CHESHIRE Constabulary is driving home the message ‘rape shatters lives, there is no excuse’ through a video featuring a young female victim.
The woman, whose anonymity has been protected, was supported by the force’s Dedicated Rape Unit, which has been operating for more than a year.
Cheshire police released the video now, with the victim silhouetted, because historically the number of rapes and sexual assaults show a rise during the winter months.
The rape victim tells how the experience, which began when she was a teenager, shattered her life.
Referred to by the fictitious name of ‘Sasha’, she said: “I was young and I thought I was in a normal relationship and although I didn’t think what he was doing was right, I didn’t really know he shouldn’t be doing that in a relationship. It is only now that I am coming out of it that I now see how bad it was.”
Sasha explained how she went to the police a lot during the relationship.
“I’d been given cards and things with numbers on and other information from the police including call this number if you have been a victim and things,” she said.
“To be honest I never did, in the whole time of the relationship, I never did contact anyone. I did make use of a women’s refuge a couple of times though.”
When the Dedicated Rape Unit was established in September 2011, Sasha’s case was brought to the attention of the specialist officers.
She talks about the difference it made having officers who, because they had dealt with many cases of rape, really understood what she was going through.
“The officers have just been a big support,” she said. “They didn’t just come out and take a statement from me and leave me. They would phone me, and ask me if I was OK.”
Talking about what it was like after her abuser was sent prison following the court case, Sasha said: “It was a big relief afterwards. When the officer told me what the verdict was I just cried. It was just loads of emotions. I was upset, I was pleased. It was just a really strange experience.
“It was an end to 10 years of hell.”
To see the video, visit www.cheshire.police.uk.