It’s time for us to speak out

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There are people behind recent rape statistics, and you must take their stories seriously, says FRANCESCA EBEL.

Let me tell you what I did today.

I dragged myself out of the warm, comfort of my bed, stumbled over to brunch, lit a cigarette and trawled through the newswires for the day. A message from a friend popped up in my inbox: “What do you think about this?”. Attached, was a link to last week’s Tab article ‘What to do if you are raped’.

Immediately my stomach tightened. I scrolled over the statistics we’ve been hearing about for weeks, that don’t get any less shocking.

“88% of these cases go unreported.”

My face flushed as I read the instructions…

“Tell a friend.”

The anxiety that grips you as you try and articulate how you feel, the constant feeling that you have exaggerated the details; that you somehow asked for it. Their expression as they consider whether what you’re saying is really true. Their accusation that you are attention-seeking and deluded.

“Go to a sexual health clinic the next day.”

She glances at me briefly. “Was this incident ever reported?”. I shake my head and her expression melts a little. “Have you considered counselling? Talking about it could really help you.”

… As I looked down at that screen I realised that I’m sick and tired of feeling powerless: I refuse to be silent anymore.


Trigger warning: This story is a personal account of rape and may affect readers. 

It happened three years ago. I was 17 and still going through that phase where drinking straight vodka and kissing strangers was my idea of having a good time. An hour later, my friends were helping me up the stairs and into bed where I drifted off into the oblivion.

I’m awoken by a crashing noise and a burst of white light. I stir and as I peel open my eyes am aware of something, someone, wrenching back the duvet and clambering on top of me. He’s frantically pressing his lips to mine but I don’t react. There’s a sensation as my legs are pulled apart and a sudden, tearing pain.

I feel like I’m dreaming but know instinctively that something is very wrong. In my drunken stupor, I try to shove him off.

“No.” I croak

“Stop it. Get off.”

I push him again but he ignores it, breathing heavily into my ear.


When its over he promises me he’ll come back. As I stumble outside to find him, I discover him having a “post-coital cigarette”, laughing with his friends.

I sit there staring at him for a long time.


I have made the decision to speak out today for several reasons.

I want to put a face to a story which has happened to so many people. Behind stories of rape and sexual harassment, there are people who have to carry on with their lives and come to terms with what happened, no matter how violent or ‘ordinary’ their experience. Rape can happen to anyone at anytime and I hope that my story will demonstrate that.

I want to shed some light on why it is so hard to report an incident and just why that 88% is so high. The reason I was triggered by last week’s article was because I truly wish I had acted then and there, but a total lack of awareness of what it means to be raped held me back. We can no longer allow this to happen.

By storing the incident up inside me, I’ve let it gnaw away – the questions, anxieties and fury have built up to a level which is almost intolerable.

And finally, I want to educate and initiate. Rape is not just confined to shady, impoverished corners of the globe – it exists here, right here in one of the world’s leading academic institutions. And it’s time it stopped.

Perhaps you’ve read this far and you’re wondering whether this is attention-seeking.

This worry has gripped me from the day it happened: how people will react to my story and whether their perception of me will change. I don’t want this incident to define me but I do want something constructive to come out of what was a very negative experience.

So yes. This article is attention seeking: I am seeking attention for what happened. I want more people to engage with the problem, to identify the issues and to realise that, even in this progressive environment, we have a serious problem. Speaking out about rape has its consequences, not only for oneself, but also for one’s family and friends. This was not an easy, off-the-cuff decision to make – its function is a hell of a lot more important than fishing for sympathy.

Earlier, I called up a very close friend who is also a victim. Her response to my decision was completely unexpected but ironically it was her words that shaped my decision to break the silence:

“People can see the faces of rape victims every day if they choose to. To be perfectly frank, their versions of rape are much more traumatic than yours. Legally speaking yours is not a clear cut rape – and nor is mine.” 

Her words echo exactly what I have felt for the past few years and reflect the reason why my rape went unreported. It has taken me three years to really see it clearly. For weeks after the event I was completely numb at the memory: I blamed myself – I’d been too drunk and I’d been kissing him earlier in the night – surely that must mean that it had been consensual? I laughed it off as my friends gossiped about what had happened, the fact that we’d “had sex” became a running joke within my friendship group. A few months on, the anger set in. I knew full well that I hadn’t wanted it to happen and I’d been utterly powerless to stop it.

But by that time, it was far too late. I didn’t have the courage to express what had really happened – I thought that in the unconscious, narrow-minded world that I lived in people would brand me an ‘attention-whore’ or ‘a liar’. How could I claim to have been raped when ‘rape’ conjures up such violent images? How could my experience possibly parallel brutalities such as gang-rapes in India? It was unthinkable. Mine was not a violent rape; my rapist’s motives were not hateful or destructive. Thankfully, my enjoyment of sex has not been affected and I’ve flourished in functional relationships. So how could I even begin to claim to identify with other victims’ experiences?

Recently I’ve begun to realise that this just isn’t an excuse and that there is a place for my story, right here in my own country. That night, I was forced to share a level of intimacy which I usually reserve for the people I trust and care for. I was violated against my will, by a friend who unfortunately remains on the periphery of my life. Rape is not black and white – it’s incredibly complex and can have devastating consequences whatever the situation. Right now, there is a critical and pressing need for us to broaden our understanding of the issues and educate future generations on the nature of consent.

Knowing what I know today, would I report my rapist? For reasons that I can’t express, even to myself, I wouldn’t. There is no excuse for what he did but his actions are the symptom of a much wider problem.

There are too many faceless victims. Unlike so many, I am blessed with a channel of free expression and I feel that I have a duty to use it, for the sake of those less fortunate than myself. It’s time for us to speak out and educate, break the stereotypes and act before more people get hurt.

If we say no, stop. And if we speak out, please for the love of God, take us seriously.

If you have been affected by rape or sexual assault, please contact the rape crisis centre on 0845 0896262. The University strongly advises that all incidents be reported to the Police. 

  • Moved

    Congratulations for speaking out

    • RM

      Name him
      Name him
      Name him
      Name the rapist now.

      Out him and make the public know him for his evil act.

      • GD

        Name and shame him.

      • KDM

        Someone should set up a website where rape victims can name the rapists and make sure that everyone knows who they are. Not as good as a prosecution but at least it would be instant and public, and would be some sort of punishment. Might even prevent future victims.

        • defamation

          Running into a wide range of legal issues there.

          • Name and shame list

            No, the only legal issue would be libel. And the legal level of proof is much lower for the victim. i.e. the victim would only need to pass the reasonable doubt test to be safe from libel.

  • This is

    The best piece I have ever read on this topic

    • relying up high so it’s read

      Actually , you know what? It isn’t cool and chill that you wouldn’t report your rapist to the police. Saying that you don’t want to report him to the police and attempt to get him to be punished by the law is tantamount to saying you want him to get off scot free.
      I don’t like it. That is what will definitely happen if you don’t go to the police. I understand that young girls might make mistakes and it’s easy to say “you should have” in hindsight, but the fact that even in hindsight you wouldn’t report your rape. I have a lack of active respect for that.

      even if it doesn’t result in a conviction it would be more likely to inhibit him committing rape in the future than the knowledge that his victim did nothing , and it would be likely to assist in the future if and when someone else reports him.

