READER REPORT:

'The system forgot me'

NAME WITHHELD
Last updated 05:00 22/12/2013

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It's one of the cornerstones of our modern society that things are instantaneous. We get what we want, when we want it. It is not uncommon for us to buy items on credit. Could we be so bold as to assume that this outlook on life could be applied to sex as well?

I was raped at 14. Now 25, I'm a very different person than I would have otherwise been. I'm proud of whom I've become - educated with a good job and a fantastic boyfriend with whom I own a house.

I'm genuinely happy with what I have achieved. Despite this, I have zero faith in the justice system, and am cynical of almost everything.

It was only around the time of the 10-year anniversary of my experience that I truly understood what happened to me. Through all of the counselling and support I had, there was still an element of "it was my fault". I have since come to realise, that through his actions, this is exactly what he wanted me to feel.

This was a friend, someone who I trusted enough to allow into my home. I am passive by nature, always have been, and just because I did not retaliate does not mean I was not terrified. I was afraid that if I said no, he would become violent.

What he was doing to me left much less physical evidence than a black eye or broken jaw. But there are still scenarios I do not feel comfortable in, songs I cannot listen too, and I suffer from anxiety in the strangest places. I believe these are markers of post-traumatic stress disorder. I am still healing.

Months after the incident my parents discovered my horrible secret. They did what any parent could, took me to the police station to report it. They went through all of the correct channels to offer me counselling and support from school as I was failing in my classes due to severe depression that was causing me to turn to drugs, alcohol and self-harm.

The police were fantastic, gentle and caring with a scared teenager. As it would turn out, the guy was known to police for multiple offences of the same nature. Mine was the strongest case of up to four others.

They were honest though that they could only pin statutory on him due to my passive behaviour during the "alleged indiscretion". They also told me that the defence would tear open every facet of both my life and the incident to expose me as the harlot.

Given my mental state at the time, it was decided against this course of action and to just "move on".

From this point, the system forgot me. I was no longer offered any support, and endured continued suffering; some of the scars, both mental and physical, will never fade. Yet, nothing was done as my case was closed.

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My story is one of many. I fell victim to someone who saw me as a quick fix, an instant transaction. Yet I am the one still paying interest for his actions.

There is the ever-present perception that women must always be accountable and never put themselves in the situation to begin with. It is also common for many rape incidents to be of an opportunistic nature. Could mine have been opportunity evolving into intent? Creation of a monster still out there, somewhere? I hope not.

Which brings us back to my original question: Is our society feeding our instantaneous need for satisfaction?

I told you I was a cynic.


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