Faith | I was told the abuse I suffered was my fault

When I was 19-20 I was in a very violent relationship. Many times police were called by neighbours etc and every time my BF spoke to them – they never asked to speak to me. Eventually my best friend told my family who staged an intervention and that night called the police (Surrey Police).

A lone policeman showed up and asked to speak with me alone. He proceeded to describe my personality and said the reason he knew me was because I was a ‘victim’ and all victims are the same. He then went on to ‘explain’ that ‘a victim and abuser will find each other in a crowded room’ and therefore I had to take responsibility for choosing him and putting myself in that position – because I was a victim and that’s what we do.

He said he was happy that I had a good family, and I was young and pretty and he was confident I wouldn’t make that choice again. Therefore he said he would not report. He didn’t give me a choice – he told me what he was going to do and what he believed I would do.

I believed him. I blamed myself. I had made that choice.

This year I did what I always do from time to time – I googled my ex. I discovered that he had recently been found guilty of assaulting another woman. I believe he has assaulted many more. And I blamed myself for that too. If I had said something – done something – maybe he could have been stopped?

But then I remember that I did do something. I did say something. And it didn’t help at all. I had medical records from the A&E visits and x-rays. I had my best friend who knew exactly what had been going on and could make a statement – she wanted to make a statement. The police had been called multiple times by neighbours and passers by but they never spoke to me (This was Berkshire police).

But none of that mattered at all because no-one who could actually stop it, cared. And more women have been hurt because of them.

Constabulary: Surrey Police

Timespan: 15 years ago

Did you report it to the police?: Yes

Your ethnicity: White British


Illustration by Danny Noble

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