      • Missing the point

        “tantamount to saying you want him to get off scot free”. That’s a moronic thing to say. Next point.
        “even if it doesn’t result in a conviction” – can you imagine the fallout from a failed attempt at bringing him to justice? People thinking you’ve made it up or exaggerated, people thinking you’re just seeking attention. Maybe even a defamation lawsuit. Losing any friends you have who also know the guy in question. Having to go through the horrible, exact details of what happened in front of several police officers and, if it reaches that stage, a courtroom full of people, including him. Have you got a minute detail wrong from three years ago? Possibly – and he’ll pounce on that.
        Obviously in an ideal world we’d bring every rapist to justice, but over 80% of rapes go unreported. This isn’t because over 80% of victims are weak and irresponsible. This is because it’s hard.
        I find it extraordinary that you fail to see that this article is the next best thing in many ways – Francesca says that this guy is still, if not a friend, certainly not completely out of her life. There is no way that he hasn’t seen this article. He’s seen the comments about him. He’ll be terrified.

      • Anon

        It’s impossible to understand what goes on in a rape victim’s mind after their attack. You shouldn’t be telling people how they should act afterwards. I think you are forgetting that the victim is not the one in the wrong.

      • anon

        Hi there. As someone who had reported an assault to the police and the person was arrested I can say I was glad I did but I would never ever put they had to report it to the police as well. When you have been assaulted , harassed or rape your free will has been violated. What you do afterwards – you don’t have to do anything. It is your choice! Going to the police was one of the hardest things I’ve done. Once I was there it was OK. But building up the courage to go is horrendous. Especially as most of the time the person who attacked you was a friend or someone close.

        I got blamed by mutual friends and called a liar and a slut. I would never take back reporting him but it has been a hard year.

        it was to go to the police writing an article like this I could never imagine being brave enough to do.

        Good for you Fran. You’ve really helped me.

        Rape, assault and harassment needs a face.

        • EB

          Yes, rape needs a face. The rapist’s face. Who is he? Name and shame him!

      • X

        Actually, as a fellow victim who went through almost exactly the same incident as the writer, I can safely say that sometimes going to the police is not the best option. Like the writer, I didn’t realise that what had happened to me was rape until months afterwards. There was no forensic evidence, I had been seen flirting with the guy earlier that night and I come from a small town where rumours spread like wildfire and people will happily take sides against you.
        By the time I realised that I had been raped I just wanted to come to terms with what had happened and move on with my life. Dragging myself through an arduous and fruitless police case would have just been more traumatising. If you have been raped or sexually assaulted then it takes a huge amount of bravery to report it and it should be one of the first points of action, but it’s important to bear in mind that sometimes it’s not that simple and there are other (both practical and emotional) factors.

      • Emily

        I reported my rape to the police and they said I had no leg to stand on in court as he didn’t finish and questioned whether I wanted to “potentially ruin his life” because of what was “probably a silly drunken mistake”. So get off your high horse, the police aren’t all heroes.

      • HerbyAttitude

        How dare you tell rape survivors how to response to their rape. There is a perfectly good reason for not reporting – he won’t get convicted, the rape laws have been set up to ensure that most rapists walk free. Quite apart from which, it won’t inhibit him from raping again, it will prove to him that he can get away with it even if he’s reported. All it will do, is ensure that he is more careful about choosing his victims in future.

        • DerpyAttitude

          I hate to think up your solution, I assume you’re an expert on the judiciary who’s heavily involved in rape case proceedings to even begin to make the assertion that the rape laws have been set up in collusion with rapists rather than come from a natural process of the law in England that has been formally established by parliament in legislation.

          • HerbyAttitude

            “Natural process?” What do you mean by that? All laws have been set up by men in power with their own interests at heart, there’s nothing natural about it. Over the centuries they’ve been tweaked and amended and other groups have had input, which is why the definition of rape has changed as women have had slightly more input into the process of making laws and defining the crime. The people in power have defined rape and they have defined it according to their own attitudes and assumptions, which may or may not be the same attitudes and assumptions as the potential victims

  • Thanks.

    This is an excellent piece. Thank you Fran.

  • B

    You are incredibly brave for speaking out. This is one of the most moving articles I’ve read on here. You are spot on about everything. I am just glad you seem to have managed to get on with your life and trust people sexually since. That is probably the hardest thing.

  • Love this

    Love you

  • Wow

    Brave and inspiring writing. Well done. You should, if you feel you can, report that monster though.

  • Another one of

    the best things I’ve read on here

  • I know

    it’s not the same as actually bringing him to justice, and that it doesn’t even begin to compare to what you’ve been through, but I really hope this guy (as is quite likely if he is still, as you say, on the periphery of your life) reads this article and is absolutely shitting himself.

    • James

      Name him! Who is this guy? He should be exposed.

  • Tab Punching Bag

    “Legally speaking yours is not a clear cut rape”

    No. Legally speaking, your rape was a clear cut rape, pursuant to the Sexual Offences Act 2003. a) Your attacker intentionally performed the act, b) you did not consent and c) he could not reasonably have believed you to consent given that you said “no”, “stop it” and “get off”. Whether or not a jury would convict is another matter altogether, but according to the law that was a clear-cut rape.

    Congratulations for speaking out, and I’m really sorry for what happened to you.

    • Lizzie

      No shit Sherlock.

      • Tab Punching Bag

        Probably better to post something obvious than for somebody to read the words “Legally speaking yours is not a clear cut rape” in the article and then be less likely to report it.

        • You’re so dumb

          Because if you read it, the whole point is that she’s arguing against that claim, which her friend made. The whole fact that the claim (which you’ve ‘helpfully’ pointed out is false) was even made by her friend seems to be why she wrote the article.

          • Tab Punching Bag

            The author is right: neither rape nor its consequences are black and white. But there are situations where the specific legal question of whether there has been rape or not IS black and white, eg this case. We should be pointing out those situations where we see them, because the more people who know what the law is where they might otherwise be confused, the less people can claim situations to be in the legal grey zones when they are not. For instance, you may be surprised at the number of people who think that, legally speaking, the inebriation of the complainant makes a rape claim morally grey – it simply does not.

            Also, if you’re right and I only read one line of the article, then presumably anybody else could do that too, so they’d benefit just as much from the clarification. And more importantly, the legal element of the author’s friend’s quote wasn’t ever refuted.

        • Oh my god

          That is literally the point and the argument of the whole article.

          I bet you study Natural Sciences.

          • Nat Sci

            Hey, they’re probably suffering from the 12 hours of revision a day required to do a difficult subject.

          • Another NatSci

            We chose to infer the disagreement with her friend, I don’t see it explicitly stated anywhere. Seeing as how education is one of the best ways of making sure that future rapes are reported, I agree with TPB that it’s better to have things written in black and white.

            And what is your problem with Natural Sciences?!

    • www

      Well done, Captain Obvious.

