****Trigger warning – sexual abuse, paedophilia and grooming
I’m sharing something different today. It’s a guest post from a fellow blogger and it’s a tough read. She isn’t a blogger I know personally, in fact she wanted to work with bloggers she doesn’t know, so she can keep her anonymity. I’m so sad that this story needs to be shared, but I really admire her bravery in sharing it. I hope that by featuring it on my blog, I can go some way to helping raise awareness of a loophole in the law which protects abusers. If you would like to raise awareness too, I would be very grateful if you could share the post. Thank you.
I’ve wanted to write this for so long and, now I’ve come to do it, I don’t know where to start. I guess the beginning is as good a place as any.
My reason for writing this isn’t for sympathy or to talk about what happened to me. It’s to raise awareness of a loophole in the law that is still protecting paedophiles today, so I’ll keep what happened brief. My story began in 2002 and I was 14. He was 32. We were in a band together, but I didn’t know who he was to start with.
He started texting out of the blue. Friendly chit chat at first, then flirty. He started to top up my phone for me, so I could talk to him more. We soon started chatting in person. He’d give me lifts home and hold my hand or stroke my back, when he knew no one was looking. He got inside my head, and when I turned 15 and he was 33, inside my knickers. I was completely under his spell.
We were in a ‘relationship’ for several years before I finally realised how emotionally abusive he was. A year after I left him, he invited me round to his house. I was in a low place, so I went and had a few drinks with him, then stayed over. That was the night I woke up to him having sex with me while I was sleeping. I said stop. He didn’t. For a long time I pushed it to the back of my mind, trying to convince myself it was a misunderstanding. I can now see it for what it was. He raped me.
I never saw him again after that night, although I still have nightmares about it.
I moved on, graduated, fell in love, got married and had some babies. The more time passed though, the more I couldn’t bear that I was keeping quiet about what he did. What if he did it to someone else? Wouldn’t I want someone to speak up if it meant protecting other girls like my daughter?
I plucked up my courage and called him. I recorded him admit to grooming me and having sex with me when I was 15. Then I took the recording to the police. I did a video interview, where I had to tell them everything in painful detail and was reassured that I had a strong case. They did tell me that the rape allegation was unlikely to go anywhere as there was no evidence, but that the sex with a minor allegation carried a lot of evidence with it and there was a good chance of a conviction.
The case dragged on for months. My mental health spiralled and I struggled. I mean really struggled, to the point I needed anti-anxiety medication and and anti-depressants just to get through the day without wanting to hide away and kill myself. Speaking out about it made the past and the present blurry. I’d get lost in the past and struggled to focus on things in my present. I felt like Alice falling down the rabbit hole, never knowing when or how it would end.
After seven long months, I was told the police had decided that there would be no further action on my case. They weren’t even going to present it to the CPS. I felt hurt, angry and confused. He’d admitted it on tape, how could they not have enough to take it further?!
Doctors and school records supported my statement, as did witnesses. I’d put myself through all of this for nothing. I was told the reason that it couldn’t be taken any further was because, before the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (which came in mere months after I turned 16), there was a time limit imposed on 14 and 15 year olds, that says they have a one year time limit to report the offence of sex with a minor or charges can’t be brought.
I felt numb. I still do. How was that loophole even allowed to exist and how is it still protecting paedophiles who committed historic sex offences today?
In the time of #metoo people are being encouraged to step forward and hold their abusers accountable for their actions, yet no one seems aware of the law that silences a huge group of victims. I know the law can’t be applied retrospectively, however I can’t understand why they still insist on imposing the time limit, especially in cases where it is so clear that a crime was committed.
I hope by sharing my story I can raise awareness of this abhorrent law and help other victims of historic abuse go into reporting it with the full facts and their eyes open.
I guess you’re wondering if I regret reporting him. The answer is no. I’m glad I did it. I wish I’d known the facts from the start and been able to mentally prepare for the outcome, however I am proud that I am no longer letting him silence me. I’m proud that I shared my truth. I’m proud that my truth may help one of his other victims (if there are any) one day to get the justice that they deserve.
Me? I’ll never get the justice that I need and I’m working on finding my peace with that. But for now, I know I’ve done all I can to stop others being abused by him again and I’m starting to realise I’m no longer his victim. I’m a survivor.
If you feel this loophole in the law is wrong, you can sign a petition against it here https://www.change.org/p/david-gauke-remove-the-loophole-in-the-law-silencing-victims-of-historic-childhood-sexual-abuse