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Reveal's Report Every Rape Campaign: We have made a difference

Friday, December 19 2014, 20:00 GMT
Since we launched our Report Every Rape campaign last year, there has been a 29 per cent rise in the number of sex assaults being reported to police

In February 2013, we launched the Report Every Rape campaign after new Government figures revealed the shocking truth about sex crimes in the UK.

Report Every Rape campaign, We have made a difference

© Shauna Lynn Panczyszyn



Hundreds of you contacted us to share your thoughts and lend support and 55 women bravely shared their harrowing stories in our pages.

With your help, we've fought to dispel myths surrounding the still-taboo topic of rape and dispel the view of rapists as monsters lurking in alleys.

Nine out of 10 victims know their attacker: a partner, a father, a friend.

Rape wrecks lives. We've seen the consequences – mental health problems, inability to keep a job or trust people, substance abuse, even suicide.

Reporting rape is extremely difficult. A survey we conducted showed the main reason victims are unwilling to come forward is because they fear no one will believe them.

Our aim was to bring the subject into the open – the more we talk about this problem that affects every part of society, the more we can break down barriers preventing people speaking out and getting the justice they deserve.

Gradually, the tide's turning. In September 2013, we enlisted the help of ex-EastEnders star Danniella Westbrook, who was gang raped by drug dealers.

Report Every Rape campaign, We have made a difference

© Reveal

Fifty-five women told us their stories



Together with two courageous young women – Zoe Priestley, 23, raped by her stepfather from the age of nine and Karen Billingsley, 30, who suffered a decade of abuse by her uncle – we launched our petition on TV and radio.

In response to our survey, which showed almost 90 per cent of people believe greater support would lead to more rapes being reported, we called upon the Government for more funding for Independent Sexual Violence Advisers (ISVAs). These specially-trained staff are crucial in helping victims during the gruelling and often isolating process of the justice system.

Reaching an audience of 45 million, the campaign attracted a host of celebs who lent their support by wearing our Report Every Rape wristbands.

Now, more victims are coming forward than ever. Figures from the Office for National Statistics show reporting of rape has risen by 29 per cent in the past year alone – three-quarters of these being about recent attacks.

Chief Constable Jeff Farrar of the Association of Chief Police Officers said: "This shows victims of abuse have more confidence that if they go to the police, they'll be listened to, taken seriously and their report will be investigated."

Although, as Rape Crisis point out, the figure is just the 'tip of the iceberg' and sexual violence remains "hugely under-reported", it's a step in the right direction.

By giving a voice to victims of rape or sexual assault, we can work towards greater support, increased reporting and justice for those who need it most.

IF YOU NEED HELP

Report Every Rape logo

© Reveal

For confidential advice and support contact Rape Crisis on 0808 802 9999 and rapecrisis.org.uk

If you would like to tell your story please email reporteveryrape@revealmagazine.co.uk

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I broke up with my boyfriend – so he raped me

Friday, December 5 2014, 20:00 GMT
When Sophie Niechcial, 25, from South London, tried to end her relationship, her partner took his vicious revenge

"What my ex-boyfriend put me through can only be described as a living hell.

I was a nervous wreck by the time he was arrested and I can't describe the relief I felt when he was sentenced to 13 years in prison for raping me multiple times. I was finally free of him.

I'd first dated Julian Burke when I was 17 years old, but it wasn't serious and fizzled out in time. When I was 21, I bumped into him again in November 2010. I'd just given birth to my daughter, Tiffany, and was trying to adjust to life as a newly single mum.

Sophie Niechcial was raped by her boyfriend after she tried to break up with him

© Shila Sultana



My confidence was at an all-time low but Julian looked delighted to see me. He cooed over Tiffany and asked how I was doing. Before we parted, he took my number and promised he'd be in touch so we could arrange a proper catch-up. I couldn't stop smiling.

Over the next few weeks, we met up regularly and Julian came on walks with me, Tiffany and our dog. He helped with the shopping and odd jobs around the house. And slowly, I could feel myself falling in love.

If Julian had remained that person, I'm sure we'd still be together. He was sweet, funny and I was flattered by the attention. But as the weeks turned into months he became paranoid, convinced I was cheating on him.

He checked my phone and called when I was out with friends, insistent on speaking to them. It was mortifying.

