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"I was too scared to turn my attacker in. Now I face him as if nothing happened," says Downham Market Woman

A Downham woman has spoken out in the light of the publicity about sexual assaults uncovered by the Everyone’s Invited website.

Thousands of women have posted to the site telling how they have been the victim of sexual harassment and assault, including rape, at schools and colleges in the UK.

The furore this week led to the chief constable of Norfolk,Simon Bailey, who is also the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s lead for child protection, to tell parents to adopt a “Shop your Son” approach.

He said: “Parents often want to save their son’s reputation.”

The woman, married and in her early 40s, has lived in the Downham area all of her life, and was assaulted at 16 by a man she knew.

She said: “He presents himself as a loving son, grandson and brother to his family, I doubt they would ever turn him in even if they knew the truth.”

She told the Lynn News: “I was young, inexperienced with men and naive. I was invited to this man’s house, who was back then a boy of similar age to myself maybe a year or two older. I trusted him as we had mutual friends in common.

“He then attacked me and I left the house feeling sick and violated.

“I never went to report him as he was (and still is) well liked and popular and his family adores him.

“I feel I’m the villain in this story, not him, and when I see him at the shops or around our very small town he seems so nice and normal.

“I’m not sure his family would even believe it if I told them the truth. When I saw Chief Bailey’s new piece I look back at that time and wish I had the courage to speak out, I still don’t. The worst of it is, I speak to this man like nothing happened, I feel like I would be hated for turning him in and speaking out. I want to tell any woman who’s been raped or attacked not to be like me. I now smile at this man and have chats with him in the street, too scared to do anything.

“Sadly, this is what rape culture looks like.”

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