Trigger warning, this post will discuss themes of rape and sexual assault.
A lot has happened in my life. And that means moving on from my past and the traumatic events it entails. But there is one thing that I can never seem to get past, and that is the person I can never forgive.
What I call my ‘main rape’ is the one that was the most clear cut, whether it was the most traumatic I do not know. I suppose it was the most traumatic in the way that it really showcased how unsafe a person can be even in the most safe of situations.
It happened at a small party, so small that it’s hard to call a party. The guests were mostly people I knew. Out of no more than 10 people, I had been to school with well over half and knew a couple others from different places. The person who had organised the party used to be a close school friend, someone whom I thought of quite fondly. Then there were 3 people I didn’t know, 2 had to go home quite early. This left me with a small gathering of friends I had known for years, bar one person.
This guy was very mysterious, we were all in the back garden enjoying the summer evening weather yet he seemed to enjoy being alone in the house more. With time, as we all got more drunk, he started to gravitate to the garden. I still remember him standing there at the back door, not speaking or engaging in conversation but doing what looked as though he was surveying.
Hm, just must be a shy person I thought. Odd behaviour, but maybe he was just waiting to get a little tipsy himself before he comes out to say hello. I later realised that there wasn’t any alcohol inside the house as it was outside for our convenience. His behaviour was not shyness but instead predatory.
There were 2 other girls there, one had a boyfriend and the other very close friends with one of the other guys and quite glued to his hip. To an unknown onlooker, they could be construed as a couple. I was the only obviously single person there and that is exactly what he was looking for.
He made me his target. I saw him watching me from the doorway. As soon as he had chosen me as his meal to satisfy his sadistic urges for the night, that was it. He came straight over and budged himself between me and my friend and, in that same moment, took ownership of me. Even with years to come, he still guides my nightmares.
But this post isn’t about him. This post is about the person who betrayed me, the one who could be mistaken for being in cahoots with her friend.
I wasn’t just raped that night, I was endlessly tortured. Every time I left the room, he followed. He’d try to coerce me out of the room with alcohol and to help me find my ‘lost’ phone – which I found out later he had stolen until he could get what he wanted. Each time he had me alone, he would force himself on me. Someone well over 6’ vs all 5’3” of me was no match.
As people started to wind down, there was only 5 of us staying the night. I had the chance to approach this ‘friend’ and I told her, something’s not right. I’m scared and he’s acting dodgy. Can you please keep an eye on him? ‘Yes of course!’
I remember later mouthing the word ‘help’ to her from across the room as he forced his hands inside of me from underneath a strategically placed blanket.
She smiled awkwardly and looked back to her phone.
Not too much later, he raped me in the bathroom upstairs.
I’m not a morning person but I woke up that next day at 7am. The last time I had checked the time was when I was sure he was fast asleep at about 4am. I hadn’t quite admitted yet what had happened to me but I knew something was awfully wrong. It wasn’t until almost 3 days later that a staff member with social services heard me say that someone had taken the condom off during ‘sex’.
They consequently convinced me to go to the police and it was a traumatic process. The investigation was hitting so many dead ends, the forensic evidence only proof of consensual sex – which is what he claimed it to be. And of course the white male spoke those words so they were taken as gospel.
But wait! Detective, there was this girl, I spoke to her I asked her to keep on eye on him, she saw him!!!
It was agonising waiting the next few days to hear the result of the witness statement. I really thought I had him.
In such investigations, witnesses cannot be asked direct questions such as ‘did you see him assault her?’. This is because it can put false memories into a persons mind, they may start overanalysing and make up little details without ever realising. This of course can be very damaging to an investigation.
But she was asked if she saw anything going on between the two of us that night. She answered no.
I still remember her friend that she was with that night messaging me; ‘what’s the investigation for? Why are the police speaking to us?’ (they had to speak to everyone).
It felt like a knife through my chest.
I felt so betrayed by this person. Me and her had never necessarily been close but we went to school together. She knew me, we had spoke but above all of that, we were girls. You never break girl code, you always look out for one another – especially when one goes to the other clearly rattled because this guy is acting dodgy.
I have tried and tried in my head to understand why someone would lie. She wasn’t drunk, she was barely drinking so she couldn’t have forgotten. Even if she felt scared to say something, it would be anonymous and wouldn’t be traced back to her. If he had done the same to her, wouldn’t she jump at the chance to help someone who had been through the same – without her name ever being implicated?!
She had the chance to get a rapist convicted, something that almost never happens. In England, more than 98% of rapists go free. She was the reason that he joined that majority percentage. Her unwillingness to give an honest statement will always haunt me. I cannot for the life of me let it go. She goes on with her life unaffected whilst I constantly stress over the fact that there could be more victims or that he could find me.
I received death threats for a year after the case was dropped. I was accused of being a liar and an attention seeker, that I was a slag who deserved to die after making such preposterous claims. I never actually told anyone at the time that that was the reason for the investigation. No one had any clue apart from the rapist himself. I remember explaining that over and over to provide some kind of evidence that I wasn't a liar to make those messages stop. The whole time scared to be outside alone, always looking over my shoulder.
I could have avoided all of that and he could be in prison. All it took was for her to say 'actually, I saw him...'
And that is something I can never forgive.
**Disclosure, the person who's face is blocked out in the photo is not the person this post is about, this is simply the only photo I have from that night.**