A RAPE survivor has slammed a student’s comment that she was “only raped”, calling it a “slap in the face” to every victim.
Yesterday we told how trainee accountant George Owen was cleared of raping a 19-year-old girl after she sent a Facebook message to friends telling them how “fun” it was going to be to report him to police.
The girl, who cannot be named, wrote: “OMG hahahahaha my mum knows. My mum started crying. She wants to hold my hand to go through it all with me. I was only raped chill the f*** out.”
Stacey Coles, 31, from Rotherham, was raped by her best mate’s fiancé in her living room on his birthday in December 2015.
She bravely waived her right to anonymity to share her story and now helps other rape survivors who are struggling and in need of advice and support.
Stacey said the comments “trivialise rape”, adding: “It’s absolutely disgusting. Rape is such a taboo subject, and survivors like me are trying to make a difference and trying to crack that.
“That comment slaps every victim in the face. It isn’t ‘just rape’ at all, it can impact every part of your life. It has impacted every single part of mine.”
The mum-of-two said the student’s remarks are “very damaging” to other rape victims coming forward to report their crimes.
She said: “It’s not something I’m going to be in a rush to share with the people in my support group.
“It’s really damaging – some people have had it happen to them 30 years ago and it’s still affecting them.
“It’s not something that you can get over lightly at all; you don’t get over it, because at the end of the day it’s the only crime where you can’t escape the crime scene.
“That’s something we’re always trying to remind people. We’re trying to encourage people to come forward, but something like that will definitely put them off.
“Especially if somebody reads that, someone of the same age – she’s only a young lass – and thinks, ‘Oh that’s happened to me, and she’s telling me I should get over it, it’s not a big deal.’
“Then you’ve got all these rapists out there carrying on doing it.
“During my attack, I didn’t get beat up or left for dead, but the next person could have been. It’s always worth reporting.”
Stacey acknowledged that the comments may have been born out of the girl trying to “play off” what had happened to her.
“It’s hard to get into the mind of a rape victim, because everyone deals with it so differently,” she said.
“But if she is trying to be blasé about it, then she’s being a really, really silly girl.
“She’s obviously not been given the support that she was entitled to if that’s her outlook on it, so that could be a failure by the system.
“But what everyone’s going to read from that, everyone’s going to be like, ‘Oh my God, she’s lied’. It doesn’t look good for her at all.”
Stacey was eager not to victim-blame, but admitted she felt “more sorry” for George Owen.
Key statistics about sexual violence in the UK
- Approximately 85,000 women and 12,000 men are raped in England and Wales alone every year; that’s roughly 11 rapes (of adults alone) every hour. These figures include assaults by penetration and attempts.
- Nearly half a million adults are sexually assaulted in England and Wales each year
- 1 in 5 women aged 16 – 59 has experienced some form of sexual violence since the age of 16
- Only around 15 per cent of those who experience sexual violence choose to report to the police
- Approximately 90 per cent of those who are raped know the perpetrator prior to the offence
- Conviction rates for rape are far lower than other crimes, with only 5.7% of reported rape cases ending in a conviction for the perpetrator.
- Source: Rape Crisis
“I’ve also got a lot of empathy for people who are wrongly accused,” she explained.
“I think that if she’s lying, she should be prosecuted.
“Either she is lying, or she is really, really messed up by it.
“If she’s speaking like that and it did happen, then she really does need some support.”
She now runs Phoenix Wings, a registered cause supporting sexual assault charities in the UK & USA.