By March 2011, I couldn't take it any more and called Julian over to my flat to end our relationship. But instead of accepting it, he burst into tears. "I'll kill myself and it will be your fault," he threatened. "I can't cope without you."

I told him we could still be friends but that just angered him. Without a word, he threw me on the bed and raped me. I tried to fight him off, but it was impossible.

Afterwards, he got up to leave. "Look what you made me do," he said. "It's not nice knowing someone doesn't want you any more."

I crawled under the covers and lay there, feeling sick. I couldn't believe that the man who'd told me he loved me and treated me so kindly had acted so viciously.

The next day, Julian sent me a text, saying how sorry he was and that he'd never do it again. It seems silly, ridiculous even, but he just ignored the fact that I'd broken up with him and I was too scared to end things again.

So we carried on uneasily, but far from him never mistreating me again, he became worse. He followed me around, flew into angry rages and even moved his things into my house. I had no idea how to escape.

By the end of 2011, I was on antidepressants and living in constant fear.

I told him I was going to my parents' house for Christmas and asked him to take his clothes home until I returned.

After the holidays, when Julian tried to move back in, I refused to let him. For a while, it was worse than ever. He'd turn up at my home, threatening to petrol-bomb my house or attack my family.

But eventually, he seemed to grow bored. When I saw him around the local area, he didn't try to intimidate me any more.

Gradually, I relaxed and tried to put the whole horrific relationship behind me. But in 2013, just as suddenly as he'd stopped contacting me, he started again.

He'd bang at my door and threaten to break it down if I didn't let him in. Even when I didn't open it, he'd break in through a window to beat and rape me.

Sophie Niechcial was raped by boyfriend Julian Burke

© MET Police

Julian Burke



It became so bad, I just wanted to die. Tiffany was the only thing that kept me getting out of bed in the morning. Luckily, he showed no interest in her – it was just me he wanted to hurt.

Eventually, I confided in a friend. Julian had warned me he'd kill me if I told anyone what he was doing but I couldn't bear it any longer. And with my friend's support, I went to the police in January 2014. They launched an investigation and installed a panic button in my house.

It wasn't long before I had to use it. Just days later, Julian broke into my house again and raped me. As soon as he relaxed his grip on me, I ran to the alarm and pressed it.

Julian ran off before police arrived, but they arrested him later that night, while I was taken to hospital to be examined and gave a statement.

Julian pleaded not guilty and I had to go to Woolwich Crown Court to give evidence. It was horrible describing the humiliating details of the way he'd treated me, but with the help of my Independent Sexual Violence Adviser (ISVA), I got through it.

Eventually, in July 2014, Julian, 30, was found guilty of six counts of rape and one count of sexual assault and was sentenced to 13 years in jail.

The past few months have been very difficult. I still have nightmares and flashbacks and I am having therapy.

But slowly I'm getting there. I have to remember that the blame and shame lie with Julian – not with me. He can't frighten me into silence any longer.'

IF YOU NEED HELP

For confidential advice and support contact Rape Crisis on 0808 802 9999 and rapecrisis.org.uk rapecrisis.org.uk

If you would like to tell your story please email reporteveryrape@revealmagazine.co.uk

'Raped when I was seven months pregnant – by my husband'

Friday, November 7 2014, 19:00 GMT
Jenny* braved the courts to see her ex pay for the horrific way he assaulted her and another woman

"Most people would have described Stephen Cooperwhite as happy go lucky. Everyone thought he was funny. And so did I, when we first met.

Stephen was my first proper boyfriend. The father of my two eldest kids. And in the end, my rapist.

Anonymous picture for Report Every Rape campaign story

© Getty Images

Posed by model



I was 18 and at uni when we met through friends. A year later I fell pregnant and things got really serious between us. We moved in together and despite the demands of pregnancy and parenthood at such a young age, we made it work.

I didn't miss a day of lectures and Stephen worked really hard to provide for me and our little boy, Peter*. With so many commitments, we had little time to think about anything else.

In 2000 I graduated, and was offered a job on a small island in the Outer Hebrides. It came with a house near the beach – a far cry from our city life in a flat. Our son would be able to ride his bike and play in the sea.

At first it was idyllic. Stephen stayed at home to look after Peter until he found a part-time job. That was when the cracks began to show.