    • Disagree

      I disagree, there is room for dispute in a legal sense. I’m absolutely not condoning what happened but a case could definitely be made for his reasonable belief in her consent, given that they were kissing earlier, that someone’s meaning from their words and body language can easily be misinterpreted.

      I’m not trying to defend the guy or offend anyone with this. I’m just saying that I think the author is correct when she suggests that legally speaking it’s not clean cut.

      • Tab Punching Bag

        We can only go on the facts here. A person saying no cannot be reasonably believed to be consenting to sex, whether they’ve met and kissed that night or been married for twelve years. Whilst there is room for dispute (there often is from those who have been charged with rape), if I were given those facts in a problem question, I would label it a clear cut case.

      • Emily

        No. No, no, no, no, no. By this logic, people who are raped in relationships and marriages are not cases of “clean cut” rape. This stinks of the “rape formula” which so many people believe – that rape is always violent and always happens when you’re walking home alone through a dark alley and is directly in line with the “girls should dress less provocatively to prevent rape” stigma. It doesn’t MATTER what you’ve done before with your rapist, if you’re saying no, you are SAYING NO.

        • Tab Punching Bag

          You’re completely right. The grey area exists only in terms of whether or not a jury believes what the complainant claims to have said – if the complainant says no, it is rape regardless of their history with the defendant or what the complainant was wearing. There is no low cut dress or prior sexual activity which can convert a ‘no’ into a ‘yes’ / a rape into consensual sex.

        • Anon

          There is a defence in law of reasonable belief that the complainer was consenting. However, this clearly does not apply in this case as the complainer said “No” and asked the offender to stop.

          Very brave article indeed!!!

          • HerbyAttitude

            “Reasonable belief in consent” is of course predicated on the idea that men are more reasonable than women and are better able to define rape than women are.

      • WTF?

        Prior body language does not indicate current consent. The word “No” at that precise moment indicates that consent is not in the equation. Furthermore, her current body language (trying to push him away) further emphasises her lack of consent.
        You have to be quite the fuckwit to think that “no” somehow means “yes”.

      • Law

        Actually previous sexual activity was once banned from being brought up as evidence in rape cases to stop people being relying on it – and now it’s only allowed in special circumstances.

    • trisul

      It would seem that civilized society is having a huge problem dealing with rape. What usually seems to happen is an unofficial trial of the victim to determine whether she is an absolute angel incorporate … if not, nothing is done.

      I’m sorry to say that the primitive society approach seems more effective with the brother, family or friends of the victim acting as judge, jury and executioner as privately as the deed was done. Unacceptable to us, fraught with danger of abuse, but then so is ignoring the victims, or even punishing them again and again, which seems to be our approach.

    • MRJ

      Exactly: this was rape, and there is no defence. It doesn’t matter whether Francesca was drunk. Although foolish to put herself at risk, legally this made her incapable of consent. The fact that she resisted just cements the case.

      It’s time to report this animal and stop him from doing it to someone else.

  • Thank you francesca

    Article really got to me as a similar thing happened to me recently and I told a close friend (mutual friend of the guy) but he basically told me I was blowing everything out of proportion and that it didn’t make the guy a bad person.

    I was sexually abused as a child, and the residual issues from that (brought up some painful memories), as well as the reasons you gave above (not wanting to be seen as lying, attention whore, and not wanting to go through anything with the police that would make my family worry etc) meant that I didn’t really deal with it this time round. But the waves of nausea and disgust from that night still feel so real to me and I’m glad for the article (last week?) because I would actually have had no idea what I should have done that night, even if I had been brave enough to do it.

  • Impressed

    I have so much respect for your decision to speak out and the manner in which you have done so. This is so extraordinarily strong and I take my hat off to you.

  • Fan

    This is amazing Fran. Thank you so much.

  • Respect

    This is hands down the best article I have ever read on The Tab. I went through a very similar experience and your story sounded like I could have written it myself. Well done for having to courage to speak out; it is so brave.

  • Yet another

    You are so brave – I wish I were as brave as you. I went through almost exactly the same thing a couple of years ago. I regret not going to the police but I know that a jury would never convict as I had been drinking and was promiscuous at that time. My own mother blamed me because I was drunk. I wish things were different.

  • Thank you

    This is a fantastic piece of writing and incredibly moving, but one thing that’s really nagging at me is the reader comments etc about not going to the police because you don’t think you’ll get a conviction.

    I can’t imagine the trauma of going through this but having been assaulted (punched in the face) while I was drunk and reported it, I’m glad I did. At the very least, if you know any details about the person, the police can attempt to identify them and perform an interview.

    Even if all you have is your word against each other’s and there’s no hope of a conviction, the police have a record of it and the person who assaulted you might start to realise the gravity of what they’ve done. That won’t be anything like seeing them sent to jail, but if it makes them think twice about doing the same to someone else it’s got to be worth something.

    • hmmmm

      Ok, I understand where you’re coming from but there is such a sense of shame that comes with being a survivor of rape. If you get punched in the face you (usually) won’t feel you had anything to be ashamed of and might not be as afraid to tell a friend or report such a crime. Getting punched is a lot more clear cut – no one will question whether you were drunk or not. Because of the stigma attached to rape it is so much more difficult to come to terms with and finally report, not to mention the factors that are weighed against you (i.e., were you drunk etc). I wish deeply that this were not the case.

      • This one time in Cambridge

        I was nearly punched in the face because I was wearing a nice pink shirt and shiny brown shoes. I felt a little ashamed because I should have known better than to wear Italian leather in that part of town; I can’t even begin to comprehend the range of emotions felt in an actual assault.

  • Thank you

    I’m so moved by this article. I had a similar experience a year ago. I had been drinking and brought a guy i’d been getting with home and after saying I didn’t want to have sex he did anyway. I really haven’t been able to get rid of the feeling of shame and disgust I felt afterwards, because it feels so much like it must have been my fault even though rationally I know it wasn’t. Thank you for having the bravery to share your experiences.

    • Anon

      This happened to me too. Second date – I told him twice I didn’t want to have sex with him, once as soon as we got back to mine, again when he climbed on top of me and I pushed him off. I only let him kiss me again after he promised he wouldn’t try to have sex with me. Ten minutes later he forced his penis inside me with no warning and no condom. I went to the police to report it and they’ve identified but not contacted him – I couldn’t faced being dragged through the mud in court.

      Just because someone seems like a ‘decent bloke’ doesn’t mean they couldn’t have raped someone. mine was an accountant!

  • A Grateful Reader

    Such an important article, thank you so much. As a rape survivor (I don’t like the term victim much) it has really hit home with me. Thank you so much.

  • Thank you

    Francesca, I admire u so much for sharing this with us. I feel inspired to do the same now, for the first time. You have made me want to speak out. Thank you

  • A. Nonymous

    This is extremely saddening. You have my full respect for speaking out. What happened is certainly wrong. However the way you have constructed the article, omitting the details of earlier in the evening until after, appears to be done to increase the shock factor.

    • Ugh

      what happened earlier in the evening is utterly irrelevant. Are you seriously saying that kissing someone is permission to then be raped? did you really read that bit about them kissing and go “ah, well, wasn’t so bad then was it, you really had it coming.”
      People like you are why people like Fran feel so ashamed and terrified of speaking out or reporting being raped.

