I was raised by my grandparents and went into care in my teens. I was as far removed from the typical ‘kid in care’ as could be. None of us are ‘typical’, but you know what I mean. I was top of my class at school, looking into doing an anthropology degree.
I was in a children’s home in Yorkshire 20 years ago when it first happened. I wasn’t believed. I wasn’t coerced to have sex, I was forced. Forcefully. I was pulled into a car, and raped. And the police didn’t believe me…..
The year after that happened, I was drugged and hurt and raped by a group of men, and the detective man in the video, which they still have, even said on the tape that he didn’t believe me and I was a prostitute.
Then in 2018, after all those years, the police came to me. They apologised. And they said my rapist had done it again, raped someone else, and so now they believed me. They came to tell me they’d had a DNA result on that man who dragged me into that car and raped me. I was only a child, just 15 years old and at school.
And they said they wanted me to proceed with this case now. I told them I had no faith in them or the cps after they let me down before, but they persuaded me to go and watch the video interview I had done when I was just 15. It was extremely emotional and distressing. Extremely.
But in spite of my fear, my terror, and my mistrust, I said I’d try to help them and they promised that if I helped them with this first case they would then reopen the gang rape I had reported to them afterwards…… so I helped them. They advised me an arrest of my rapist would be made within a couple of weeks.
I heard nothing for over two months. Not one word. Not one phone call. So I contacted them and I was told the investigation was ongoing and I was so relieved, because I thought they’d changed their mind. That they didn’t believe me again. This case was the only thing I could think about every single day. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
I began to let my guard down, and began to trust DC G, and when she said the DNA definitely belonged to my rapist, I was so grateful. I couldn’t believe the police were fighting for me and getting me some justice at last, and how life changing that would be for me. I gradually began to hope. I began to open up more, and even discussed how I was feeling.
I was reassured I’d meet the CPS person prosecuting the case and they’d prepare me for court long before I had to give evidence and explain what would happen, but most of the communication was being done by text. I only met DC G three times in total, but I was beginning to feel supported and reassured and she said she would be there in court with me at the trial, that I wouldn’t be alone. Then I received a text to say the trial date was set, because my rapist had pleaded not guilty and it was from then on that any support or reassurance stopped, disappeared altogether.
I was terrified. So I’m not going to be prepared for anything after all is what I thought. I messaged my friend to say how transparent it is that they build a trust and then once they have all the info, everything you have to give, they drop you! We laughed……. but I was scared. Just the thought of having to stand in a room of strangers and discuss things I can’t even say out loud. The thought of having to show that vulnerability when I never show vulnerability. I block it all out.
And then out of the blue I get a call from DC G. I was at work. Im told I have to do an ID Parade, a picture on a screen from 20 years ago. Standing there, holding the phone in my hand, I panicked. How can this be? This is the first time an ID Parade had been mentioned, and not even face to face but while I’m in my office surrounded by all my colleagues!
Without the slightest thought of what that would do to me, what effect it might have on me after all these years, knowing the last time I saw him was when he was raping me as a child. They have his DNA I thought. I can’t do this! It makes no sense! And I had the worst panic attack I have ever had in my life. I truly thought I was going to die. My whole workplace saw me have this attack and I was sent home from work. Me, the private person who trusts no one and tells no one anything.
I told them I can’t do an ID Parade, I just can’t, and their whole attitude totally changed from then on. It was as though they didn’t believe me any more, and I make no exaggeration when I say I felt a physical pain, like a stab in the heart, and I just completely and utterly broke down. Even writing this I’m fraught. I’m drained. Because of the police, I have nothing left to give. I’ll never trust the police again as long as I live. I should have trusted my instincts and it’s my own fault, but they play people so well.
So I’ve been a victim of this horrific crime and now I’m feeling like a chewed up, spat out victim of the police. I thought I was strong and smart, but I’m feeling used and dumb. Again, the police did that. Essentially they are taking away from me everything I thought I was and more. It is disgusting.
They let me down 20 years ago, and they’ve done it all over again now. Except this time I have to go to court feeling they are against me. I feel alone and isolated again. Judged. Dismissed. Just like 20 years ago.
I am the VICTIM. I deserve JUSTICE. And Respect and Understanding from the police. I do not deserve to be made to feel like some needy and unhinged woman.
You do not abuse the trust of a person who has had this happen in their past. You do not bully or coerce and much as it seems they want me to, no doubt to manipulate me, I will NOT let go of my chance of life changing justice. But they are appalling. Their conduct and manner and behaviour is appalling. They ought to be ashamed.
When I said I couldn’t go through an ID Parade, that I couldn’t cope do you know what the DS said to me….. that he deals with people who have had the most horrific things done to them. So what happened to me WASN’T horrific?
DC G is retiring. All I can say is I hope she’s retiring soon and that there is a new generation of police who are more understanding and sensitive so the next generation of victims aren’t let down time and time again like my generation were. And are still being.
I’m exhausted with the police. I’ll never deal with the police again as long as I live.
But I made the streets a safer place when ‘he’ was convicted and sent to prison for the next 13 years.
And I’ve never heard from the police since. Not one single word. Bastards! I’m sorry, I don’t know where that came from. It’s strange, knowing how the Cumbria detectives are dealing with Ellie’s case. I can’t explain the rage.
In 2018 the police were so bad to me, and this is them actually believing me and having the evidence. And that’s me at 35, working in a job that requires communication skills, but they broke me when they believed me. I’m so sorry. I hate this feeling coming back. I have PTSD from the police. And panic attacks. I’m not even joking.
Why am I going back down this bloody rabbit hole? I’ve still got all the emails, and my relative who has an OBE and a really senior job set up a meeting with some high up person in the police and they arranged for me to see the head of MIT in Yorkshire where my abuse happened. I had a panic attack… snot dripping down my face, in the office, having an actual panic attack. They were horrific Maggie. Utterly horrific. I know abusers will always be there, but we need systems to protect and support and not to bully. I hate them, I really do.
I know I don’t need to prove myself anymore but… I always will now, because of the police. And I’m so sorry. It’s totally inappropriate to send you so much, just when no one believes you and then someone does…..
I’m a successful Director now, and never, until reading about the young girl in Cumbria and feeling this outrage, have I felt I needed to do anything. Because I thought it was all over for girls like me. But people listen to me now.
I want to help not just Ellie, but all the other girls I didn’t realise it was still happening to.
It was actually my Victim Impact statement that you shared for me on your Survivor Story last week, and that statement made even my own barrister cry. So I want to tell all barristers that the next time you’re defending a rapist, remember my statement. Weird though it is, I’ve kept it but I still can’t bring myself to read it. I’ve kept it almost like proof so no one can ever call me a liar again.
But even now, at the age of almost 36, it’s not something I talk about. I’m definitely not vulnerable now, but the police ‘handling’ of me was despicable. It was horrific and I will bear the scars of the police for the rest of my life…….