This is a guest post by a reader who wants to remain anonymous, for reasons she explains in the post.
Two years ago I was raped for a second time. I did not know the man and I was away from home. I had multiple injuries which were documented by my doctor but I still did not feel able to report it for many reasons.
Because when I tried to report a previous rape, the police told me that the court wouldn’t believe me because I have mental health problems.
Because people say “she’s done it before” if a woman reports two rapes. The assumption is that a previous rape means she has made both of them up and she has some kind of agenda, not that she has been victimised twice.
Because my local Rape Crisis centre has an 6 month waiting list.
This isn’t abstract speculation, this is my reality. These are the direct causes of a rapist ‘getting away with it’. He has got away with it because every message from society tells me (and him) that I was wrong, not him.
When my GP saw my how bad my injuries were, she told me I had to report it to stop him doing it to anyone else. I hated the thought that what he went on to do was my responsibility. But more than that I knew that there was a vast chasm between me reporting it and him going to prison. There is no logical progression from one to the other.
The thought that he may have gone on to do it to other women keeps me awake at night. However every one of the above reasons meant that I could do nothing more. Even if I had, I feel sure he would still be free. On top of that, people could be naming me on Twitter, discussing in public what I was wearing, arresting me for ‘making it up’ and assuming, from my history of mental illness and repeated assaults, that this made me more likely to be lying. These things actually make people like me more likely to be revictimised.
It looks like our whole society needs to change for justice for rape victims to be the norm. Public attitudes, as much as the criminal justice system, need reforming drastically.
I didn’t report. Writing anonymously here may add to people’s suspicion about what I say, but after seeing the treatment of Ched Evans’ victim my confidence faded.
Reporting would make people blame me and suspect I had ulterior motives. Cruelly, me not reporting will make people do the same.
[“Men can stop rape” graffiti with a raised fist, by David Drexler with a Creative Commons Licence]