      • anon

        How is it irrelevant? They kissed, did anything more happen? In no way have i tried to use that to suggest what happened is right. I think what happened is awful. All i’m saying is by leaving out details we as the reader don’t get such a clear picture. To the reader, at the point of the rape in the article, it appears to be a complete stranger who’s she’s never met before.

        • Go home

          You are not wanted here.

          • anon

            how can you argue against clarity being essential so these people can be brought to justice?

        • but

          It’s beside the point, whether you know someone or not ‘no’ means ‘no’. You’re the reason we’re all going to have to sit through an hour of consent classes, dickwad.

          • anon

            I couldn’t agree more. That wasn’t what i was saying. Not much danger of you putting into practice what you’ll learn in those consent classes.

  • a

    so much love and respect for you <3

  • Anon

    So much respect for this, so many people don’t report and it’s such a shame. Like you though I won’t report what happened to me because it was a “friend” as it so often is. Thank you so much for speaking out, it’s important everyone realises that rape is rape, it doesn’t matter if it’s “not as serious” as the horrific cases that make the news, it still does terrible things to your mentality and it can’t go unpunished otherwise it will only happen again. Enormous respect for you.

  • Emily

    Francesca, you are fantastic.

  • Guest

    This is the bravest article I’ve read. It made me emotional, moved and quietly stunned. I’m so glad you wrote this. Many people (including myself) have gone through this. While I still choose to hide behind my anonymity, your bravery gives me strength; I want to talk about it openly with someone, be it counsellor or friend, and maybe put some demons to rest.

  • Ricky Martin

    I didn’t get in t’ Cambridge, me. But, if I did bitches would have been slayed

  • Dani

    I’m really sorry this happened to you. You are amazingly brave for speaking out and I thank you for bringing incidents like this to wider attention. There is still a prevalent idea in our society that rape is only rape when it is committed in dark alleys by strangers to ‘innocent’ women, i.e women that don’t go out drinking and dancing with friends or wear revealing clothing. Whilst this does happen, this ideology ignores the statistics that women are more likely to raped by someone they know, be that a friend, relative or even a boyfriend. Women never deserved to be raped, whether they’re walking home late from the library, have had a drink and maybe previous sexual contact with their rapist or are trapped by a family abuser. Stories like yours will help more women recognise what has happened to them and help them make sense of what happened to them and understand that it is not and never will be their fault.

    Thank you.

  • Shosa

    Very thought-provoking article. I agree that rape is to some extent a grey area in law because of the context of ‘non-consent’. I think underreporting and rape allegations may not be taken as seriously partly for this reason, but also because feminism has broadened the definition of ‘rape’ so much that it is applied to things such as ‘wolf-whistling’, and hence, has diluted the allegation’s effectiveness. Let’s save the word ‘rape’ for the physical act itself, not an ambiguous passing comment.

    • anon

      you can not be serious?… theres two many ridiculous things in this comment to even bother picking it apart….

      • Shosa

        How so? There is notable ambiguity with the definition of rape within the judicial system, why do you think it is so easy for people like Kenneth Clarke to say the wrong thing when the conversation is brought to the table, a man trained and accredited as a lawyer? The recent ‘I need feminism because’ campaign has indeed raised a lot of everyday problems that need to be addressed, but when people put things like ‘I need feminism because no means no, but sometimes yes doesn’t mean yes’ on their placards and engage with a topic like rape it does confuse the issue even more. That’s the point i’m making.

    • Alice

      I would love for you to show a serious example of when ANYONE has claimed wolf whistling is rape, never mind enough people to claim that “feminism has broadened the definition”.
      I think you may have confused rape with sexual harrassment.

      • Shosa

        Ok you want a real woman’s account of how wolf-whistling and cat-calling have been commandeered under the banner of rape? How about this woman’s testimony on the guardian 2 years ago then:
        Her very first line acknowledges that both wolf-whistling and the act of rape itself are forms of sexual ASSAULT and not just harassment, thereby using the term in an umbrella sense and not for its statutory meaning, which is physical in nature.

    • Clearly

      The way that the article is written for the reader is not the important aspect of this debate

      • Shosa

        Agreed, but someone asked for a source on a specific point and i provided it to counter… Back on topic anyway, big respect to the author of this tab article, it was important to hear her story.

  • Anon

    This is extremely brave and I commend you on sharing. I am also a victim. I was at a festival, my drink was spiked, I have small snippets of memory of a boy kissing me, me sitting on his shoulders in the crowd, drifting in and out of conciousness. After the head liners finished we left the arena. Two of my ‘friends’ who I was with left me with this boy. We had lost the rest of our friends earlier on and these two had no regard for my well-being. I woke up naked in his tent as he tried to rape me, he asked if I was 16 before I zoned out again. Next thing I knew he was throwing my clothes at me and telling me to get out. He had given up. My friends tell the story of how I ‘lost me virginity’ at this festival. I wasn’t brave enough to correct them. I still get kept awake by this 4 years on, I have finally managed to tell a couple of the people I am closet too but that is as far as I dare go. I have no name, or face for this boy. I can do nothing. I feel helpless. I haven’t even plucked up the courage to tell me psychiatrist or counsellors. Thank you for sharing and making me feel less alone. You are an inspiration. I hope other people can get something from reading this article and appreciate how common it is and how it isn’t just something that happens in a dark alley with a stranger. And I hope people’s friends can be there and spot the signs and intervene when things like this are starting to happen.

  • Similar experience

    Very brave article, well done.

  • Nice Article

    Easily the best article I’ve read from the Tab. Well done Francesca and I hope you get whatever support you need.

  • anon

    You are incredibly brave and have my utmost admiration for speaking out about your experience. I understand your reluctance to report him. I was raped on holiday by a staff member. I did report him and after 2 and a half long years and having to fly back to testify, he was convicted. The trial was almost as traumatising as the event. I’m happy he can’t do it to anyone else but I’m not sure if I could go through it all again.

  • Inspired

    I feel a little overwhelmed to have read your account and identified with so many of your feelings. I was raped on holiday 3 years ago which I recently chose to tell my sister about. I cannot emphasise enough, how, no matter how hard it was to get the words out, it has helped me to come to terms with what happened. Suddenly I don’t feel responsible for the event, or in any way at fault for the guy’s horrendous behaviour. Even if it isn’t in the courtroom, speaking out in some form is a hugely essential part of recovering from a truly traumatic experience.

  • WD

    Kudos for speaking out. Although I can’t relate to your situation I’m sure that it is inspirational to a lot of other victims out there.

  • Max

    So so much respect for this article. Congratulations for speaking out.

    However this IS legally rape and it is NEVER too late to report it. You know the identity of the man and a conviction is still possible.

    Rape trials are of course traumatising in a way that none of us can understand unless we’ve been through one as a victim. But the ‘grey area’ of being drunk is conforming to the rape MYTH – essentially they myth that rape only happens to a woman dressed in a short skirt, in an alleyway, by a stranger using force.
    It is only because society (including juries) buy into this hugely pervasive myth that the myth is allowed to go on unchallenged, deterring people from reporting it.

