In the early hours of the morning on the 26th June 2016, whilst enjoying a night out with friends, I was sexually assaulted. A random man, who I had never met or seen before decided he was going to grab my crotch, with force, and push his fingers up. As quickly as he did this he let go and started to walk off. I turned to my husband and stated what just happened, whilst pointing at the guy as he was quickly walking through the crowds, looking back to see if we were following him.
Nobody tells you how to act in these situations, and even if you think you’d act a certain way, everything changes when it happens to you or someone you love.
Nothing happened, there was no reaction other than shock. So I tried to brush it off and carry on with the night.
The next day we discussed what had happened and I decided to request the CCTV footage to see if it, by any chance, would have been captured. Then I could go to the police with the evidence. The bar informed me that I would have to put it in writing to view the footage, so I did, and 2 days later I got a call saying he had found me on the footage but I was mostly in a ‘blind spot’ so wasn’t 100% sure. We went in to see the footage and sure enough there was me, with my husband and friends, dancing along and enjoying our night, right in the bottom corner of the camera.
At the time, I assumed that the person that grabbed me was just someone who saw an opportunity and went for it. Looking back through the footage showed something completely different. This guy was watching me, watching my every move. He continued to watch me and attempted to come towards me, but then turned back and continued to watch. It was as I had turned away from my husband to talk to a friend when he started walking towards me and grabbed me, then walked back off to the back of the bar and outside. The footage was clear, you could see him perfectly, I was able to identify my head and where I was moving, but unfortunately the actual act of him grabbing me was in the ‘blind spot’.
instantly felt sick. This person had been watching me, in a really creepy, predatory way. Suddenly I felt so exposed, like everyone was watching me.
The bar advised that there wasn’t anything I could do, the police wouldn’t do anything but that he would personally take it to his ‘pub watch’ meeting and get him banned from all the pubs and clubs in the area.
I decided to call the police anyway and reported the incident, who got the footage and showed a still of his face across social media. The guy actually rang up and questioned why he was being asked to contact the police, and turned up with a lawyer. Of course he denied his actions, and despite him clearly being on his own in the bar and clearly fixated on where I was standing, he claimed he didn’t do anything. This then led to 18 months of waiting to go to Crown Court, 18 months of paranoia, fear that I was being watched and stalked by anybody, fear of being near large groups of people, fear of walking through town on my own. I was no longer able to go for a run alone, which was something I loved to do. I hated the thought of anyone watching me. I stopped having my hair done and went from a blonde to a brunette, and then had my long hair cut off. I didn’t want to be noticed, I just wanted to blend in to the background. My confidence fell, my depression spiralled even further down, my anxiety was at an all time high, I hated everything.
18 months later I’m stood in the court waiting room, waiting to go up and be questioned and give my statement and pray that this person will get what he deserved.
But no, a ‘legal argument’ happened, questioning why I had viewed the footage before going to the police. Suddenly, the footage was no longer able to be used as evidence because I had viewed it. All the proof gone. Other than my statement, husbands statement vs his statement, there was nothing.
The trial never went ahead. He got off on a ‘technicality’.
The bar never took it to the pub watch meeting.
I was then informed this person was a police officer for the Ministry of Defense and that the MoD would do their own trial.
I was told that he was (on paper) a good guy, no previous, had a girlfriend and he’d been very teary that morning. I couldn’t quite believe what I was hearing. Everything started to blur and I zoned out.
Now I’m just left with why? Why me? Why did this have to happen? Why hasn’t anything been done? Why didn’t I react better? Why didn’t I chase after him and kick the shit out of him? Why did he think that was ever an acceptable thing to do? Why, with all the #metoo announcements, was nothing done? Why am I being made to feel punished for doing what I thought was best? Why is it my fault that it didn’t go to trial properly? Why was I made to wait for 18 months to be told this?
A technicality. A fucking technicality. He gets off whilst I’m left feeling exposed and paranoid still. Trying to pick myself up and get on with my life. I know this isn’t as bad as it could have been, people have suffered much worse. The biggest annoyance for me is that this is the first time I have chosen to report an incident. And this happens.