With more time on our hands, Stephen became angry and aggressive over small things. Though he'd always been a proud dad, he was losing his temper with Peter a lot. Planning our wedding only added to the strain.

One night he came in drunk and when I challenged him he dragged me down the hall and slammed my head against the back door. I felt too ashamed to tell anyone the real cause of the cut on my forehead.

Stephen apologised and said it wouldn't happen again. I wanted to put it behind us for our son's sake. But with each passing day I felt more trapped, more isolated on the island, so far from family and friends.

Just a few weeks before our wedding, Stephen and I had a big row and he pushed me down the stairs. At hospital, I told them I'd fallen and they said I'd broken my coccyx bone at the base of my spine. They weren't sure I'd even be able to walk down the aisle.

Despite everything, I did manage to walk on our wedding day and Stephen and I were married. I was convinced I was doing the right thing, to ensure our son had a mum and a dad. I thought I'd made my bed, so I had to lie in it.

Afterwards, things improved and we were really happy when I fell pregnant again in the summer of 2002. However a scan at five months also showed I had a condition called placenta previa. In my case they said it was very dangerous and that I could bleed to death and lose the baby. Even sex could cause bleeding.

In the following weeks, I developed several infections and Stephen grew tired of me.

One evening, when I was seven months pregnant, Stephen got into our bed and tried to have sex with me. I told him no and reminded him of what the doctor said. But he just tried again.

I was lying on my side, trying to support my now rounded stomach, and he held me down and raped me. I was terrified, frozen to the spot. When he finished he casually got up and went downstairs as though nothing had happened.

Afterwards, I did have some bleeding. But I was 'lucky'. The doctor said everything looked ok and I couldn't bear to tell him what had really happened.

A week later I moved to my parents' house with Peter, to be nearer a big hospital, and shortly after that gave birth to another son. Gradually it was like I started to realise what Stephen was really like. For so long I'd been isolated but now I knew I had to leave my husband.

Stephen saw the boys every other weekend and he went on to become a policeman. I thought he must be a changed man. But then in 2009, I discovered that Stephen had been arrested for raping another woman.

I knew then he'd never change and I had to see him punished for his crimes. Giving evidence in court for two full days, being called a liar and worse by his barrister, was horrible. There was little support and at one point Stephen chased me down the stairs in the courthouse.

But I'm so glad I went through with it. Stephen Cooperwhite, then 35, from Paisley, was found guilty of raping me and another woman. He was jailed for six years.

Knowing that he's been found guilty by a court of law made all the trauma of the court case finally worth it."

*names have been changed

Report Every Rape: I fell pregnant after being raped

Friday, October 3 2014, 20:00 BST
When Jennifer*, 37, missed a period after being attacked, she prayed the baby was her partner's. But a DNA test proved the worst...

"Like most mums, I feel a huge rush of love when my eight-year-old daughter Emily* gives me a hug. I smile, cuddle her and tell her I love her. She has no idea of the heartbreaking secret I'm keeping.

But I won't be able to hide it forever. One day, I'll have to tell her the truth about how she came into the world. That I became pregnant with her after being raped.

Jennifer*, I fell pregnant after being raped

© Victoria Tetley

Jennifer* fell pregnant after being raped



It happened when I was on a rare night out in 2005. I was in a long-term relationship and already had five children, so was letting my hair down. By the end of the night, I'd lost my friend and wandered outside to find her. That's when a strange man approached me and said he'd help.

I barely had time to respond before he carried me over his shoulder to a nearby house. He forced himself on top of me.

I begged him to stop but he ignored me.

When he'd finished, he punched me so hard he knocked me out. I came round in the middle of the road with my friend screaming my name. She helped me back to her house and the next day, I told my partner, then called the police.

They gave me the morning-after pill and I underwent forensic examinations. It was humiliating but I wanted to stop him attacking another woman.

As the police searched for him, I desperately tried to forget. But it wasn't easy. I'd wake my partner, screaming in my sleep, and crossed the road if I saw a man walking toward me.

A few weeks later, I missed my period.

A pregnancy test confirmed I was expecting. As I'd taken emergency contraception, I convinced myself the baby was my boyfriend's. But when Emily arrived nine months later, she looked nothing like him. Refusing to think the alternative, we loved her just the same as our other children.

