How do you deal with a not guilty verdict? You go through the hell of the abuse, the hell of reporting the hell of going to court…..and for what?
I was prepared for a not guilty verdict, I was constantly being told how hard it is to prove historical rape and sexual abuse within a relationship. Still very much believed that rape only happens in a dark alleyway by a stranger and the victim goes straight to the police thus preserving DNA …
Expect questions like:
How come you were able to say no sometimes and not at all times when you didn’t want sex?
Why did you take so long to report?
Why didn’t you do more to stop it?
Cross examination by a defence barrister is not dissimilar to one of those verbal batterings you get from an abusive partner. They confuse you, make you doubt your own testimony, twist the argument so you’re having to defend yourself when you’ve done nothing wrong. I felt like I’d been ripped to pieces after I had given my evidence.
I really do empathise with anyone who decides they’d rather not report their rape. It is such a personal choice. I took the risk to report and I would again. I concluded that I couldn’t live the rest of my life knowing that I hadn’t tried to get justice. I now have to live with failing to get justice.
The police believed me, victim support believed me, my IDVA believed me, witness care and services believed me, the CPS believed me, my counsel believed me ….. The jury did not, although I do get some comfort that it wasn’t a unanimous verdict. I was told that a guilty verdict was ‘the icing on the cake’ , I disagree.
I was repeatedly raped and sexually abused by ex and yet he is walking free. Walking free to do it again. I have to find a way to live with that fact and not let it destroy me. I have to accept he was found not guilty even though the abuse was very real. I’m not sure how to do that.
My suffering, my testimony, my abuse has all been erased by the jury finding him not guilty. I’m left in a terrible limbo land but somehow I need to find that little grain of sparkle in my soul that I can grab hold of and keep going.