“Chances of getting a rape case to prosecution at lowest levels…”

So, I came across an article the other day and have been meaning to share some of my outrage and hurt over it:

“Exclusive: Chances of getting a rape case to prosecution at lowest levels since records began” 

“Everyone with an interest in the protection of women is encouraging rape victims to come forward and it seems that they are starting to.

Good news, that seems like it could be a step forward, so why haven’t the number of convictions or even prosecutions risen also?

It is therefore profoundly disappointing that we have not seen a surge in the number of decisions to prosecute. In fact, the proportion of rapes being sent for charges, prosecuted and convicted have been shrinking every year under this Government.

How is this progress? This is no better than almost 10 years ago when I reported rape. I hoped, stupidly perhaps, that things were getting better. It seems the right noises are being made, but ultimately too little is changing. 

the Safer London Foundation reported that gangs were switching from knifing their rivals in revenge to raping their girlfriends because criminal charges and a lengthy jail sentence are so much less likely to arise from a rape.

That is shocking. Horribly, sickeningly shocking. These men rape, because they know they can hurt their rivals with little chance of prosecution. The wrong message is being sent to these people. Yes, they should be afraid of prosecution if they knife someone- I hope it deters them, but similarly, they should be deterred from rape for the same reasons. Men should know that if they rape they are going to be detained, prosecuted and then removed from society. It’s like we are giving rapists a free pass.

To be a victim of rape is hell- I don’t quite know how else to describe it. Unless you have been raped, you cannot truly understand what it is to live through it, and then with it. I am confident I am on a journey to healing, yet equally confident that my rapes will be with me for the rest of my life. It is a life sentence.. and what do the rapists get? For many- most even, nothing.

I read a comment on a similar article to this and someone had written “it’s like a slap in the face to survivors of rape”. No, it isn’t, that doesn’t even come close to the pain and the disgust I feel right now. It makes me feel like we don’t matter, that I don’t matter.

So, what are our government doing to ensure rapists think twice before raping? What are they doing to show those victims they will do everything they can to find justice for them? Sweet F A from the looks of it.

It is all well and good to publish stats showing the rise in reporting of rapes, but that doesn’t get rapists off the streets. They are not doing enough. Putting a victim of rape through the hell of reporting and then not seeking justice for her is a crime in itself.

I have heard (read) women describe their experience of reporting as feeling raped all over again. I concur. I have done it, reported and re-lived my ordeal, yet nothing was done. Nothing.

Why encourage victims to come forward, what is the purpose?  It sure as hell isn’t to bring the rapist to justice.  It may make the numbers look good for the government, but that is all.

So UK Government, don’t bother encouraging victims to come forward if you aren’t going to do anything about it. Prosecute- find justice for these women (and men). They deserve it. We deserve it. I deserve it. 

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Today is shite. Well and truly shite.

Triggers and stress but mostly a sadness or a longing, or something that is weighing me down. I want to be at home at all times. No work, no socialising, no school run, nothing. I just want to spend every moment in my rocking chair, surrounded by my things- comforted, safe and loved.

I don’t want to be at work, it all seems so unimportant. Who cares if an order isn’t done on time? Really, in the grand scheme of things, what does it matter? I hate feeling this way.

 

I cannot help but be upset at recent abuse cases in the news, one in particular. Strangely, I find myself envious. Justice, I will never have.

Therapy Friday brought up so much, things improved over the weekend, but that stuff hasn’t gone away. My T often assures me things will fade, but right now it all feels too much. It’s like the reality is so bright, I have to shield my eyes every time I am forced to look at it.

I cannot face my journal, which is why I am “writing” here. Too many big things to explore and without my T for two weeks, I am way too afraid to write right now.

I feel raw. Heavy. Burdened.

 

The Longing for Justice

During the years of abuse, I reported my abuser to the Police more than once. He was known to the Police for his interest in young girls. I was not the first and I know I was not the last.

Despite this, the police were about as useless as a chocolate teapot, in fact their reluctance and even refusal to do anything just increased the already huge amount of guilt I was carrying.

I do not trust the Police, I do not trust our justice system. I do not believe I would be safe to report my abuser again. I do not not want to have to go through more disclosure, distressing video interviews and should it make it to court (yeah right) be treated as if I were the one on trial.

Yet I still long for justice. More so, now I am facing the true extent of what he did. I wish I could report him and be taken seriously, without being blamed in any way. I wish I could have my day in court to look him in the eyes while I out him for who he really is.

No punishment is suitable, nothing could take away the pain and horror of what he did to me, but if he could be made to pay in some way for his many sick crimes, it would be something at least?

And if a miracle happened and he actually went to prison, at least I would know no other girls or women could be hurt by him- a responsibility I continue to carry.

Do you ever get over the longing to bring your abuser/ rapist to justice?

Rape and (in)justice.