Sadly, we broke up soon after – the strain was too much for our relationship. The police had matched the DNA to a man called Shaun Hopkins and they were trying to collect enough evidence to charge him.

As Emily grew up, she looked more like my attacker than ever. I couldn't bury my head in the sand any more. When she was two, my ex took a DNA test. The results confirmed he wasn't her biological father.

I didn't care. She was my baby, not the rapist's. Her cruel start to life made me more protective of her. She was as much a victim as I was. Although my ex was devastated, he loved her as his own.

In 2009, I was finally told there wasn't enough evidence to charge Hopkins. I crumbled. Not only had he destroyed my life, I was convinced he'd strike again.

And last year, he did. I read in the local newspaper he'd been arrested on suspicion of raping a teenager. I called the police and they agreed to reopen my case.

Last March, I gave evidence at Liverpool Crown Court. It took all the strength I had but it was worth it. He was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum of nine years.

I know I'll have to tell Emily the truth one day. That her father was a rapist who forced me into the act that led to her conception.

But I'll also tell her how it takes a lot more than planting a seed to become a father and how loved she is, by me and her real dad – the one who brought her up. Together, we'll get her through it."

By Geraldine McKelvie

IF YOU NEED HELP

For confidential advice and support contact Rape Crisis on 0808 802 9999 and rapecrisis.org.uk

If you would like to tell your story please email reporteveryrape@revealmagazine.co.uk

Show your support and join us on twitter @revealmag #reporteveryrape

Report Every Rape: My toddler jailed his rapist babysitter

Friday, September 26 2014, 20:00 BST
Chloe* was betrayed by a friend in the worst possible way...

"As a hard-working student, getting pregnant at the age of 20 hadn't been my plan, but my little boy was my world.

After Owen* was born in August 2010, his dad wasn't around, so it was difficult to juggle studying with a newborn baby.

So when Philip Barnaby, an old and trusted family friend, offered to regularly babysit just after Owen's first birthday, I thought it was the perfect solution.

He was always there when I needed him and my little angel loved him – he even called him 'Uncle Phil'.

Chloe*, My toddler jailed his rapist babysitter

© Emily Hannah

Chloe's toddler jailed his rapist babysitter



But two years later, a social worker got in touch and told me that Phil wasn't allowed to babysit any more.

She said I had to make sure he didn't go near Owen – but she wouldn't explain why.

I didn't understand, and I was sure there had been a mix-up.

But when I found Owen crying in the kitchen about a year ago, the truth came crashing down.

He told me "Uncle Phil" had hurt him and I listened in horror as Owen described in childlike terms what Phil had done.

I felt sick as I realised the monster had raped my baby.

I promised Owen that Phil was gone, he'd never hurt him again.

My hands shook as I called the police. They sent an officer, DC Lynsey Eglington, straight round and Phil was arrested.

It was only then that social services explained why they had intervened.

A man had come to them after seeing Phil in town with Owen, and told them Phil had sexually abused him as a child.

I had delivered my baby straight into the hands of a perverted paedophile.

I sobbed as I realised how Owen had changed in the last few months. He was withdrawn and freaked out around men, even his own grandad.

Lynsey spent months with Owen to gain his trust and get the evidence needed.

I wasn't allowed to talk to him about his time with the police, to make sure that his statements were entirely his own.

It was torture. All I wanted to do was comfort my baby, but Owen was so brave. He called the judge the 'boss' and compared himself to his hero – Jake the Neverland Pirate. He told me he had to do his 'special job' and tell the 'boss' the truth.

But we could barely walk down the street without Owen becoming afraid as we passed places Phil had taken him.

Phil denied everything, meaning the case would be heard before a jury.

Aged three, Owen was the youngest person ever to be called to give evidence in court.

But in April, while the jury were being sworn in at Teeside Crown Court, Phil, 55, pleaded guilty. He confessed to raping my son and sexually assaulting another child in the late 90s and 2000s.

I was so relieved to hear that Owen would no longer have to give evidence.

I looked at the man I had once trusted as I read out my victim impact statement in court and called him a monster.

I wept as the judge jailed my little boy's rapist for 15-and-a-half years. He deserved to rot in hell.

We've now moved 300 miles away to give Owen a fresh start and new memories.

I don't know if I'll ever get over the guilt of letting a sick paedophile near my baby, but I'm so proud of Owen for having the strength to put him behind bars."

