is insufficient evidence.

"At no point have the police taken statements from the witnesses I have given.

"I was in a state, I was blackout drunk. This man took advantage of me. The police should be the first people supporting victims of rape, but I feel i've been completely hung out to dry.

"His story doesn't add up, mine has been consistent, I've not lied once.

"We have been told growing up that the police are there to protect us, to fight for us in the battle for justice.

"I don't just feel like i've been raped by the man, I feel like I've been raped by the police. They have not supported me at all.

"Not enough is being done for rape victims. Where is my safeguarding? The man who raped me is free to go; where does this leave me and my kids?

"I understand 100% why women commit suicide over rape. I'm so lucky I've got strong friends who have not allowed me to do anything silly. They haven't allowed me to fall, they are checking in on me and looking out for me all the time.

"Something needs to be done for the rape victims. I'm not going to sit back and let them take his word. They have made me out to be a liar.

"If I've got to stand up and make my voice heard, I will.

"There's no way on earth I'm going to allow women in this town who have been raped to be forgotten.

"I've had to fight from when this happened till now, just to get a response."

The lady claims the first time she had seen the investigating officer was SEVEN months after the alleged incident.

Thames Valley Police have denied this.

The police took her underwear, her clothing, pillow throws and a sofa throw - at no point they have told her what they have found.

"Women or men, anybody- police need to start taking note that rape victims are falling through the cracks, it takes a tremendous amount of courage to come forward and I feel like my incident has just been brushed aside.

"I'm on tablets now. I cannot sleep, and I'm wracked with anxiety. I don't want anybody else to have to go through this. We must have justice."

Thames Valley Police said the case was complex, but maintain that their investigation was thorough.

They said:

“Thames Valley Police takes all reports of rape extremely seriously and will always investigate, support victims and wherever possible bring offenders to justice.

“In this case we have carried out a thorough investigation following a number of lines of enquiry, taking witnesses statements and a suspect was interviewed under caution.

“A specially trained officer was issued as a point of contact shortly after the victim made her initial report, and updates were provided at regular intervals through the investigation.

“Every person who reports an offence of this nature is entitled to a review of their case through the Victim’s Right to Review.

“We aim to be transparent in our investigations and would encourage the victim to apply for this review. As such it would not be appropriate for us to comment further at this stage."