Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my story. It has been almost 11 years since this happened to me, and I have never tried to deal with it. I just tucked it away in a little box in my mind and hoped that it would go away. Recently I took the first steps towards getting help to deal with the aftermath of what happened, so I’m hopeful that I can finally make peace with my past.
When I was 14 me and some friends were introduced to a much older man. He had a big reputation for drinking, doing drugs and being violent, and he lived really close to my friends so we saw him a lot. He was always really nice to us though, so we mostly felt like the ‘cool kids’ for want of a better phrase, because this guy would treat us like adults and it seemed like he respected us.
I had already been smoking cannabis for a few months with friends, so we would go and spend time at his house and he would share his drink/drugs with us, and the visits to his house got more and more frequent. He lived at his mum and step-dads house, and the whole time this was going on, his mum was aware that we were coming in and she knew exactly what we were doing. She had regularly seen us in our school uniforms which, looking back, I don’t understand why it didn’t set her alarm bells ringing.
Over the next few months things gradually got very dangerous. He was giving us cocaine and amphetamines, taking us to house parties full of drugs with men that were at least 20 years older than us. I remember one of the ‘parties’, my friend and I were convinced to take some cocaine as the guy locked us in a small bedroom with him. We found the funny side of it at the time, my friend and I were laughing and trying to get the key out of his pocket. He was insisting he wanted a kiss before he would open the door. Looking back now that should have been a major warning sign, but we were so naive.
Then things started taking a more sexual turn, this guy was making comments, touching me, putting his hands down my pants or up my tshirt. I would push him away and try to laugh it off so I didn’t see his violent side, but he was very persistent. My friends even started to notice that he was doing it, but I suppose we all just thought of it as light hearted flirting in a way. I would avoid being left alone with him at this point because I didn’t like the way he just helped himself, like he had a right to do what he wanted to me. I think he realised this quite quickly and would orchestrate scenarios to separate me from my two friends and get me alone with him. He would ask me to help him make drinks for everyone, so that it was just me and him I’m the kitchen. He would start trying to kiss or touch me, and I would move away or shout to one of my friends in the other room. After a couple of months of this, I feel like I just sort of accepted it.
A few weeks down the line I put myself in a stupid position which I will regret until the day I die. I went into his house on my own to borrow a lighter. I thought I would just nip in quickly and leave straight away, but when I got into his room he immediately passed me a joint so I sat with him and we smoked. He started touching me so I moved and pushed him away as I normally would, in a joking way. I want to make it completely clear that the reputation he had was really rather violent. I had never seen that side of him because we were always on good terms until this point. It was the side of him I didn’t want to risk seeing either.
I was 14 and he was 36, and I would never have overpowered him. He locked me in his room by drilling screws into the door to keep it closed, my mind didn’t even register what he was doing until it was too late. I just remember that gut wrenching feeling knowing this situation was way beyond anything I knew how to cope with. I told him I really needed to go, that I had to get home to see my dad who was really ill. But he got hold of my arm and kept pulling me towards him. I tried to get him to stop, I told him I didn’t want him to do anything to me but he carried on with a really unsettling grin on his face. He raped me, and there was nothing I could have done to get him off me.
Fast forward a few months, I was in a really dark place. I had been self harming, drinking and skiving school. One teacher who I trusted with my life told me she was really concerned, and after a few days of her asking me about the self harm I somehow found the courage to tell her what had happened. She was amazing, she helped me tell the police, she was with me every step of the way and she has no idea how thankful I still am for the support she gave me.
The police came into school, I did statements, I did video interviews, I even had to draw the layout of his bedroom and where the screws had gone in the door. I had to re live every single tiny detail of what happened, and believe me, it was horrendous. One of the officers that came into school lead me into one of the offices and was telling me what was going to happen, and that I had to give a detailed description of everything that happened. At 15, to sit there in front of 3 grown adults and tell this story in that amount of detail was utterly soul destroying to say the least. I barely knew the right words to use as I was telling them.
There was very little communication between the police and myself after those interviews I did. I remember the ISVA I had was trying her best to be helpful, but I feel like she was very sceptical that it would get to court. The police hadn’t interviewed even half of the people that would have been able to confirm the things that happened outside that room- the drugs he gave us, the touching, the inappropriate comments. They didn’t even speak to the guys mum or step dad who would have been able to confirm we regularly went to his house.
After everything, I had a call from the ISVA 9 months later to tell me that the police had been in contact with her to say the CPS had decided there wasn’t enough evidence. That phone call came just after my dad had passed away from his terminal illness.
I still struggle with the frustrations to this day, that the police did a half assed job, that the CPS wouldn’t entertain it, that the monster is still walking the streets free to do whatever he likes. It felt like the police had just done the absolute bare minimum, and then discarded my case because they couldn’t be bothered to put in the leg work to get it to court.
Yes I made silly decisions when I was younger, but I was a child, I was impressionable and I was going through a lot. To this day there are a lot of things that I regret. But as a well educated, 25 year old mother of 2, I am able to look back and see that what he did to me was nothing to do with me as a person.
He wanted power and control over somebody, and he made sure he got it. I just hope that the police failure in my case hasn’t lead to another young girl being in the same position I was in……..