Content Warning: Please be aware that some of the stories on these pages contain details and descriptions of abuse which you might find disturbing or upsetting.

I have a voice, and finally I want to use it after being quiet for so long...

I guess I should probably start by introducing myself and giving a bit of background before I launch into the main bit.

My name is Jane. I’m now 25 years old and I am currently in my second year of my LLB law degree. I live in Yorkshire but was born and brought up in a different part of the country.

Growing up I had a good life, we never had to worry about money, my parents were together, I was an only child and I was happy. At the age of 12, I started struggling with my mental health although looking back I have struggled with anxiety since I was little. When I was 12 I started self-harming after my dad had an affair and although my parents stayed together it was hard on me.

My mum and dad both worked long hours and from a really young age I learnt to look after myself, get my own dinner, tidy up and put myself to bed but it never really bothered me. I continued to self-harm all through my time at school, for sixth form my parents allowed me to go to boarding school, during that time my self harming got a lot worse and so did my suicidal thoughts. By the time I came to do my A levels at the end of my second year of sixth form I was a mess. I took an overdose just before my exams and was no longer able to board due to them deciding it wasn’t safe. So I had to get 2 trains and a bus to school each day which was exhausting but I wasn’t going to give up.

I left school with awful A levels and no idea what I would do. My mental health was at an all-time low and I felt so alone.

This is when I met him. It was just after I started a college course to try and get some qualifications to get into uni. I was also working at a care home. I am the sort of person that when I'm struggling I throw myself into work and education in an attempt to hide from the world. So to everyone around me, I looked fine but I wasn’t.

I was online one day and started talking to this guy. People online were kinder than people in real life and he seemed nice. He told me he was looking for a young girl to look after and teach. I didn’t quite understand what he meant and asked him if he was a teacher, he said he wasn’t but he was very good at teaching other things, I was still confused but didn’t push the point, I just thought he was trying to be funny. He also told me he was 38, at that time I was only 18 so felt flattered that someone who was 20 years older than me wanted to know me. So we started talking.

It went from talking once a day for maybe 10 minutes to talking for hours and texting pretty much all day and night. He seemed like a really kind guy, he said he wanted to keep me safe and I had to keep him safe, he said I shouldn’t tell anyone about him to keep him safe. He would call me whilst I took my medication to check I had taken it and would take an interest in what I had done that day. This continued for 4 months, he was lovely and soon became my best friend, he mentioned a few times about meeting up but I didn’t have a car and he couldn’t drive so it just never happened. He also mentioned sex and how beautiful I was and how much I turned him on but my self-esteem was so bad that I always laughed it off and thought no man would want me.

After a few months, he asked me to be his girlfriend. So after 4 months, I got a car for my 19th birthday. This is when he started to get a little weird, he started saying I needed to come to see him and keep him safe. He started wanting to know where I was going and what I was doing, what I was eating, who I was texting, but I just thought he was caring for me. He lived in London so it was an hour drive to get to his. The first time I went to see him he was lovely, showed me his house, brought me dinner, played on his Wii and just had a nice time. He kissed me the first time we met, id never kissed anyone before and didn’t know what to do, he said to relax and he’d teach me, I remember his hands touching me and not knowing what the hell to do. That first time my parents found out I wasn’t at my friends and so I had to rush home before they came to find me but he said I had to come again. He called me on my way home so I wasn’t alone.

We carried on talking and he became increasingly concerned about everything I was doing, he would call me until I answered just to find out where I was. I agreed to go back to his again, I got to his and remember him being really odd. He took me to his room and I knew I didn’t want to have sex. I sat on his bed and told him I wasn’t ready to have sex, he just looked at me and said nothing, then he put his hands around my neck and pushed me onto the bed. He must have weighed 50lbs more than me and once he was on top of me I couldn’t move. He took off my leggings and raped me, I tried so hard to fight it, I scratched him but once I did that he moved his hands from around my neck to my wrists to stop me. After he raped me he looked and me, kissed me and called me his good girl. After this I was so scared to leave or not talk to him, he had said if I told anyone or didn’t come back he would come and kill me or find another girl, I thought at least if I was with him then he wasn’t hurting someone else.

I knew it wasn’t right but I told myself I was being stupid and of course, this is what happened in all relationships.

After the first time, it happened more and more, I was just too scared to get away from him. He also started to tell me how he wish he had met me when I was younger so he could have had sex with a teenager, he use to tell me about how he thinks about raping children and how he wanted to get me pregnant to rape our baby, fortunately, I was able to get on birth control so that wouldn’t happen.

In hindsight, I know how stupid it looks just to not go and see him or to just end it with him but at the time it felt so scary and the thought of leaving him just wasn’t an option. It was around this time that I found out he actually had a wife who he had married whilst he had been with me, I was crushed but at the same time, it just reaffirmed that I wasn’t good enough and everything I believed about myself. This continued until I was 20.

In January 2016 I was able to get away, I was offered a place at a residential programme for women with mental health issues. I jumped at the opportunity to sort myself out and get away from him. We weren’t allowed phones which was such a relief. I remember my first weekend pass I got my phone and he had texted over 200 times in a month. I realised what he had done was wrong and that I never wanted to go back to that so I just blocked his number and never spoke to him again. I also chose to bury the memories from that time, no one would ever know how stupid I was and what had happened.

It wasn’t until 2019 when I was so fed up with feeling so rubbish about myself that I told someone, I had started at a bible college in Bradford and just decided I needed to tell someone, that day I asked one of the staff members if I could talk to her.

I sat in her office and just told her everything, I felt no emotion, I didn’t cry or scream, I just quite simply told her what had happened, I couldn’t allow myself to be emotional because then it would make everything feel more real, I had spent so long detaching myself from it that it didn’t really feel like it had happened to me. I knew if I started crying I wouldn’t stop. We spoke and I agreed to report it to the police, it was late on Friday night and I was scared, we called the police and I told them.

West Yorkshire police were brilliant. I spoke to the police officer that night, the following day I got a call from another police officer checking that I was alright and explaining that the safeguarding team would contact me. A few days later I got a call from one of the police officers from the safeguarding team, she introduced herself and said she would like to do a video statement. The police video statement was hard, I always say now that it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done, you have to go through every little detail that you’ve tried to block out.

They told me afterwards that they would have to send everything to the Met police for them to investigate since it happened down in London but she said she hoped it would be done quickly since he had a child and there were no concerns for his child. I am so thankful for that officer at WYP. She made me feel listened to and understood. The Met police finally contacted me and would call me every month to give me an update, not that there were many updates because there isn’t much to investigate when it comes to historic rape.

They finally questioned him and decided that there was insufficient evidence to charge him. I always knew deep down that he wouldn’t be charged, there was never any evidence because it had taken me so long to talk. The day the police called me and told me they weren’t proceeding any further I was at college and cried for hours, I thought I’d never stop but I did eventually.

The one thing I do wish is that he could see that whatever he did to try and make me feel weak didn’t work and I am stronger than ever now. After this I decided I wanted to study law, I wanted to understand why the police make these decisions and what the law says, I want to make a difference someway. So I started my law degree, I finished my first year with an average of 73 and 2 prizes and am now nearly halfway through my second year. I just finished studying sexual offences and am now even more determined than ever to see a change.

I have a voice and I finally want to use it after being so quiet for so long.

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