How I was raped – and pressured into dropping the charges

Sep 2, 2014 by

The police told me I didn’t have a chance of a conviction, and my university, Oxford, largely ignored my requests for help. Why does our criminal justice system penalise women for drinking rather than their rapists?

Former judge Mary Jane Mowat’s recent comments about rape convictions are outrageous. (“Rape conviction statistics will not improve until women stop getting so drunk,” she said this week.) To me, however, they are also personal.

In the first term of my second year at Oxford, I was raped while passed out in my bed. Yes, my unconsciousness was due to alcohol.

Desperate to learn how to play poker, I had invited some friends over to teach me, one of whom brought two companions. Poker rapidly descended into a drinking game and I, being a fatal combination of bad at poker and intolerant of alcohol, passed out. I have since learned that I was put to bed, but I don’t remember anything. Then a guy I didn’t know had sex with me in my sleep.

I have one very clear memory that still haunts me two years later. I remember waking up during the night and seeing him on top of me, my trousers around my ankles and my shirt still on. I pulled away and heard him mutter “Oh no, it fell out” to himself, at which point I blacked out again. I assume he continued to rape me.

I told very few people at the time, but a friend came with me to the police station. The receptionist, on learning I was reporting a sex offence, insisted on me giving details in front of everybody in the waiting room before taking me somewhere private. Two officers then came to my house, where I was questioned further. One described rape as “just something that happens”, especially at university. The only advice I received was to drink less in future.

Once I explained what had happened and provided forensics, the policemen contacted a woman whom I was told dealt with rape allegations around Oxfordshire. She came into the kitchen, where I had been with the two policemen and my friend, and sent him from the room insisting the conversation be private – even as I maintained I needed him for moral support and didn’t mind him being there.

via How I was raped – and pressured into dropping the charges | Life and style | The Guardian.

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