The Reality of a Rape Allegation

I can’t sleep…

I should be able to as I have just finished a 14 hour night shift and spent the last three hours of it fighting to keep my eyes open. That was my own fault to some extent as I chose not to give up some quality time with the kids over getting that couple of hours of preparatory snooze time that has become more and more essential over the last few years. To be honest, I would probably have still been hanging by half past eight regardless of whether I had slept or not. It was one of those nights…

All started much as was expected. The briefing was pretty mundane and cut short as usual by some over-dramatised call about a noisy party spilling out into the street.

Anonymous caller reporting 20-30 fighting in the alleyway and car park behind their address….no descriptions…any Team 3 call sign available to attend’

Three double-crewed cars were dispatched, leaving their virtually untouched builders tea on the table to go cold (again) and that was half the team on their way to the other side of the district. The briefing was abandoned as it was mostly old information anyway and those of us who remained were given ten minutes to finish our drinks and check emails before getting kicked out into the night with the usual instruction not to return until that illusive entity known as our ‘provisional meal time’.

My crew-mate and I spent the next few hours trying to resolve a few outstanding enquiries from our crime accounts and hunting for local ‘do-no-gooders’ or drink-drivers. We got dispatched to a few routine jobs along the way, but nothing too taxing or remotely prisoner-worthy. Soon enough it was 02:15 and time to start meandering our way back toward the station to get something to eat…a bag of Haribo had filled a hole, but we were in need of something a little more substantial.

Those of you with any experience of Policing knows what was about to happen…

‘Mike Oscar Four Four…Immediate call to College Green…female reporting sexual assault by a named offender…believed to be her ex-partner…please respond’

We looked at each-other as the details of the incident came in. We shouldn’t be immediately cynical, but we were. That cynicism didn’t change the way we responded to the call or the victim or dealt with the situation in any way, it’s just an unfortunate side effect of being used as a weapon by one person against another on many, many occasions.

In a matter of minutes we were there and soon found a mildly intoxicated girl in her early 20’s with make-up all over her face from crying. She told us about what had happened and disclosed enough information for us to realise we needed to start putting lots of things in place. My crew-mate turned to me as we got the tape from the boot of the car…

‘I think this is a real one’

she said….and I agreed. We identified a scene and confirmed the details of the suspect (an ex-partner from a few months ago). Due to the nature of the offence and the fact that it had been committed in a public place we were going to need at least two officers to remain there…two of us with the victim…four officers to go and arrest the suspect and search his address for clothing and a couple of items belonging to the victim that he still had…on-call CID…separate on-call scenes of crime officers for the victim and the scene and the offender…and that was just the basics!

Our team’s numbers and chances of eating anything for the foreseeable future were immediately decimated.

We went back to the station where we waited for and then briefed the DC that would be looking after the victim as well as arranging for replacement clothing to be provided by a family member before starting the long process of documenting everything that had been said and done and preparing the evidence for the forthcoming investigation. Much as we wanted to get back out there it just wasn’t possible…

While we wrote, photographed, typed and taped up evidence bags we could hear the remaining two Team 3 officers getting dragged from pillar to post, all over the city trying to do the work of ten  whilst trying to prevent the wheel coming off. It was a losing battle and the call to dispatch times got longer and longer…there were people waiting over an hour for Police to arrive at an intruder alarm or a fight and victims of burglaries being told that there was simply no one available to attend until the morning.

Two stolen cars were picked up going through the ANPR cameras within five miles of the nick but there was no one to stop them driving off into the night as traffic were all up on the motorway dealing with a life-threatening crash and our car was out in one of the villages trying to find a suspicious van linked to cable thefts.

Before we knew it the time was half past five and each job was taking longer and longer to achieve…still, we believed had done something worthwhile and that made it worth it. A victim had been helped and the offender for a particularly vile offence was now in custody being examined.

