Have rape laws gone too far: ‘A letter to … the girl who accused me of rape when I was 15’

I was 15 and you were 13. Exactly one year and four months apart. But they will say two years because apparently, in months, we are supposed to round up. I had never met you before, even though we went to the same school. After the usual Friday night routine of underage binge drinking and smoking to look cool, we ended up staying over at a mutual friend’s house…

…It was entirely mute apart from the simple, but essential, “Do you want to … ?” and “Yes.”

We parted with closed-mouth kisses and I returned to my mattress to sleep.

I woke up being shaken by my friend’s father and two policemen. They were telling me to get dressed and come with them. I didn’t have a clue what was going on.

One of the officers instructed the other to “bag” my T-shirt so my friend’s dad gave me his to put on; all the while I was being escorted through the house rubbing my eyes and asking what was happening.

Through the living room door, I saw more police comforting you. My friend was shouting something in my defence but it wasn’t until I was being arrested at the side of the police car for rape that I realised what was happening.

The arresting officer held my arm in detention until I finished heaving my stomach on to the street before pushing me into the back of the police car and driving me to the station…

…I never saw you after that night. In the six years since, I have done all I can to block out the horror of not just that night but of every month spent on bail. While the police seemed to hold true to innocent until proven guilty, my friends and their families certainly didn’t. Even when I returned to a you-free school, I never quite recovered. My relationships since have been damaged and I still struggle to trust my partners. I tell practically no one now about what happened, for fear of being perceived as a rapist and because I guess they’d say stories like mine make it harder for real victims of rape to be believed…

…Rape is an abhorrent crime and every victim should be able to report it. But false accusations of rape are abhorrent too, and the victims too easily forgotten. Not only do false allegations damage the life of the victim but they also contribute to the trivialisation of the seriousness of genuine sexual violence.

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