By Sophie Morgan

IF YOU NEED HELP

For confidential advice and support contact Rape Crisis on 0808 802 9999 and rapecrisis.org.uk

If you would like to tell your story please email reporteveryrape@revealmagazine.co.uk

Show your support and join us on twitter @revealmag #reporteveryrape

Report Every Rape: Raped by a minicab driver

Friday, September 19 2014, 20:00 BST
Nicola*, 24, was brutally attacked on her way home from a night out...

"To this day, there are still certain smells that send me into a state of panic. The Red Bull he was drinking that night, the aftershave he was wearing, even the perfume I had on.

They take me back to that moment when I was lying there, numb with shock, as he raped me in the back of his taxi.

Nicola*, Raped by a minicab driver

© Ruby Black

Nicola* was raped by a minicab driver



That night, I'd been out clubbing with friends and, like many other 19-year-olds, it was the early hours of the next morning by the time we drunkenly stumbled out, hungry and ready for bed.

Just as we were about to call a taxi, a private hire minicab pulled up. The driver agreed to drop my friend Sam* at her home in Leeds and then take me to Bradford. He even said he'd take us to McDonald's first to get some food.

Soon after, we arrived at Sam's house. 'Text me as soon as you're home so I know you're OK,' she said.

The taxi drove on and the next thing I knew, we were stopping at a newsagents. 'I'm thirsty,' he said. 'Do you want anything?'

I asked for a Lucozade, thinking it might help sober me up. But when he handed it to me, I was vaguely aware that the seal had already been broken. Halfway through drinking it, I realised it tasted weird and stopped. Not for a moment did I think he'd spiked my drink with vodka.

At some point, Sam called my mobile. 'Where are you?' she asked worriedly. Before I could answer, the driver called out: 'She wants to come back to my house.'

Things were becoming more blurry but I recall Sam going mad, shouting at him to take me straight home and he seemed to give in. I put my phone back in my bag and quickly the streets grew more familiar.

But at the last minute, he didn't turn into my street. Instead, he pulled up outside a hotel, urinated in the car park and climbed into the back of the cab. That's when I started to scream.

But in the early hours of a cold winter morning, there was no one around to hear. He pushed me onto my back and climbed on top of me. My whole body froze, and I blacked out.

When I came round, he was still on top of me. I could hear him but I couldn't feel him. It was like my body, my mind, my ability to talk, everything was paralysed.

I passed out again. When he was done, he got back in his seat and began driving really fast. I became hysterical, convinced he was going to rape me again or even kill me.

As he rounded a bend, I tried to jump out. He screeched to a halt and threw me out on the pavement, naked from the waist down, followed by my handbag.

I lay there crying until an elderly man found me and called the police. It turned out they were already looking for me. Sam had been on the phone and had heard everything. She'd called the police and had recorded my whole ordeal as evidence. It is something I will always be grateful for.

Just a couple of days later, the police arrested Mohammed Shazad. Though the evidence was strong, he denied rape. When I stood up in court, his barrister called me a liar and I felt isolated and frightened all over again.

But in June 2010 the verdict came in – guilty. I broke down, overwhelmed to know that people had believed me. Shazad, then 36, was sentenced to nine years.

It's been a tough few years since, but with counselling, I've finally realised that although the attack will always be a part of me, I won't let it take over my life."

IF YOU NEED HELP

For confidential advice and support contact Rape Crisis on 0808 802 9999 and rapecrisis.org.uk

If you would like to tell your story please email reporteveryrape@revealmagazine.co.uk

Show your support and join us on twitter @revealmag #reporteveryrape

'Report Every Rape: Raped by the man who adopted me'

Thursday, September 11 2014, 20:00 BST
Jodie Chapman, 20, was delighted when she and her sister finally found a family. But just a year later, her new dad betrayed her in the worst way possible…

"I was nine and my younger sister Kirsty was four, when we were adopted by Bernard Chapman and his wife Valda. Our mum had been unable to cope and it was such a relief to be out of foster care and to finally feel loved, settled and wanted.

Which makes what Bernard, now 64, did an even bigger betrayal. Because when I was just 10 – a year after my life as his daughter began – he violated me in the worst way possible.

