Redrosa | Sexually assaulted at my place of work by a serving officer sent to help



I was 19 or 20 years old. I am now 53. I worked part time in a shop and shared a flat in town with [redacted for legal reasons]. This particular Saturday they had gone home for the weekend for a night out with friends.

On the Saturday night, around midnight, there was a knock on the door of our flat. It was a policeman in uniform in a panda car. He was asking for [redaction made for legal reasons] as the windows to our shop had been smashed and [redaction made for legal reasons] was a named contact for such an incident. He said that the alarms were going off and that the windows needed to be secured. I explained that [redaction made for legal reasons] was not here but added that I knew the alarm codes and procedure for such an incident. The shop keys were in our flat and I had opened and locked up the store before. I was in my pyjamas in our kitchen. The officer said that I should get dressed and come with him and deal with it. I remember feeling worried as it wasn’t really my job and I wasn’t sure whether [redaction made for legal reasons] would get in trouble but the officer assured me that our employer would be much more concerned with making the shop secure. He told me to hurry up and get dressed. He hovered around the kitchen and my bedroom door singing to himself. I remember pushing the bedroom door closed as I felt like he could see me dressing. I felt uncomfortable.

I followed him out to the car with the shop keys and we drove into town. The shop was less than 5 minutes away. We arrived, I opened the shop and shut off the alarm . The shop office was upstairs and all the emergency phone numbers were in a folder up there. I told him this and we both went up to the office. He told me that he liked my tight jeans as he followed me up the stairs. I felt uncomfortable. I quickly found the folder and called the emergency glaziers. They said that they would be with us soon. I was about to suggest that I make a cup of tea while we waited but before I could turn away from the desk, he had come up behind me and pinned me to it. I could feel his breath on my neck. He said in a low voice in my ear. “I can do anything I want to you here and nobody will hear. Nobody will know and nobody will believe you if you tell them. I’m a policeman and you are nobody”. I could feel that he had an erection as he was so closely pushed against my back. I could hear him undoing his belt. He pushed my face and top half of my body into the desk in front of me. I froze. I was absolutely terrified. A million things went through my head of how to fight him off but I couldn’t move. He told me to undo my jeans but I couldn’t move and obviously didn’t want to. He put his hands up my top to my breasts and pulled at my belt. I was crying and saying please don’t. He repeated that nobody would ever believe me and that he could do whatever he wanted. He aggressively sexually assaulted me. I don’t know how long this went on for but at some point the glaziers arrived.

They were shouting through the broken windows downstairs. Two men. I was rigid with fear, shaking and sobbing. The police officer cheerily shouted to them that we were coming. He told me to sort myself out and follow him down and remember not to say anything – “after all love – I know where you live, nobody is home and I’ll be giving you a lift back.”

The glaziers could see that I wasn’t OK. They fixed the window. The police officer laughed and joked with them and told me to make some cups of tea. I was still shaking and also now filled with terror that there might be more to come. I didn’t know what to do. The glaziers finished the job and were packing to leave. I collected their cups and grabbed the arm of one of them. I pleaded with them to take me home. The policeman had gone to the toilet in the shop. I think that they knew that something was very wrong. One of them agreed to take me but the other didn’t. The policeman was coming back. All smiles. He wouldn’t let them take me.

I wanted to run. I just didn’t know what to do. I was a kid. I had to let him take me home but mercifully he was radio called to another incident in the car. He said he would be back. He said he knew how to find me.

The knock on effects of this night have shaped me. I still have nightmares about it. I have hated and mistrusted the police for my entire adult life. 

I am still afraid to be alone in my own home at night. I think that I always will be.

Constabulary: Lancashire Constabulary

Timespan: Around 33 years ago

Did you report it to the police?: No

Your ethnicity: White British

Have you experienced suicidality due to this?: Thoughts/feelings

Are you disabled as defined under the Equality Act 2010?: Yes

illustration by Danny Noble

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