A woman who was raped at 17 had to go through one of the most horrific ordeals imaginable. Yet, when she turned to the police, who have a responsibility to seek justice on her behalf, they threatened her with charges and claimed she was lying.
The woman, who has remained anonymous, attempted suicide after she was let down by Hampshire police. Speaking to the BBC, her mother explained how her daughter told police officers that there was a possibility of finding forensic evidence on her t-shirt. However, police officers “weren’t very sympathetic”, and did not complete the necessary procedures.
Her mother explained:
When a woman comes forward and tells the police authority she has been raped, you expect them to do everything they can to put the rapist away.
Her mother believes the attitude of the officers was down to the fact that her daughter had been in trouble with the police in the past.
The whole ordeal was too much to handle for her daughter, who suffers from mental health problems, resulting in her attempting suicide on two occasions. However, four months after her arrest, detectives visited her after finally believing her story. Astonishing.
Eventually the t-shirt was tested. and as a result, the rapist was charged, convicted and jailed for five years.
After the conviction, the woman understandably began proceedings against Hampshire Constabulary using the Human Rights Act, and the police decided to settle out of court. They then launched official investigations into the officers on the case. One was given a written warning and three others were allowed to resign or retire.
Her Mother told the BBC:
I think it is disgusting. If you’re in the middle of an investigation and you’ve been named, they shouldn’t let you resign or retire, because you are answerable to that.
I’m glad that they have admitted that they were wrong. But if it can happen to my daughter, how many more can it happen to?
Hampshire Constabulary have issued an apology, stating that the initial handling of the case was ‘poor’, and assured that all victims of sexual assault would be taken seriously in the future.
I’m sure it would be a different story if the woman in question actually committed suicide.