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Feminism: Sex & gender discussions

I did report but am learning why people don't...

39 replies

Silverthorns · 13/03/2012 14:27

I recently reported a rape that happened to me a few years ago now. It took me a long time to get my head around what happened, to call it what it is, and to actually report it.

The first lot of police I saw were wonderful, but they had to pass my case on to the area where it happened.

Apparently, they have made contact with the rapist but won't be able to interview him for a few weeks due to where he lives/practicalities of getting to him.

Meanwhile, he has 4 weeks warning to get his story straight and destroy any evidence that might have been on his hard drive. And it makes me feel like it's not really that serious and they might get round to having a chat with him at some point. It also makes me feel like they don't believe me. Hmm

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Silverthorns · 13/03/2012 14:38

I was initially told that they would turn up to arrest him, seize his PC, search his house...

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CogitoErgoSometimes · 13/03/2012 15:03

They are taking you seriously otherwise they would be doing nothing at all. However, crimes are more difficult to investigate to a successful conclusion the more time goes by so there isn't the same sense of urgency as if it had happened yesterday. He's not had a few weeks to get his story straight and delete files on PC's, he's had several years. Good luck

sunshineandbooks · 13/03/2012 15:34

I'm really sorry you were raped and that you feel let down about it now. Your experience is not at all uncommon, and sadly very frequent for those reporting some time after the crime. Regardless of the outcome, I hope you've had some sort of closure (sorry for the cliché) from simply naming your rape for what it is and for deciding to report it.

Silverthorns · 13/03/2012 16:11

Thanks. I've spoken to Rape Crisis again this afternoon, been referred back to my local police who said that this isn't good at all and to raise it with someone higher in the force.

I did always know that it was unlikely he'd be brought to justice in any meaningful way, but like you say, I do feel slightly better for having reported it and I guess that will have to do.

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KRITIQ · 13/03/2012 16:35

Perhaps I've misunderstood Cogito, but I disagree with the idea that the fact that they are doing something in itself is an indication that they are taking the matter seriously. The fact that the local police contact are concerned by the approach taken elsewhere in the police shows that even they don't think your complaint was handled in the way it should have been.

Also, I completely understand your concern that if the accused has been "tipped off" that the police want to talk to him and what it's about, yes he would have the opportunity to get rid of electronic and other evidence, potentially speak with people who could serve as alibis for him and make sure his story is "straight." The fact that the police have told him what they want to interview him about, but are waiting until it's convenient for him to do so is worrying. It would have been different if they'd not explained what it was about, but that they just wanted to talk with him at a convenient time.

Yes, he would have had the years to destroy evidence, get people to vouch for him and get his story straight. BUT, and it's a big BUT, it's quite likely that the man doesn't think he's done anything wrong, hasn't seen any need for getting rid of "evidence," hasn't found any reason to ask mates to vouch for him. But now, if he's been tipped off that the cops are on to something and what that is, he'll know he could be in hot water if he doesn't do something, iyswim.

Back to you though Silverthorns, if this felt like the right thing for you to do, then it definitely was the right thing for you to do, and it's good you've got support from Rape Crisis. Take good care in all this.

Silverthorns · 13/03/2012 16:48

KRITIQ - thank you, you have just explained it all far better than I was managing to!

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AGunInMyPetticoat · 13/03/2012 16:49

Local police forces can make such a difference, can't they?

One of the main reasons why I never reported the guy who raped me was our local force. They were led by one officer who happened to be good friends with my rapist's father. (The other reason was that his father also happened to employ my own dad - and that there were barely any other jobs around in that village.)

It's good to hear that the police where you live at least seem to agree that this sounds a bit dodgy. OP, well done for reporting him - even after several years. Even if it doesn't lead to conviction in the end. I still think you've done the right thing!

AThingInYourLife · 13/03/2012 17:08

Hang on - surely they haven't told him why they need to speak to him?

That would be brain-meltingly stupid.

Unless the intention was to tip him off?

Why get in touch with him before they could get to him and question him?

Surely it's not normal to give someone 4 weeks notice that you plan to question them about a serious crime?

Silverthorns · 14/03/2012 10:28

AGunInMyPetticoat Christ, that's terrible. Sad Do you still have to see this person?

AThingInYourLife - I'm honestly not sure what they told him, but he said that they had "made contact with him." I really don't understand why they've done what they've done - it's totally at odds with what the (lovely) local policeman told me would happen. Sad

I have sent an email to the control room which I think means it goes above the guy's head? Am waiting for a response...

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SardineQueen · 14/03/2012 17:37

I also don't understand why they have given him 4 weeks notice that they are going to be talking to him. I don't understand it at all. He will have a chance to think about what he is going to say, and practice it and so on as well as get rid of stuff.