    It’s a hugely personal choice but if you’ve spoken out once I really really urge you to consider reporting to the police and challenge the myths for all of the other women who go through the ordeal of rape and face similar concerns as you. If no one speaks out in court and challenges the stereotype of rape, it will stick. And an acquittal is by NO means certain.

    Again though, well done for speaking out. So much respect.

  • LawStudent

    The story in this article actually is *legally* clear cut rape. There is no need for rape to be violent for it to be illegal, and prior sexual experiences have no connection.

  • Anon

    Great article which puts across thoughts that I myself have had after being in a similar situation. I was raped by a boyfriend when I was 15, we were in a relationship and so for this reason I had never classed it as rape because like this article and so many of the comments state, I thought rape could only be done by a stranger and that it had to be violent. At the time I never reported it 1.) because he mentally manipulated me and would say things like “If you tell the police I’d go to prison and you wouldn’t want that if you loved me would you?” and 2.) because I knew at that age my parents would almost certainly find out and I was ashamed for them to know what had happened, I didn’t want them to feel sorry for me or to treat me any differently because that had happened to me. Years later and was still getting to me. I was no longer with him, I didn’t see him or speak to him but that incident still got to me, it made me angry and upset that I could let it happen, so I reported it to the police.
    The police officer who dealt with my case was very honest with me and said from the start that given it had happened years ago, there was no physical evidence and that we were in a relationship it would be harder to get him convicted, but she assured me that regardless, me coming forward about it means that it’s noted on his record and that if he should ever be reported of something similar again, there’s something there to say he’s done it before, and that was enough for me. Although you say that you would never report this guy because he’s still in your life in some way, what if another member of your friendship group or someone you know had gone through this exact same thing with this guy? And that really he had done the same to a lot of girls however they hadn’t spoken out for the very same reasons as you mention above? Whether it leads to a conviction or not, a simple note on his record about this could lead to something if it were to happen again in the future.
    In my opinion anyone who feels that they have been a victim of rape whether it be violent by a stranger, or by a boyfriend or otherwise, they should report it. Otherwise what message is it sending out? That if a girl says no and struggles but doesn’t report it then that means that any future girl that he should encounter and does the same he’s ok to continue having sex with too? Some guys still aren’t aware that when a girl says no it means no, that’s she’s not just playing “hard to get” but that she really does mean NO!

    • Richard

      it’s not too late to name him now. Name him on here to protect others from him. What is the name of the person that did this to you?

      There are many people saying that they have been raped. Start naming names – otherwise they have got away with it.

  • Also inspired

    Thank you for sharing your story, and encouraging others to do the same.

    I spent a year studying abroad and was raped by the guy I lived with. The night before we had drunkenly kissed and he took me back to his room where he tried to take my clothes off and I stopped him. The next day, when we were both completely sober (not that it’s relevant), he came into my room, pinned me down and began to take my clothes off. I said no repeatedly and tried to stop him but he was stronger than me. In the end I thought ‘maybe this is what I want, maybe I led him on’ and let him. It happened many times after that, whenever he wanted sex or a BJ he would come into my room and force himself on me. Sometimes I would just accept and sometimes I would try and stop him, to no avail. I ended up fancying him… some kind of Stockholm syndrome maybe? I was too scared to report him because we lived together, and he wouldn’t be jailed instantly so I’d have to see him every day anyway, how would he react? How would he treat me then?

    Now I feel it’s too late to do anything about it. He’s many miles away, how could I testify? I wonder if he’s done this to any other girls.

    I wouldn’t say it scarred me, I’m now in a happy relationship and I don’t think back to it often. When I do, I feel angry at the guy who did it, angry at the culture that makes it seem ok to behave like that. When I read of others’ experiences I feel angry and saddened. People are often too quick to blame the victim – she led him on, she was wasted. We should always blame the perpetrator. What led him to ignore her saying no? What led him to carry on when she was in no state to consent? Why was his desire so strong common sense and decency couldn’t control it? Why did he think it was ok? And what can we, as a society, do about this?

    • Shocked!

      OMG, while rape is rape (I’m not trying to lessen the horror of anyone else’s expeience), having scrolled down the comments section, yours is the most cold, calculating, blood-churning account. I genuinely hope this man has a horrible life and dies alone. I’m happy you’re happy and think you’re very brave for writing this.

  • Anon

    Good on you for speaking out, and loads of love and support cause I threw up just having to tell a councilor, never mind write an article. The same thing has happened to me no less than four times, each time alcohol was involved, each time it was a friend, each time I convinced myself that somehow I deserved it, or that it wasn’t rape if it was a friend, or that obviously I somehow had warranted it. Actually I look back now and they can fuck off. They had no right to do what they did, being drunk doesn’t excuse their behavior, and more campaigns need to be set off directed at guys. . . especially guys with close girl friends who think they are exempt. . . Its not that all men are rapists. In fact, practically no men are rapists, but alcohol and the hype of being young and laddish makes us (girls AND guys) forget where the boundaries are. . . and can land us in a whole heap of shit once we finally sober up enough to work out what the hell happened. . . . Xxx

    • Anon

      Wait… this happened to you four times — with alcohol every time? Why didn’t you take better care of yourself? Your story simply sounds reckless. Do you think we need better education? Or do you think you were still in shock from the first ones? Or were you in with a very bad crowd? Seems like there’s so much more to this story.

      • Oh

        fuck off

        • Catherine

          Don’t listen to Anon! A similar thing happened to me. I was seriously sexually assaulted on four occasions and indecently and sexually assaulted on four others when I was drunk too but obviously it is in no way my fault. Non-violent men who are not perpetrators of sexual violence wouldn’t have taken advantage of a very drunk girl. And Anon, you completely discount the fact that people sexual violence can become normalised for people like it did for me. I was never taught about consent in school or the exact definition of assault, so when my first kiss was like that…

  • Me too

    Thank you very much for writing this piece. I was sexually assaulted when drunk at age 14, by a boy of the same age. I told me mother but begged her not to tell anyone because I was so ashamed about the whole thing. My friends and I joked about it because it was the only way I could deal with it. I felt like it was my fault because I “led him on” by kissing him, even though I said no and tried to push him away multiple times. At the time I was too ashamed to report him to anyone, but even now I wouldn’t want to. I think that the reason he did assault me was because of a societal problem, and I don’t blame him for what he did. I still feel that the amount of trouble I could have caused such a young person who made a mistake (however bad that mistake was) would be unfair, as it was a reflection of how young men are taught to treat women, not a reflection on his personality. I appreciate that by reporting it I could have helped changed that society, but I still don’t think I could have gone through with it. So I understand where you are coming from with the not-reporting thing, especially if it is someone you know (as it was for me too).

  • anon.

    it’s horrible that i can personally relate to this story; this is my losing my virginity – i was blamed, i was ‘asking for it’, i shouldn’t have got drunk. and you know what? it wasn’t my fault and i should have said something.
    thank you for writing this piece. if only my sixteen year old self had been as aware of what it means to be raped as i am now.