Jodie Chapman, Raped by the man who adopted me

© Clare Bruce

Jodie was raped by her adopted father



At the start, family life was everything I'd dreamed it would be. We moved into a big house in the Monmouthshire countryside and for the first time ever, we had our own bedrooms. There was a garden to play in, pet dogs, and holidays abroad. Although to a lot of people this might sound normal, for us it was heaven.

My adoptive parents ran their own business and Dad worked away during the week. When he was home, he gave me his undivided attention. It wasn't long before I was a complete daddy's girl.

After a year, our relationship changed. Kirsty and I had been playing outside but when we ran back in, my sister grabbed the doorframe to pull off her wellies. Without thinking, I slammed the door, trapping her thumb. I felt terrible but Mum reassured me it was just an accident and took Kirsty to A&E.

She was kept in hospital overnight, so Mum stayed with her and Dad looked after me at home. He sat on the sofa, while I danced around the living room.

Smiling, he tapped his lap and said: 'Give me a cuddle.'

I clambered up but then he started touching my privates over my pink Eeyore nightdress. For a second I froze, then, confused and scared, I leapt off and
ran upstairs.

The next morning, Dad didn't say a word. But a fortnight later, when everyone else was in bed, he flicked the TV onto a pornographic channel. My eyes widened as I took in the writhing bodies.

He told me to lie down and then forced himself on – in – me. I'd never felt pain like it but, try as I might, I couldn't get free.

When it was over, he told me to shower. I rushed to the bathroom and threw up.

For Kirsty's sake, I didn't breathe a word. She was happy in our new home and I didn't want to drag her back to foster care.

Jodie Chapman, Raped by the man who adopted me

© Clare Bruce

At first, Jodie's home was a happy one



But her happiness came at a price. From then on, Dad raped me whenever he got chance. Although I hated how it felt, I began to think it was normal.

To keep me sweet, he'd buy me gifts. When I was 13, Mum spotted me in red lipstick and went mad at him for buying it. He told her he'd bin it but instead he kept it and made me wear it when he abused me.

As I grew up, I began to realise what Dad was doing was wrong and tried to avoid him at all costs, making excuses or pretending I was asleep. But if I didn't do what he wanted, then he'd make life a living hell for all three of us.

It was only when I was 19 that the truth came out.

Mum and I were arguing about a couple I knew. The 21-year-old man was dating a 13-year-old girl. I thought it was normal but Mum was appalled.

'What if they're having sex?' she asked. 'Your sister is that age and her body isn't properly developed. What would you do if an older man was having sex with her?'

'Dad's been doing it to me for years,' I blurted out.

'Think about what you're saying,' Mum warned, tearing up. 'Because if that's true, it's going to blow this whole family apart.'

'I'm not lying,' I croaked, desperate for her to believe me.

Jodie Chapman, Raped by the man who adopted me

© Clare Bruce

Bernard pretended to be a loving father



She ran to the bathroom and I could hear her throw up. When she returned, I told her everything.

'Why didn't you tell me? I could have protected you,' she sobbed. She couldn't help but blame herself.

Mum and Dad had been married for 23 years. They were best friends and business partners. Now she knew Dad wasn't the man she thought he was. For 10 years he'd pretended to be a protective father and doting husband, but it was all a lie.

Dad came into the bedroom and Mum confronted him, then phoned the police.

'You spiteful bitch,' he spat at me.

He was arrested but denied everything. He even took a lie detector test but it said he was lying on all counts.

At Cardiff Crown Court, Bernard Chapman pleaded not guilty to four counts of raping a child under 13, six counts of rape and four counts of sexual activity with a child.

I broke down as I gave evidence from behind a screen and the court heard how his crimes were made worse by the use of coercion and threats against me.

Dad was found guilty on all 14 charges and jailed for 18 years. I wept with relief.

Mum, Kirsty and I never want anything to do with him again but we won't let his actions tear us apart. They're my real family, the ones who love me and are helping me rebuild my life."

By Harriet Rose-Gale

SIGN REVEAL'S PETITION

We are calling on the Government to provide more funding for special support workers for rape victims.

Report Every Rape logo

© Reveal

Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVAs) are critical in providing support and knowledge to any victim who has chosen to report their attacker and may then face the harrowing ordeal of a trial and cross-examination in the witness box.


There are currently only 180 ISVAs and they are greatly overstretched.