Quarter past six arrived and the scribbling was done so on went the kettle and I reluctantly put my last 60p in the vending machine in the canteen for a packet of crisps to try to stop my stomach growling. I returned to the office to find my crew-mate on the phone…a look of disbelief on her face. She hung up the phone and gave me the update.

We had, with 45 minutes to go, been tasked to go and get a statement from the victim’s boyfriend who had witnessed the assault we were dealing with. My immediate reaction was that this was completely unnecessary and something that could be left until the day shift came in, but then I got the full story.

Our so-called ‘victim’ had just broken down during her video interview and told the DC that she had gone willingly into the park where the offence occurred with her ex-boyfriend after a row in a club between the ex and her current man over an alleged affair she had been having with the ex for the last month.

Once in the park, one thing had led to another and they had started ‘doing the business’ (as she had put it) behind the monument not far from the road. A short time later her boyfriend had found them in this compromising position and in a moment of regret and drunken stupidity she had pushed the ex away and started screaming at him in an attempt to convince her boyfriend that the ex had forced her into it and that she actually still loved him.

Understandably the ex had decided that this wasn’t worth the hassle and walked away. This was, understandably, an opinion shared by the current boyfriend who also walked off, leaving the ‘victim’ alone in the park. Such was her desire to prove herself to her current boyfriend, and presumably to ease her guilt at being a little to keen to drop her knickers with the ex, she decided to call the Police and report the assault as this would obviously get him into coming back to her.

The initial reaction of the suspect on being arrested was to insist that this exact scenario was the case and to relentlessly protest his innocence through a mixture of anger and tears of desperation. It appeared that his protests were completely vindicated!

Two and a half hours later the statement was complete and completely exonerated the suspect. No mention of the boyfriend had been made by anyone prior to the confession of the ‘victim’. This made it all the more frustrating…

The poor guy in custody had been woken by Police, nicked for rape in front of his parents and his sister, been taken to a Police station, stripped, searched, swabbed and stuck in a cell for seven hours. He must have been completely destroyed by the implications of what was happening to him. I have to say that I would happily have stayed longer to deal with the female when she got back to the Police station just to see her get what she deserves and to look her in the face as the charges, that I hope will follow, are read out to her.

Sexual assaults are some of the most debilitating offences for the victims. The effects can be life-changing and long-lasting. Unfortunately these offences are also some of the most commonly mis-reported as well as being massively under-reported.
I hope that no one will read this and form the opinion that allegations of rape are not taken seriously by me or others who do this job, or that victims of genuine assaults will not be believed.

This is simply not the case.

We, as Police, will always deal with an allegation of rape or sexual assault as genuine until it can be proved genuine or not. The comprehensive investigation detailed above demonstrates that. However false allegations such as this can easily result in innocent parties being charged with offences they haven’t committed as there is an inherent difficulty in proving that, as would have been the case in this incident, consent was given when the victim says otherwise.

Forensics can easily prove that sex happened which is great if the suspect denies it, but in cases like this where it is only consent that is the issue, things can so easily go wrong.

Unfortunately cases like this are part of the reason that many officers, including myself, inevitably develop a slightly dubious initial attitude to these types of incident. It doesn’t affect the way we do our job, that would be catastrophic for the victims of genuine assaults, but it’s always there at the back of our minds – that’s human nature. I look forward to seeing what happened when I get back on duty tonight…

Hopefully getting this down on [electronic] paper will remove the anger and frustration from my mind allow me to calm down and sleep for a while now. It would be nice to be all fresh-faced and awake for the excitement of the night ahead!

About MinimumCover

UK Police Officer and Blogger View all posts by MinimumCover

18 responses to “The Reality of a Rape Allegation

  • matt timson (@matt_timson)

    Silly cow.

    1- If she now (quite rightly) gets into trouble for what she’s done, it will put genuine victims off reporting a rape, for fear that if they’re not believed, they’ll be in trouble too.

