The Special Unit

May 23, 2007 at 11:14 am (Uncategorized)

When we arrived at the special unit a woman welcomed me and told me who she was and what would happen. My sister and parents arrived shortly afterwards and the two original police officers gave me their contact details, urged me to call them with any questions and explained they would then be leaving. I sat in a warm room with sofas and my parents and sister soon joined me. There seemed to be a lot of waiting around but I now think this was due to the fact that I was still too inebriated to consent to a medical examination.

When it came to seeing the doctor I was allowed to bring anyone with me but I chose to go alone. The woman who I had first spoken to chaperoned. She introduced me to the doctor, showed me around the room, showed me the instruments that would be used and what they were for. I then sat with the doctor who asked me to explain the attack. He asked questions like how much I had had to drink and whether there had been a struggle between us. When I explained that I couldn’t remember the moment I fell asleep he explained that it was highly unlikely any drug that may have been used would show in any tests because modern ‘date rape’ drugs aren’t detectable immediately after they have been used. At that time I thought he had been sharing the wine with us so I didn’t think he could have drugged me.

The doctor then asked me to step behind a curtain and take off all my clothes while the female chaperone put them into evidence bags. The doctor asked me to stand while he looked for any marks or bruises on my body, then I lay on the examination table. He took a sample of my head hair and of my pubic hair then took swabs from my mouth and my vagina and he talked me through each stage. The examination wasn’t easy, it was very emotional but it wasn’t physically painful.

After the examination I was allowed to have a shower. They had a small bathroom in the building and my mum came with me. It was just like the cliche for me, I couldn’t stop cleaning myself and I really felt there was a constant smell of men’s body odour on me. After a while my mum suggested I come out of the shower and I put on some fresh clothes.

After I was dressed and I went outside for a ciggarette, my sister and brother arrived with my boyfriend. I was really frightened about how he would take it. I suppose I felt ashamed that someone had done that to me. I felt like I would look and smell different to him and that, even though he is the strongest and most loyal man to me, he might not be able to look at me knowing about what had happened. No words were said at all and, without hesitation, my boyfriend put his arms around me and held me. He has held me up ever since.

We were allowed to leave to get some food before my full interview. Two female police officers led me to a room. They explained there was a video camera which would film the interview and two investigative police officers watching the interview on a screen in the next room. For this part I had to be without my family. One of the officers asked most of the questions, the second officer asked me any questions she felt were necessary to clarify and the investigative police officers were given the opportunity to pass on any questions to the female officer that they felt necessary.

I had a lot of concerns about what I would be asked during the interview so I have listed below what I have learned about that from my experience:

  • They should not ask you about your sexual history like who/how many people you have slept with etc.
  • They asked me about my relationship to the rapist and whether there had ever been any sexual contact between us, other than the rape. (There had not)
  • They asked me about times and duration of events. I struggled to remember these because I was drunk but they urged me to estimate times.
  • They asked me to explain my relationship (not sexual) to everyone involved in the incident.
  • They asked me how much I had had to drink and whether I had knowingly taken any narchotics. They explained that I would not be in any legal trouble if I had. (I was drunk but had not taken any drugs)
  • They also asked if that was a normal amount of alcohol for me to drink and at each stage asked “how drunk” I was feeling. (I found it hard to put increments on my inebriation)
  • They asked how I felt about the rapist to gauge, I believe, whether there was any particular like or dislike for eachother. 
  • They never asked me about my job or lifestyle to gauge what sort of person I was.
  • They asked what physical contact myself and the rapist had had immediately before the rape.

After the interview I was introduced to the investigative police officers who gave me their contact details and said they would keep in touch. I explained to them that the brother of the rapist had just come out of prison. I was told that this was for assault and then intimidating the witness after he reported it to the police. In the time I had been there I had also heard from friends that the mother of the rapist had been calling my friends asking them to stop me from giving evidence. The police told me that they would go to the rapist’s family house to tell them that if they did this again they would be charged with intimidating a witness.

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2 Comments

  1. makahta said,

    Your story is so much like what happened to me I was amazed to stumble across it. There is something so healing in seeing your own dark experiences reflected in the life of someone else who has survived and moved forward. Thank you for sharing.

  2. marinaw said,

    hi there, I’m Marina from Objectifythis.com, and i just wanted to say that I really admire your courage in sharing your story, because while rape is a personal narrative, its presence profoundly affects gender culture and the experience that women are subjected to in general.

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