We require 100,000 signatures to get our petition heard in the House of Commons, so we need your help.

To make this happen, we ask that you tell your friends, family and colleagues about our campaign and share it on Facebook and Twitter.

Click here to sign now and show your support. Thank you!

IF YOU NEED HELP

For confidential advice and support contact Rape Crisis on 0808 802 9999 and rapecrisis.org.uk

If you would like to tell your story please email reporteveryrape@revealmagazine.co.uk

Show your support and join us on twitter @revealmag #reporteveryrape

'Report Every Rape: Don't let them get away with it'

Thursday, August 28 2014, 20:00 BST
Laura*, 39, was barely a teen when she was attacked twice. Encouraged to drop charges, she has lived with regret every day since…

"If I could go back 25 years in time, I'd tell my teenage self to be brave and bring those who attacked me to justice.

But at the time, I was just 14 years old, terrified and traumatised after being raped twice in the space of a year. Though I'd reported the attacks, it was actually the police and my mum who encouraged me not to take it any further.

Laura*, Don't let them get away with it

© Maria Kruger

Laura* was raped twice when she was just a teen



It's something I've always regretted. Because what if they'd gone on to attack other girls? It makes me feel sick even to think about it.

The first time I was attacked, I was 13. I was at a local funfair with some friends when a boy, three years older, started to talk to me and I lost them. At first he was friendly, but then his tone changed as he pointed to another girl. 'My girlfriend will beat you up if she sees us talking,' he said.

I don't know why I didn't shout for help as he ushered me to a group of trees and pulled out a knife. I was a virgin – being raped didn't even occur to me. I was terrified he was going to kill me. So it was even more of a shock when he pulled up my skirt and climbed on top of me.

As he forced himself inside me, all I could think was how much trouble I'd be in for getting home late. When he eventually finished I ran home in a daze and hid my clothes in the bottom of my wardrobe.

Barely able to understand what had happened, I kept my mouth closed and tried to deal with it alone. I suffered from terrible nightmares and had to force myself to go out. Occasionally I'd see the bloke who'd attacked me. He even tried to say hello a couple of times, which only made me more confused.

Slowly, I pulled myself back together, buried it deep inside.

But a year later, I was walking to a friend's house one afternoon when I bumped into him again, with a group of lads. They started to talk to me as I walked by. 'I have to go,' I said, my heart quickening. 'No, you don't,' they said, pushing me into a nearby house.

Inside, they shoved and groped me. By the time they pulled my top over my head so I couldn't see, I was sobbing and begging them to let me go.

Eventually, a lady came into the room but instead of helping me, she just told me to get out. As I stumbled onto the street, the boys followed, pushing me down an alley and laughing and jeering. 'Who wants a go first?' they asked. I was shaking with fear as they pinned me down and one of them raped me.

I was saved by a passing couple who chased the boys away. They helped me to my friend's house, where they called my mum and the police.

The day passed by in a blur. I was examined and doctors discovered I'd contracted chlamydia. But when I told the police who had attacked me, they shook their heads. Apparently these boys were part of a well-known gang but they were so violent, everyone was too scared to press charges. Including, as it turned out, my mother.

I was devastated. At that time I didn't know what dropping the charges would mean. But now I do. Now I know they probably went on to rape other girls.

That they got away without being brought to justice.

I can't go back and tell my 14-year-old self. But I can tell other rape victims. Don't let them get away with it. Report your rape."

SIGN REVEAL'S PETITION

We are calling on the Government to provide more funding for special support workers for rape victims.

Report Every Rape logo

© Reveal

Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVAs) are critical in providing support and knowledge to any victim who has chosen to report their attacker and may then face the harrowing ordeal of a trial and cross-examination in the witness box.


There are currently only 180 ISVAs and they are greatly overstretched.

We require 100,000 signatures to get our petition heard in the House of Commons, so we need your help.

To make this happen, we ask that you tell your friends, family and colleagues about our campaign and share it on Facebook and Twitter.

Click here to sign now and show your support. Thank you!