    2- had it gone any further than it did, an innocent man’s live would’ve been ruined (and, in fact, he’ll probably find that the words, “no smoke without fire,” will follow him around for a long time in any case).

    • bob glob

      Speaking as someone abused by a pedophile, it’s not false accusers who kept me from reporting the abuse. It’s people like you, who treat all accusations with skepticism, and heap sympathy on people accused of rape instead of on the accusers.

      • lucas

        excuse me if I treat accusations with skepticism,it’s just,y’know,a person is innocent until proven guilty.

  • Roberta Sandolval

    Great post.

    There needs to be more serious consequences for women who falsely cry rape. The damage these women do to the innocent men accused as well as genuine rape victims cannot be overestimated.

    • Red Admiral

      Trouble is, make the punishment for false allegations too condign and the perpetrator is less likely to withdraw them, for fear of doing time. Don’t know how you square the circle on this one.

    • Blackrat

      Not just women – men that cry rape also.
      Unfortunately it is the case that about 90% of reported sexual assaults are false.
      You are quite right that when the words “known offender” “ex partner” are mentioned there is doubt in the back of everyone’s minds I think. However it doesn’t stop any of us doing our job, being there to support the victim and do what we can. It is our job to collect the evidence.
      If/when there is evidence to suggest otherwise quite rightly whoever has made a false allegation should be charged with wasting time, obstruct or pervert. They were prepared to ruin someone’s life over that allegation, not to mention the hours of police time wasted when we could have dealt with genuine victims who have been left without police attendance because of them.
      On the flip side I don’t doubt that there are a number of cases that arnt reported for fear of reprisal or disbelief, it is also embarrassing for the victim to be further prodded and probed after a traumatising event. However I can’t urge enough those genuine victims to come forward, you don’t have to suffer in silence, we can help you get through that traumatic event. It won’t make it go away but it can ease the pain knowing that someone was brought to justice and prevented another person being hurt.

      • Blackrat

        Just read my post back, When I say “about 90%” they arnt actual stats but based on my dealings and knowledge of all the cases I’ve heard of across my force and read about over the past few years.
        Anyone that has the courage to report these genuine incidents or speak to police if someone else reports it deserves a medal in my book.

      • bob glob

        “Unfortunately it is the case that about 90% of reported sexual assaults are false.”

        No. No it isn’t. You made that up. People like you are the reason victims don’t come forward. You clearly have more sympathy for rapists than for rape victims.

        • Blackrat

          You need to read what has actually been written! I knew someone would read that badly hence the post I put afterwards saying in my experience! 90% of cases I’ve dealt with and those across my force!
          I DO NOT have sympathy for rapists and I can’t see a single person here saying that!
          I have sympathy for the people who have suffered those traumatic events.
          I have sympathy for those WRONGLY accused. Even as I have myself have gone through the mill when I was young I can still say I have sympathy for those who have suffered. But NOT EVER those who have committed those offences. I didn’t have the guts to tell my own family as a girl and that’s not because of police or judgement as I wasn’t aware of it then!
          Really read what ppl have written !! I don’t know how u can read what anyone has written here and take it any other way than the supportive way to real victims that it was meant.

  • OnCallPaul

    And in this case the real victim is the ex who will have the fact of the arrest potentially show up on his CRB check years from now. Imagine how he explains that to the administrators at his local kids football team when he offers to help out, or the cubs/scouts?

    And think of all the genuine victims who couldn’t be helped that night because of her drunken folly.

    Difficult, and frustrating.

