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Haunting memory of rape that lingers through the years

The Bristol Evening Post has run a series of powerful stories to highlight the fact that less than eight per cent of rape allegations result in convictions.
Deputy Editor Stan Szecowka has personal experience of the issue and wrote for the first time about an incident that continues to haunt him. Here we reproduce his thought-provoking story.

The Post’s recent investigations into the manner of which rape victims are treated by the justice system have brought back ugly memories of an incident which still consumes me with guilt, anger and pain.

I am not attempting to lessen the dreadfulness of what happened on that particular wet and windy night to the woman concerned, or ask readers for sympathy for my pathetic actions before and after the incident I’m about to tell you about.

But perhaps, after reading my column today, you will understand the torment and guilt that spreads like a cancerous growth when a man cannot take no for an answer.

For legal reasons, and to ensure that I do not cause further grief to a former love, or her family and friends, I will not identify the exact time or place.

It is sufficient to say that I was much younger, naive and did not fully appreciate the consequences of my actions.

The evening started off in good spirits despite the weather. We were off to an open-air concert, the beer, wine and spirits were flowing and the party continued throughout the night.

I was proud as punch. I had a stunning-looking girlfriend on my arm and a gang of friends and acquaintances in tow.

We knew most of them, a couple worked on the same weekly newspaper as me, and some of their neighbours had tagged along – the sort of people you just nod or say hello to, but they appeared to be a good crowd.

Although outwardly I considered myself a cool and confident young man I did feel a little insecure when in the company of this particular lady.

She had a fantastic personality and was a magnet for men. I hated it and loved it at the same time.

This particular night I hated it more than anything. Perhaps it was the drink and the party atmosphere but she appeared to be chatting to every lad around.

I was a jealous guy and got into a huff.

She wasn’t doing anything wrong; she was simply chatting, flirting, laughing and enjoying herself.

I left and went back to my flat to sulk.

I was awoken some time later, in the early hours of the morning, by the doorbell ringing.

The police had arrived to tell me that my girlfriend had been raped after the concert and could I come to the police station because she had asked for me.