IF YOU NEED HELP

For confidential advice and support contact Rape Crisis on 0808 802 9999 and rapecrisis.org.uk

If you would like to tell your story please email reporteveryrape@revealmagazine.co.uk

Show your support and join us on twitter @revealmag #reporteveryrape

'Fiance raped me while my toddler watched'

Saturday, August 16 2014, 20:00 BST
Kim Oliver, 25, from Northampton, was attacked by the man she planned to marry

"Reporting the man who raped me was one of the hardest things I've ever done. Although I knew in my head it was the right thing to do, my heart was begging me not to.

Because I was in love with him – he was my fiancé.

I met John Mills in October 2008, shortly after having my son, Steven. Kind, funny and a great listener, I fell head over heels within weeks. Just three months later he moved in and watching him play with Steven for hours only made me love him more.

Kim Oliver, My fiance raped me - while my toddler watched

© Maria Kruger

Kim's son watched as her fiance raped her



So when he proposed to me in February 2009, in a room filled with flower petals and candles, of course I said yes. I thought I'd found my fairytale happy ending.

But just a month later, the police called. John had been arrested for driving without a licence or insurance. And to make matters worse, he'd violated his probation.

I was shocked – he'd never told me he'd been to jail.

When I confronted John, he explained he'd been convicted of killing his dog. Upset, he said it had been hit by a car and he was just stopping it from suffering.

When he'd moved in with me, he hadn't given police his new address, thus violating his probation. So now, he was going to jail.

It seemed unfair he was going to prison for what he'd done and I promised to stand by him.

Over the next five months, I visited him weekly until, in August 2009, he was freed.

But he wasn't the happy man I'd fallen in love with. He'd become paranoid and jealous, questioning what I was wearing and convinced the neighbours were spying on us.

On Christmas Day 2010, after Steven went to bed, John turned dark and brooding. We started rowing and suddenly he slammed my head against a wooden chair.

I was stunned – and so was he. John apologised again and again. Angry and hurt, I went up to bed.

The next morning, still upset, I brushed off his attempt to hug me. But as I climbed out of bed, John grabbed my hair and dragged me back.

Pressing a pillow over my face, he beat me black and blue, then started pulling off my clothes. I begged him to stop. But nothing could stop him from raping me.

Struggling to breathe, I turned my head to one side.

As I did, my heart froze. My two-year-old son was in the doorway, watching.

I panicked, but no matter how hard I struggled, I couldn't get free. All I could do was close my eyes and pray he'd walk away.

The next time I opened them, he'd gone.

After an hour of hitting and raping me, John finally stopped.

I grabbed some clothes, then hurried to Steven. 'Everything's fine, baby,' I whispered reassuringly.

In a calm voice, I told John I was going to the shops. As soon as I was outside, I called the police.

They took a statement and transferred me to hospital to be examined. The whole time, I felt sick. The man whose hideous actions I was describing was the man I'd wanted to spend my life with.

Meanwhile, police went to my flat and found John had washed his clothes and our bedding. He was arrested but denied assaulting and raping me.

Nearly a year later, in April 2012, I refused a screen and gave evidence in front of John and the jury. I wanted him to see my face, acknowledge what he'd put me through.

But there was no remorse. It was like he was someone else.

John was found guilty, sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in jail and put on the sex offenders' register for life. I was glad I'd got justice but also devastated I'd lost the man I'd once loved.

Eighteen months have passed and I live with the worry of how it has affected my son. He was always so good before, but now he's prone to moods and violent tantrums. Only time will tell the long-term impact.

I'll still never understand how the man I was willing to spend my life with could hurt me so brutally.

And if he could, so could anyone."

SIGN REVEAL'S PETITION

We are calling on the Government to provide more funding for special support workers for rape victims.

Report Every Rape logo

© Reveal

Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVAs) are critical in providing support and knowledge to any victim who has chosen to report their attacker and may then face the harrowing ordeal of a trial and cross-examination in the witness box.

There are currently only 180 ISVAs and they are greatly overstretched.

We require 100,000 signatures to get our petition heard in the House of Commons, so we need your help.

To make this happen, we ask that you tell your friends, family and colleagues about our campaign and share it on Facebook and Twitter.

Click here to sign now and show your support. Thank you!

IF YOU NEED HELP

For confidential advice and support contact Rape Crisis on 0808 802 9999 and rapecrisis.org.uk

If you would like to tell your story, completely anonymously, please email reporteveryrape@revealmagazine.co.uk

Show your support and join us on twitter @revealmag #reporteveryrape