 

I find I’m barely reading the news lately and I feel better for it. I felt guilty at first, I don’t want to bury my head in the sand and pretend the pain and suffering does not exist, but I think I’m OK with protecting myself for now. My husband keeps telling me that it’s important to take care of yourself first.  On a plane, in the event of low cabin pressure, they always tell you to put your own mask, before helping others. And I think that’s fitting here, it’s better to get well first to enable me to help others in future.

However, I can’t miss news stories completely, I catch bits and pieces on the radio and people I know (particularly at work), talk about the news a lot. Lately, there’s been another famous actor in the news, accused (and now found not guilty) of sexual abuse / rape charges. I do not know the specifics because I have deliberately kept away from them. But it was talked about at work this week and I found it very difficult not to get drawn in.

Perhaps it’s just me, but I find these stories so personal. It’s not the not guilty verdict so much, it’s more the reactions of society after. The “those women should be outed and shamed and then put in prison” and then lots of victim blaming, women hating statements. I particularly hate the phrase “cry rape” that’s thrown around every time a rape case makes it into the media. You wouldn’t say “he cried mugging” or “he cried assault,” you just wouldn’t.

 

I try hard to detach, but I just cannot. I won’t get to see my abuser pay for what he did to me. He won’t be put away for all those years of abuse. Even if my case made it to court (which it wouldn’t) why would I bother, when my sexual history would be dragged into the court room to be used against me? And where I would be called a liar at every turn? Why would I put myself through a system where I would automatically be thought of as a the liar? Instead of proving “his” guilt, I would be proving I was the victim. What kind of system is that?

 

I really wish I could have seen my T yesterday, so I could have talked this (and other things) through with him. So I could tell him how much this hurts and what a blow it feels to me. He would nod in understanding and let me rant and rave. And it would be safe and controlled with him so I wouldn’t have to be careful with my words (like I am trying to be here, considering the high profile case).

I ache so much right now and this is yet another thing I have to contain.

Dream justice

 

Last night my dreams were of her-the one who is still enslaved.

It was her and me, we were together in solidarity.

We talked of him, of our similar scars and the hatred we carry within.

Together we planned to take him down, to see him brought to account for what he did.

The satisfaction I felt and the strength from her, was still with me when I woke

until morning approached, reality dawned and once again I was forced to face the truth,

that justice for me, for her and for them, exists only in our dreams.

 

My abuser and injustice.

I think this has been brewing for a while. I’ve been having a lot of violent nightmares and I can’t place them, I’m having body memories, but cannot relate them to a particular memory. Last week I was dealing with a lot of irrational fears, I was angry at the way authorities had treated me and paranoid about the involvement of similar authorities now. Though the irrational fears are calmer and paranoia now gone, I’ve been left angry and with some trust issues. I wonder if that is behind the nightmares? Or perhaps it is due to an anniversary last week of an incident I actually reported to the Police right away.

Either way, I am feeling really angry, there’s so much injustice, my own and all around me..

Trigger Warning.

I was not the first to be abused by my abuser.He was well known to the Police for various violent crimes, he was also well known to them for his unhealthy interest in young teen girls. He had even been arrested on several occasions for suspected “sexual contact” with underage girls. He was never punished and their lack of action didn’t just physically allow him to re offend, it also gave him the confidence to do so. He was as aware as I am now, that the Police would not prosecute.

The Police spoke to me on more than one occasion, they warned me to stay away from him, but mostly, they told me off for getting involved. Wasn’t he the predator, just like they said? Why was I treated like the criminal, while he walked free, yet AGAIN?

In the years I knew him, he was arrested numerous times for sexual offences against teen girls. The Police had to know he was guilty, yet with every arrest, he was at most, cautioned and then released. Even after a harrowing video interview, where I had to disclose the details of a rape I had just endured, I was patted on the shoulder, ensured he’d be warned and then I was sent on my way.

I just cannot understand it, how many times can one person be arrested for similar crimes, yet still get away with it?

And how many are there of us? How many have been his victims, before, during and after me? I have spent a lot of time agonising over those potential victims since and those that may still be in danger. I know I cannot carry that, I know I cannot change it, because nothing would be done anyway. Even if I reported now, my experience time and time again has proven that he will not be prosecuted. But right or wrong I do still carry that. I am haunted by the idea that he abused others after me. I know I cannot do anything to bring him to justice, but if there’s something I can do to raise awareness of abuse and to help other abuse survivors then I have to do it.

I know I am not the only one feeling like I got the life sentence, desperately trying to deal with the aftermath and work towards healing from the crime an abuser got away with.

I’m so angry with him and various authorities right now. I am angry that even good moments are fleeting because of the PTSD, an issue I proabably wouldn’t have had he been caught and punished right away. Instead, I was left with no defence, I had no way out, no escape from abuse that then continued for years. I had to endure rape and torture, I was physically and emotionally abused. I had to live for years with lack of choice and only drugs, alcohol and an alternative reality to keep me sane. I was utterly abandoned by the only people who could keep him away from me. He should have been in prison, not free to abuse me.