  • Well done

    you are very brave to have spoken out

    It saddens me that you would not have reported it or at least confronted him and actually said the words “you raped me”
    Most guys believe they would never rape someone, and sometimes even afterwards still do not think it is rape. This is where the problems lies

    I’ve had a couple of experiences where a guy wouldn’t let up and kept pressuring me and trying to do things. I didn’t want him to, I told him to stop. But I thought well he’s a bit drunk he doesn’t realise what he’s doing.
    If i could go back to that moment now I would have shouted get the fuck off me, (instead of saying in a timid voice no i don’t want to and having to come up with reasons why i wouldn’t) and asked him to look at what he was doing. Also maybe throw in a slap for good measure.

    Girls in that situation need to know they are in power, and it is not overreacting to punch them in the face if they are sexually harassing you.
    Guys need to learn that their actions while seemingly innocent to them, can have devastating consequences

  • Anonanon

    This happened to me. I was young, and raped by my older boyfriend. People didn’t believe me because he was popular at school. People didn’t believe me because I was “attention seeking”/frigid/stuck-up/making it all up for dramatic effect. People didn’t believe me because, apparently, rape victims shouldn’t feel ashamed or embarrassed. By looking at comments, this has happened to a hell of a lot of people. Too many people. I don’t know if that’s quietly comforting that I’m not the only one who has gone through this/felt like this, or if it’s horrifyingly sickening that there are so many of us.

  • Bea Evans Thirlwell

    you are a very brave person for raising this issue. I’m sick of how stuff like this is just everyday! We need to stop protecting rapists.

  • Thank You

    The same thing almost happened to me when I was 15 (I’m 20 now). I was paralytic and incapable of staying conscious, let alone consenting. Luckily my sister walked in just before it was about to happen and stopped it. The next day I told my friends and they all laughed it off saying that ‘sex you regret isn’t rape’, and that it didn’t count as we were both really drunk, so I always blamed myself. Reading this has made me realise that I was actually very close to being raped, and was most definitely sexually assaulted. Thanks for speaking up, I’m sure you’ve helped a lot of people.

  • a question?

    An incredibly moving story. As a member of the opposite sex I find it disgusting and unfathomable that anyone could possibly commit such an evil act. My question is what more can be done by all of us beyond raising awareness and shaming individuals through articles like this? Part of me feels that this issue is so much to do with an immoral and corrupted individual’s actions that it is hard for me to see how we can move this discussion onto a more practical deterrence against future crimes of this kind. If the law isn’t protecting women like you, what can be done?

    • Anon

      I’m not blaming the victim or anything — but I really think girls need to be taught that it is seriously dangerous to get drunk in this manner. If the author weren’t drunk, I don’t think this would have happened: she intimated that the man would not have violently attacked her.

      I think it is shameful that we live in a society where it is dangerous for girls to get drunk — but since this is de facto, I think the only thing we can do is spread the word that this behaviour is dangerous.

      • Anon

        Why just girls?

      • And

        since men are the perpetrators in the majority of rapes, they require no education at all?

        • anon

          Pretty much ever harrowing story here is “I got drunk, some dickhead took advantage of that fact” and the response has been generally to encourage the victims into a painful legal process.

          It seems obvious that educating women that this is horrifying dangerous is the way to go about solving this problem.

          In terms of educating the men:

          Either, the men are very drunk too and are drunkenly “failing” to hear “no”, or misread the signals — men are notoriously bad at reading body language at the best of times;

          Or, the men are consciously taking advantage of you.

          The former group are too drunk for any education to help, and the latter group are ignoring the basic education that “rape is wrong” that they have already received by being human.

          I don’t want to make any offensive crass comparisons; but here goes:

          Say I don’t want anyone to steal my car, but because I lead a carefree naïve existence I leave my keys in the ignition in the middle of town. Say I come back and my car is gone:

          > has someone else been horrible? Yes

          > was the OTHER person in the wrong? Yes

          > would educating them beforehand have helped? Maybe

          > Am I a victim? Yes

          All of this is true, but it’s bloody obvious that I should have just had some common sense and taken the keys with me — because HORRIBLE PEOPLE DO EXIST!

  • Thank you

    for writing this article

  • Alice

    I have long questioned a situation that happened to me in the past. It was very similar to yours and I have never truly known what it was. Nonetheless I felt violated, and it only further added to my lack of ability to trust and enjoy the company of others on that level, alongside other experiences. I feel a lot of anger towards the situation still, but have never really been able to face it. Thank you for posting this article, you have helped me understand some of my feelings on the situation better.

  • anon

    As a victim myself it clearly ruined what could have been the best 3 years of my life, uni, and even now I think about it daily. I reported it immediately and DNA evidence landed him in a cell. From then he was bailed and 18 months later defence lawyers ripped apart my ‘story’ in Crown Court. Reporting it helped me with anti-HIV medicine, antibiotics and therapy but I would never ever wish court on anyone. If you do it take family or close friends and remember your bit is over quickly but if like me it may bring it back after 18 months of healing in therapy. I get that the lawyers are paid to defend but they dug deep and found out a lot about my past and branded me a liar

    • Anon

      I posted a comment further up, having reported a rape myself, I was told by the police in charge of my case that even though I was the “victim” it would be me that was being cross-examined and interrogated thoroughly in court if it got that far. In my case it never did reach the court stage, in fact the majority of rape cases sadly don’t, through lack of evidence or due to the time gap between the incident and reporting it being too long. I just think it’s absolutely disgusting that it’s the person who’s the victim that’s being cross-examined and has to prove that they’re telling the truth rather than the suspect trying to prove their innocence. Surely this is something that needs to be changed?

      • Anon

        No. People are innocent until proven guilty in a fair society — the alternative is abhorrent.

  • A

    This is almost exactly the experience I had in February. If I wanted to have sex with someone I would tell them. How is it consensual if the person is almost passed out, vomiting and unable to speak.
    The sad thing is that no one knows what to say. They don’t understand that it eats away at you mentally and emotionally on a daily basis.

  • X

    I went through this last year. Every time I begin to feel any doubt, fear or guilt (which is often the product of date rape) I will read this and remember that we are not alone. Thank you.

  • saleem

    Its a sad world we live in :-( this is the tip of the iceburg. in Islamic countries kids are forced into marriages with dirty old men and raped daily. How much clearer cut can it get. Oh no wait, we shouldnt offend religion……what a load of shit

  • Anon

    Don’t you think smoking will do you more harm than the rape?

    • Tom


    • Catherine

      I can’t even say anything in response to what you just said. You don’t deserve a response.

  • Anon

    Brave girl,
    Speaking out and helping change the future of how people look at rape. You are inspirational to many, well done you, the grey area in rape needs to stop being a reason for people to feel to scared to report it, and for the purpatrator to feel protected by law.

  • Molly

    Nobody deserves to go through what you did. You’re a brave girl. Thank you for speaking out about this.

  • anon

    Thanks for sharing your story.

    by the comments shared in this article, it sounds like this is a very common problem, but I don’t think consent classes or more police action are the answer.