  • Thismrsb

    As a victim of rape myself, I am disgusted by the behaviour of this stupid, stupid girl.
    I was so petrified that no one would believe me I didn’t want to tell anyone and had it not been for someone else reporting it, I may never have told.
    As it happened, I knew my attacker enough to positively identified him. He was never convicted due to “insufficient evidence” and he walks free. Idiots like you have described here , infuriate me. If people didn’t cry false rape perhaps the prosecution and conduction of real rapists would fit the crime better. Perhaps her punishment should be to sit with a real rape victim and hear how life destroying it is to never be able to go out alone,, put the rubbish out in the dark, to never trust a man EVER, or to live their lives so closely guarded that those they love (parents, siblings, children) never know if your smile is a genuine one or not. Or maybe she’d like to hear the sexual dysfunction of a real rape victim, how a man even looking at me makes my skin crawl and that the last 15 years of my life have been spent in therapy, on anti depressants and at times inflicting harm to myself. I wonder if she would like to know and understand how it feels to have to scald her skin in every shower or bath because everyday you wake up you can still feel his bodily fluids on you, his smell surrounds you and you can still feel his skin under your nails?

    She is despicable.

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  • bookalicious1

    There are so many points here that need to be mentioned:-

    1. To me, the least important but still important is for the public to see why we can’t make their burglary call, for the very reasons you mention. If we could tell them more then maybe they might still be annoyed, but would understand more.

    2. The poor guy who was accused of the rape. His life must have been and still possibly is hell. I’m not sure of the exact points of CRB checks but I hope this does not show up and affect his possiblity of ever applying for a job or something else. I really feel for him. If it does show up then it shouldn’t!

    3. From a females point of view, this has a detremental effect on other women who may want to report a rape like the brave “Thismrsb”. I hope I never have to experience such a hateful crime, but it must be so hard to tell someone, not helped by selfish women like this one who cried rape. Thismrsb, I am so sorry you went through this. As a woman I just can’t imagine how awful it must be.

    4. This girl needs a severe punishment but probably wont get one. She has used up valuable police resources that could otherwise have been used elsewhere. She has ruined someone elses life, just to cover her own arse just because she wants to spread her love about. I could say more about her but I’m afraid the page would turn blue.

    5. Would a good deterrent, rather than a smack on the hand, or a fine, or a caution or someother worthless punishment, be for her to have to sit in a room full of women who have been raped, and listen to their heart wrenching stories? Or possibly serve some community service working for a rape crisis centre or something similar? It won’t happen but would possibly be more effective. There should also be some sort of police fund where people could be made to pay compensation for wasting valuable resources, especially in times of severe cuts.

    I can truly understand why officers are often very sceptical as you say, as a lot of cry’s of rape are hoaxes, and then when a genuine one comes along it is so hard to get a conviction and I think this is why so many rapes go unreported. I could go on about the CPS but that’s a whole other post!

    Well done to all you hard working officers for your dedication with incidents like this, and everything else you do. I just work in a control room, but admire you so much as colleagues.

    • bob glob

      So you remember the handful of false accusations and not the boatloads of real ones?

      If you let events like this color your judgment, then the problem lies with you.

      • MinimumCover

        Bob,

        It is a sad fact that the false accusations do indeed outnumber the genuine by quite some margin in my experience (and that of the specialist team who work from our nick and cover nearly half the county who I spoke with at length in prep for this post).
        Judgements and actions at an incident are not coloured by this unfortunate statistic and I think bookalicious makes some very relevant points. It appears to me like you may even have missed the point being made to some extent.
        I can remember dozens of false accusations but only two real rapes over the last decade. I remember them all, false or not, and still treat every new case as genuine unless it is proven otherwise.
        Have you read the comments of Thismrsb who is a victim of such a crime and agrees with the sentiments of both myself and bookalicious?

  • MOP

    I have been on the wrong end of a false rape accuseation

    in 2010, my ex-wife accused me of orally raping her in 2006, then she says that she consented to intercourse.

    The police did not ask key questions during her interview and I was charged.
    When the police got around to investigating properly, they sat on evidance for two months before the actual day of my trial, when they handed this over the CPS realised that their was no case and the judge found me not guiltly (a fact that I am thankful for as it means I cannot be tried again)

    The police were not neutral and to this day I have yet to recieve an apology.

    Short version is that when a women cries rape, the police should look at all the evidance anfd if story has no basis in fact charge the women with wasting police team

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