I am angry about the abuse for sure, but it is the impact on my life now that makes me sick. I want to hold on to what I felt on Monday, when I was so grounded, I was excited for Christmas and for my future. I still feel like I have so little choice, because if I could choose, I would choose to feel as I did on Monday, I would grab it with both hands and never, ever let go. Yet PTSD and memories of abuse seem to rule my life, I do not get to choose when it strikes, only how I handle it. Because of failing of others, my life is affected now, I am tormented now, I am living with it now.

They (he and them) are the reason I have nightmares and flashbacks, they are the reason I lived the horrors of abuse. I blame them for difficulty to be close to others, my fear of the dark and of being alone. It is their fault it took me years to enjoy sex, that still I cry in my husband’s arms so often after. Their fault that I feel dirty and ashamed, that I feel worthless and unlovable and their fault that I struggle to find my Faith, that I feel anything but fear and anger towards God.

I blame them for my inability to feel anything for years. I blame them for my jumpiness at my own children’s touch. I blame them for my controlling nature and my need to always blame myself.

They crushed my self esteem, I lost my self worth, I was a shell for so very long. I blame them for my inability to ask for help even now. I blame them for my shame that I feel this way. I called Samaritans tonight (a UK helpline, who are fantastic btw) because I was feeling desperate yet too ashamed to call anyone I know and right now, I blame them for that too. Because I shouldn’t be here feeling this, I shouldn’t be ashamed of what I did not do, I should not be tormented by horrific memories, nor carrying responsibility for crimes I did not and would never commit. Not only did he abuse me, but they failed me spectacularly and right or wrong, I blame them and him for all of it right now.

I hate him and I hate them. Where is my justice?

Not guilty = innocent?

So today a famous actor was found not guilty for a string of charges against a young girl, including rape. I don’t want to speculate as to his guilt, I do not want to argue for and against him. It’s not for me to say. It has however, prompted me to put down a few of my thoughts about some of the ways society views victims of sexual crimes.

I haven’t really followed the case, I found the coverage, in particular the details, quite upsetting. However, I did read up on the verdict and I, stupidly perhaps, read some of the comments left. While it came as no surprise, they really bothered me. There were several things, but the one I want to talk about is that it seems to be that a lot of people believe “not guilty” equals innocent.

Very few rape/ sexual assault cases make it to court, the conviction rate for those that do, is low. This is not because the accuser is necessarily lying, I’d go as far as to say that is rare. The rate is so low because it’s hard to convict “sexual” crimes, it’s usually  a case of one word against another and often there is very little evidence. How do you find someone guilty based on two versions of a story, with no evidence, or at least very little evidence? If there is any reasonable doubt, the jurors have to return a “not guilty” verdict. This does not mean that the accused is definitely innocent. Do people really believe that not guilty = innocent? No, no NO. Perhaps in the case today not guilty does equal innocent, in fact I really hope so, because the idea of another guilty man walking free sickens me. In general though, not guilty does not necessarily mean innocent, in rape cases particularly. To bring these cases to court and find the accused guilty beyond all reasonable doubt is very difficult. I don’t know how we can change that, I don’t know what the answer is, I don’t even know that there is one. If it cannot be proven, if it cannot be shown without reasonable doubt, then how can there be more convictions?

Yet, I think it’s important we all realise that most victims reporting rape/ sexual assault/ abuse are not lying, they aren’t “devious madams” they are not “attention seekers” (some of the things I’ve read this evening). Who would do that? Who would go through all of that if it wasn’t true? Sure, it happens, some people are that devious, some are that broken, but not the majority, not in any way what so ever. I know I am not alone in thinking that way, but sadly, I do not think many stand with me either, not enough for sure.

I see and hear the denial and victim blaming in people around me, nice people, decent people, intelligent people. It saddens me, it upsets me as it affects me so personally too. Do you know what it’s like not to be believed? To be subjected to violent degrading acts, to be violated in that way, to go through horrendous pain and utter humiliation?  And then to have the resulting horrible shame and guilt magnified by people questioning the validity of your story. Do you know how that feels?

Society seems to not believe victims of sexual crimes as a default. If we had been burgled you’d believe us, if we had been mugged, you wouldn’t question us. So why question us when we say we have been raped, why the  automatic disbelief? Why do we have to justify our pain, why do we have to push through the denial of society to be heard, to then be shouted down and called liars?

Alright I’m done, it’s off my chest. Its late and I didn’t want to go to bed heavy hearted. I needed that out the way because I’ve had a positive evening, talked out some issues, had a big realisation (I think) during said talk and been reminded of all the progress so far. I want to hold on to all that as I go to sleep tonight, not this stuff.