    I think the answer is to educate women on the dangers of getting drunk around men. I think men who will,actually attack you violently are uncommon, but I think that men who would tale advantage of you while,drunk as you describe, are disturbingly common (especially if they are drunk too).

    It’s just reckless to be letting your guard down and getting drunk around men.

    no, I’m not blaming you, but the story you gave sounds like it was entirely within your power to prevent, and this is not news to you. I would be interested if you could shed some light on what you think you have helped you be more wary of these situations? You mention that you smoke so presumably you have ignored fine advice in the past, so hearing from you om this would be especially important?

    • Concerned

      Not every rape occurs to drunk women. By your argument, if rape happens to drunk women (therefore they should not drink around men, which is essentially indicating no drinking at all since I’m not aware of female only bars), then, if someone does not understand when a woman is consenting or not when drunk, he should not be drinking around women either.

      Furthermore, it is not just women who are raped. I know personally two male friends who have been sexually assaulted. Neither told any authorities.

      If you truly believe most rapes are the product of alcohol, I would argue both men and women need to be educated on this. Personally, I think articles like this are a step in the right direction. The statistics are harrowing but the number of similar experiences posted in the comments are shocking. And yet the victims are so worried about being believed (which is ridiculous because when you are robbed, does it matter if you were drunk? If you were flashing your expensive phone around?) that the rapist goes unpunished. Maybe he does it again.

      This brave woman was asleep in her bed. She did not invite him. She was not conscious when he entered her room. She did not give consent. That should be all that matters.

      • Anon

        Your analogy of someone flashing their mobile phone is interesting: people are generally advised not to flash their expensive phones around to avoid robbery — reasonable, right?
        But wait a moment!? Are the police claiming that ALL robberies happen to people flashing mobile phones!? No, not really — but it’s common enough to merit the advice.
        Similarly the suggestion that women should not get pass-out drunk because they are vulnerable to rape, robbery, and any other number of nasty things.
        Am I saying all rape is against drunk women? No. Am I saying only women are raped? No.
        Am I saying it’s good advice for women not to get so drunk they can’t stop a non-violent rapist? Yes, of course — it’s just obvious isn’t it?

        • .

          Yes there is advice on not flashing the phone. However, this is not something that is presented in court to make the victim look reckless. My argument is simply that the dangers of alcohol should be presented to men and women. But honestly? I don’t think it would work. Just like the dangers of unprotected sex are ignored and people still smoke despite health warnings, telling women not to drink around men will not solve the problem. I went to an all girls school and do not remember learning about the importance of consent. The matter of rape was a brief mention as if they were embarrassed to talk about it. We should be able to discuss it openly. It should be common sense that if a woman is asleep in her bed, she does not want to have sex with you. If she says no, she does not want to have sex with you.

    • Missing the point!

      You’re really ignorant to the fact that this is VICTIM BLAMING, even though you specify that it isn’t. You wish to “educate women on the dangers of getting drunk” instead of consent classes/police talks… SO, rather than educating both men AND women about consent (as it is often neglected in sex ed!), about aspects such as, even if one of you changes your mind mid-coitus, it must be abided by, you’d rather WOMEN solely be “educated” about alcohol consumption? Even if the consent classes are just a re-cap of LEGAL facts by a police officer, it is to both sexes. But, in your eyes, women should be lectured and told they mustn’t drink/drink as much in order to protect themselves. That sounds totally fair and equal. Wow. And I thought that this wasn’t the 1960s.

      • Missing the point!

        1950s* (apologies)

        • Anon

          You’re confusing the two things.
          Blaming the victim is where you claim that the rapist did no wrong, or the wrong is diminished by some provocation by the victim.
          That is not at all what I’m saying: I am saying that the crimes listed in the comments here are utterly deplorably, and (in a perfect world) should be punished.
          However, I don’t think “punishment” is the main issue. The main issue is reducing the problem: people getting raped; not the issue of vengeance: getting people convicted.
          And if you want to prevent rapes — read the stories people have posted — think about what would have prevented those rapes. Sending the rapists on a course? Not really. The women taking better care of themselves? Yes.

          • seriously

            im gonna cut you

    • Absolutely fuming

      How dare you say that. As a survivor of a string of sexual assaults currently having experienced in the past few days the backlash and victim blaming from my GP, two of my best friends and my mother I am utterly offended. The only people who are responsible for rape and sexual assault are the perpetrators and the victims are in NO WAY to blame and are not responsible for preventing rape. It is people like you perpetuating victim blaming myths that allow rapists to get away with their crimes. Telling women to get drunk and let their guard down around men is ridiculous because not only are people assaulted in many different situations; sober, in modest clothing, at home, but it fails to address the cause of violence; RAPISTS

      • anon

        You’re just missing the point. The author asked readers to speak out and share their stories; and they have, and the overwhelming majority of them could have been easily prevented had the victims not been off their heads.
        Even without rapists around, getting so drunk you are incoherent, keep blacking out and unable to move is just plain irresponsible ANYWAY — if someone takes advantage of that then they are still a horrible evil person; but that doesn’t make your conduct any less stupid.

  • Catherine

    Thank you so much for speaking out! You have inspired me to write an article for my own student newspaper about what has happened to me in a few months once I am better as well as to write a letter to Michael Gove demanding that consent and relationships education be made a compulsory part of the national curriculum. I can relate to you completely; I have only come to terms with my own experiences of sexual violence a few days ago, and only told my friends on Sunday and my mother and sister today. I have experienced assault by penetration/serious sexual assault (that is non-consensual penetration of the vagina with an object or part of the body) on four occasions as well as experiencing attempted rape (an attempt at forced oral sex in my case) on one occasion. I have also experienced indecent assault in almost all of those situations and indecent assault and sexual assault on two other separate occasions. I went through the exact same denial phases you went through, and the first time when I was indecently and sexually assaulted it was my first kiss and I did not view it as assault at all; I was never taught about consent and sexual assault. Later, I thought because I didn’t say no, or struggle it wasn’t assault.

  • Sexual Assault Survivor

    Please sign this petition to make consent and relationships education compulsory! The only way we can decrease sexual violence is through educating! I refuse to let other generations have to go through what I have gone through and think that it normal.

  • anon

    Thank you for this.

  • HM

    Thank you for speaking out, Francesca. Your incredibly brave act will provide solace and empowerment to many survivors of rape. I sincerely hope that your article will inspire the changing of harmful attitudes and instil awareness of the paramountcy of consent.

  • concerned

    Something that’s not been mentioned is the possibility that most of the attacks have been carried out by repeat offenders. Because this has important consequences for consent and awareness workshops, please kindly do read page 8 of , which is based on the study whose outline figures are on page 7.

  • Lorna Hope

    So many victims take a long time to realize what happened to them was rape or don’t realize at all. This is so common yet so rarely talked about. It’s important to raise awareness as this stops many people from being taken seriously.

  • Richard

    Name him
    Name him
    Name him
    Name him now.

    • John

      Agreed. Please name the rapist so that his evil act can be exposed.