I just can't believe they did that.

Silverthorns · 14/03/2012 18:12

Me neither. I haven't heard back yet - sent the email yesterday. Am dying to know what on earth they are playing at.

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SardineQueen · 14/03/2012 19:05

What a load of old crap this is silverthorns.
Let us know what they say.
I am sending evil hate vibes through the air in the direction of whoever it was who thought this was the right way to go about things.

sashh · 15/03/2012 05:49

Do you know if they have contacted him? They may not get there for a few weeks but that doesn't mean they have told him.

Sorry just reread your thread - and they have 'made contact' but the rest of what I have written still applies, AND they may be watching him to see if he does attempt to destry evidence.

A delay means they can get a magistrate's warrent to search the entire premisis, take away any digital media etc etc.

If they do not go in witha warant then I'm not sure they are allowed to sieze as much or do a thorough search.

If they are going to do an arrest followed by search and sift then they will need 4 - 6 personell.

Silverthorns · 15/03/2012 09:33

Surely though, a delay means that if he is still using the same computer (that he used to send me a gloating email admitting what he did) he has time to delete/wipe his hard drive?

It just makes absolutely no sense to me. Still no reply, I'm going to give it another day and then chase it up. Really could do without the hassle to be honest, it took a lot to get to this stage and I now it looks like I might end up having to make a complaint against the police which takes yet more energy and time that I don't want to have to spend addressing all this crap. But I also feel like I started this and got this far so I can't really just let this slide.

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SardineQueen · 15/03/2012 09:53

I hope you are right sashh but it seems rather a generous interpretation to me.

I find it pretty unlikely that a report of a rape some years ago has triggered surveillance etc

Have you kept the email?

It must be infuriating for you - to get yourself to a position where you make such a big step as reporting and you get a load of rubbish and no answer to your email.

i am really angry on your behalf.

Silverthorns · 15/03/2012 10:02

Thanks Sardine.

The weird thing about the email is that I read it on my phone whilst we were on a day out, and (fortunately) showed it to DH as well. It really put me on a downer for about a week before I pulled my head out and thought, WTAF?! But for some reason, when I looked for the email again on my PC it was gone. I'm pretty sure I didn't delete it unless by accident (newish phone) as I never delete anything and certainly not anything in reference to this case. I then got Hotmail to restore all my deleted items, which it did - but oddly they stop on the day that I got the email, big gap and then some from the end of last year. So not quite sure what's happened there.

But the policewoman I spoke to the other day who gave me the address to email to take this further said that it won't matter as it will be traceable?

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MerlinScot · 15/03/2012 10:04

Silverthorns, I'm curious to know what police I'm playing at with you too. Not posting my story again, but most of the rape cases get "ruined" by the police itself. Keep us updated. I'm angrier and angrier seeing how raped women are treated by the justice system.


SerialKipper · 15/03/2012 10:20

Silverthorns if it comes to it, there may be something that forensic people can find on your computer , or the police may be able to get material out of Hotmail with an appropriate warrant.

If the police aren't showing much interest, there are private computer forensics experts much used in commercial legal work. You'd have to get someone properly certificated so that their work can be used in court, and I don't know how much it would cost. (But don't get a non-certified techie to poke around for the email in case it damages the forensic evidence.)

But of course that's just Plan B. Good luck for Plan A.

Silverthorns · 16/03/2012 14:51

Jesus. This is all a lot of hard work.

Had no reply to my email so I called up the local centre as advised. Woman I spoke to today said it was weird that I'd been told to send an email. She called the station dealing with the case and called me to tell me that the original guy who sent the email will be calling me in the next few days.

So, even though I went over his head I now have to speak to him and see what he says. Is there not supposed to be some sort of support or liaison officer or anything so that I don't have to deal with this? It's really stressing me out and I'm struggling to concentrate on my work (or anything else) with all this crap going on. Sad

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SardineQueen · 16/03/2012 17:13

I don't understand why they aren't calling you to explain what they are doing and why. This is awful. I really feel for you.

Silverthorns · 19/03/2012 09:52

...And it's all come back full circle and I've got an email from the original policeman who sent the email wanting to know why I didn't contact him with my queries. (He sounds a bit put out.) So I guess I need to talk to him about it later today.

I've got my first session of rape counselling today, am hoping that might help a bit.

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AnyFucker · 19/03/2012 10:00

Good luck, silver x

Silverthorns · 19/03/2012 10:05

thank you. Smile

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WilsonFrickett · 19/03/2012 10:16

Good luck for your counselling Silver. I think it's absolutely shocking that you're the one having to do the chasing and running around on this, but I hope that at least the act of reporting, naming and getting support will help you to move forward. We're all right here with you.

WilsonFrickett · 19/03/2012 10:16

Oh - and we believe you.

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