  • bestingz

    Something about the phrase “rape can happen to anyone at any time” makes it sound like an act of god or some random natural phenomenon or disease. Rape happens because certain men still feel empowered enough by their own selfish sexual needs to attack and rape someone. Rape doesn’t just “happen.” Until modern society starts getting intellectually honest about lots of other forms of injustice and exploitation, I fear we have a long way to go before subhuman cretins stop raping. Still, kudos for speaking out. I thing you should go one further and ID the sick fuck that did this, on FB no less.

  • Taylor G. Moore

    A very horrible and outrageous experience. However, at least she didn’t get pregnant and end up having the criminal’s baby!

  • Paprika

    I completely understand your anxieties about reporting. I have watched my mother, my best friend, flatmates, my sister’s, my grandmothers, lives be destroyed by rape and sexual assault, all by trusted friends, spouses, fathers even.. people they knew in some way. My only worry, is that by not reporting him, what about the next girl he goes and gets involved with? Doesn’t she deserve to know what kind of danger she’s putting herself in? Even if it isn’t what people would usually define danger as. I am in no way saying you are responsible if he decides to repeat his atrocious actions. My heart truly goes out to you. It is a horrible decision.. but even then, speaking up is a very difficult thing to do, so.. :(

  • Ben Smith

    So this story is basically somebody failed to report a crime and it is our fault as men? You may have signed the warrant on somebody elses rape by not reporting this. Syptom of a much wider problem so you would not report it? I regret your experience hugely but this trendy feminist writing is doing no favours for a wider cause. People talk as if rape is a hourly thing on every street in the UK. Of course it is horrible and should not happen, but we are animals and through biology men are stronger and in some cases that is used for bad. The correct route when a crime like this is commited is to follow the law, not post to Cambridge tab. You live in the most equal and civilised part of the world ladies, toughen up for goodness sake.

    • Freddie

      You’re a tool.

      At no point has the writer said anything about “it’s men’s fault” in fact she makes a conscious effort to refer to ‘people’ as victims rather than ‘women’.

      If you’ve read the comments above you’ll realise WHY she’s done this: it’s more constructive than a case she would inevitably lose.

      Ps. Fuck off

      • Richard

        The only “tool” here is you for being rude and using bad language. Grow up.
        P.S. Ben has a point – there is no excuse for not reporting this rape, even now.
        P.P.S. She should name the rapist publicly. Why not?

  • will jones

    Thank you for your article. I respectfully want to ask, why you would choose not to name him now? I ask because it seems the most important thing to do for so many reasons that go beyond justice and proof. Is there some rational to protecting him now? It will rock the boat and you would suffer too so I easily accept your explanation without condemnation but freeing victims to accuse stands out as a crucial step towards tackling the current state. Either way be empowered to do what’s right for you. I’m just some bloke wanting to understand better, not peer pressure you.

  • VWharton

    It sounds exactly the same as what happened to me … cept it was a friend that was drunk, we were fourteen and when I took her upstairs to sleep it off, there were four boys that burst into our room, not one. I didnt report it as I knew that it would be us that went on trial, not the boys. They were laughing and giggling throughout the attack and later, once they left and we’d barracaded ourselves into the room, the father of the girl whose party it was came upstairs to check on us, probably having heard the boys bragging downstairs. We wouldn’t let him into the room and he didn’t call the police and nor did we later. Too many people line up against the victims in the police and judiciary to make victims feel safe in reporting. The male media portrays rape as the dirty sl*ts fault, and that message goes deep into the victim’s psyche. If you look on line at the sexist intimidation you get for even talking about men’s joint culpability in rape culture, you begin to wonder how many of those guys baiting the victims are policemen, judges, jury members, solicitors … my family stopped speaking to me 7 years ago when I finally told them what had happened. False accusations arent the only miscarriage of justice, women who speak out and aren’t believed are then branded liars by the rapist’s silence or denial. That costs victims hugely and is a second crime against them. I totally understand your hesitation as to what you want to do and why.

  • Paula Clarke

    Yes, alcohol is often a factor. It is never an excuse however. I was sexually assaulted on a train in Paris while wearing a long skirt and a high necked T-shirt. It was the middle of the day. Broad daylight. Noone else in the carriage. I managed to get him off me through some miracle and run into another carriage where there were people.
    A friend of mine wasn’t so lucky. She was assaulted and violently raped outside a nightclub. We went to the police the very next morning, and there was plenty of forensic evidence including a graphic report from the medical examiner stating that she had injuries indicating a use of force (we are talking handprint bruises on her thighs, tearing of the genitals and severe bruising where he had punched her in the face) It went to court. The entire trial focused on HER behaviour, HER past. No, she wasn’t a virgin. Yes she was intoxicated. Yes she was wearing a short skirt. So was I, and so were hundreds of other women and girls in the same club. When I had finally had enough of this bull I stood up to sy so and asked the jury if this meant that I and all of those other women deserved to be raped too… I was thrown out on my ass for contempt of court.
    He walked.
    Because the defense convinced the jury that he had thought she was consenting.
    Really? When she was injured like that?
    She went through the trauma of medical examinations immediately after the rape, a court case which was in the media, her name being dragged uncerimoniously through the mud in court… only to see him walk free? I lived with her at the time. She would wake up screaming every night with awful nightmares, convinced he was coming to get her.
    Would I have reported a rape previously? Yes, it was partly me who persuaded her to go to the police.
    Would I report a rape now? Hell no.
    Our system… well, it sucks. There are evil women who lie and destroy men’s lives, but they are few in reality. Our system is skewed as if most people that report rape are “attention whores” who “had drunken sex and regretted it”.
    No. Just… no. And then to hear how hard it is for men?
    Excuse the rant please. I’m…

  • jessie

    i’m really proud that you could come out with your story. being a rape victim myself.He was my ex and i figured we were still friends at least thats what he made me believe. He asked me to come and visit him and i did and he raped but not after i had received several punches on the faces because i resisted and i was trying to scream for help which proved futile. He told me he knows he would not hear from me again so he came in me on purpose so if i get pregnant i should let him know ( like i would even want to carry his baby). Anyway i was not thinking straight after the incident and how i even got home was a miracle i felt really dirty and all i could think of was getting a bath i could not go to the police because 1) i was not too familiar with the vicinity i was in 2) i had washed away any form of evidence i could use against him and considering where im from it might not get too much attention because of lack of evidence 3) i did not want my parents to know and i was scared people would call me names.
    At times i hate myself for not reporting him and i feel it was his form of revenge for breaking up with him. Anytime im alone i get an instant replay of the whole incident and i think it will haunt me for the rest of my life. i haven’t been able to tell my boyfriend because im scared it will end the relationship
    I think its quite a relieve to know i wasnt the only one who did not report it. But when you look at it this happens almost everyday its a crazy world out there.

  • nick

    I think the problem is there are so many false rape accusations across Britain in universities that people don’t take them anywhere nearly as seriously as they should.

    Like the oxford student union president guy, as soon as I read the article accusing him of rape my first thought was ‘I bet he didn’t do it’.

    It shouldn’t be this way because when actual rape happens, like what happened to the girl in this article, everyone assumes she was drunk, had sex with a guy and then regretted it so cried rape.

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