16 Years.

I’ve been writing this in my head for a long long time, the things that clutter up my mind and affect my perception of people the world. So I’ve dragged the laptop out of hibernation, after spending ages in the bath trying to de-fuzz my brain and working out whether I *should* do this, and after thinking about what I feel like I need to write, and crying because the memories are still raw, just there, under the surface. I realised it’s not about whether I should do it, I NEED to do this. Put my iPod in, block out the world around me. Click “New Post” and sit on a blank screen once again mentally fighting with myself about whether to pick this emotional scab…. Karma Killer comes on, just those opening words and I feel the anger surge in me. I NEED to do this.

I will start by warning you….. This WILL be an emotional post. Chances are if you know me, then you know that this life event happened and you’ll probably know no more than that. If you don’t want to know, would rather not see the emotional outpour that will follow, just close the window now. This is an event that happened in my life. And is “my side of a story” I am NOT doing this to cause trouble, I will NOT be naming any names, nor do I want anyone to name names on my behalf. As no criminal conviction was obtained, I will state that this is something that I ‘accused’ someone of. This is a big part of me, and a big part of who I am now. It is the first time (since going to the police) that I have spoken publicly about this. Comments on this post will require approval, so if *you* wish to recant, you can do so via email to crazycrochetmama@gmail.com Just know that after 16 years I am trying to get my head around what happened, and we talked back then. I remember everything you [allegedly] said and did.

16 years ago. Can you remember how you felt? I haven’t thought about it for a long long time. It’s only today as I’ve been running through whether to sit down and try to write this that I thought about how I felt exactly 16 years ago…. I was 15, it was two days before my 16th birthday. I’d just finished my GCSE’s and had been accepted into the college I really wanted to go to, and I wasn’t even worried that I wouldn’t make the required grades. Not because I was so totally sure of myself, but I was sure I could at least get what they asked of me. I’d been under the Childrens Mental Health Team since I was 13. So I was seen as a problem teenager. I had years of counselling and groups to try and help me to not feel quite so depressed. My parents put up with a hell of a lot, but they did tend to side on the “she’s doing it for attention” parenting tactic for a mentally broken teenager. Let’s face it, I had no real reason for my depressions. My parents worked hard to make sure I had a happy supportive environment. Suddenly one day I felt like my perception shifted. I didn’t see the happy friendly 10 year old me anymore. I didn’t fit in. I was ugly, I was fat (ha, if only I knew!!) mostly I just hated my skin, my mind, and the world around me just didn’t [doesn’t] feel right. I was bullied (who isn’t!) but I wasn’t bullied until after I started hating myself… However, I was about to turn 16, leave school, pursue my interests without being called a swot, to take control of my life, to build my life. To find friends… real friends, not just the person you got sat next to in registration on your first day at school. I was trying to ignore mum and dad sitting in the front room trying to work out how to put together the mobile phone they’d gotten me for my birthday as I went to get a pack of crisps. I can still hear them swearing at the thing, and mum almost pleading with it to work so that they could ring it on the morning of my birthday to wake me up. I remember that excitement. It was 1998, and it was one of the first pay as you go mobiles released onto the market (go t-mobile!) I realised that my parents are awesome. They’re people like me, with kind hearts. I could do this, I could start a new life. I could paint a new picture. The first 16 years of my life were going to be closed behind me. I can find my place in the world. I had an amazing birthday. I got my phone, it was awesome. That night we went to pizza hut for a birthday treat and mum got the waiter, who happened to be someone from 6th form at school who I knew through school plays (oh drama club you helped my confidence so much!) to bring me a balloon, which I think he loved embarrassing me bringing it over with sharpie written Happy Birthday! on. And my friends from cadets rang on my mobile from a payphone just to sing happy birthday!! Best Birthday ever. 2 days later, everyone is at work and school, well except for Year 11’s who are on exam leave after finishing our GCSE’s. The (house) phone rings. It’s a friend. We’ll just refer to him as *you*. The two of us are the only one’s out of our friendship group who’s parents haven’t taken advantage of pre summer holidays abroad holiday prices. We meet at the big tree in the woods, the usual meeting spot. I’ve got £1 so we go to the shop to buy cigs (legally!! whoop!) and then sit off somewhere just watching clouds, chatting bubbles and eventually kissing. Kissing stops. There’s a history between us that’s still raw, I don’t feel comfortable going back there. I’m pretty sure I say so. He suggests we go to his to watch TV. I can’t remember what we watched, but we smoked some more cigs and after proudly showing me all of his man utd. video collection (yawn) he said do you want to see my new wallpaper, It’s Old Trafford. Now I’m a polite person so I said yes. As you read this, you’ve probably got a warning flag going up. Unfortunately I didn’t. Naive, extremely. I pretended to be impressed at the continuation of the shrine to Manchester United (seriously, I’m a Liverpool fan, I will never be impressed) and he kissed me. I didn’t see it coming, but I’m 16, it’s summer, it’s just kissing…. Naive. It dawns on me what he wants. I know I don’t. I try to talk us out of it. I feel like I can’t. I feel trapped inside my politeness, my not wanting to shatter someone elses confidence. Last ditch attempt. “Do you have protection?” …..no, it’s ok though….. “No, no it’s not. No protection, no sex!” I count 5 NO’s in there. I’m sure there are more. My mind kind of blanks from that point onwards. My phone rang. It’d been taken upstairs with me. It was on the bedside table from when we were kissing. It rang. I wanted to answer it. I think we were still around the NO point. I reached for it. He knocked it onto the floor. I watched it ringing. I stopped fighting. Everyone was at work and school, as he kindly pointed out to me. I zoned out. I watched the blind swaying in the breeze coming through the window. I wished I could fly. I wished I didn’t exist. I wished I didn’t ever think I could get my life together. The next day he came to my house, to take me to the family planning clinic for the morning after pill. He told me the story I would tell when they asked how long we’d been together etc. He paid my bus fare, and didn’t leave my side the whole time. He played over caring over apologetic boyfriend. The script was followed. I was still wishing I could fly. I was an emotionally void robot. I went home and spent hours in the shower, sitting on the floor. Empty. In hindsight I think I knew what had happened, I just wanted it not to have. I was going on holiday in a of week or so. Lanzarote. My last family holiday, I’m 16 now, I’m an adult. Actions and consequences. Take responsibility for your own stupidness. After my holiday I was going to join the rest of Cheshire Army Cadet Force for the 2nd week of Annual Camp. My first one. I had that to look forward to. Then I’d get my exam results and I’ll go to Carmel College and I’ll never have to think about my past ever again… Lanzarote, I can only describe it as a total wipe out. I fell apart. Too much time to think about what had happened. We were going with my mum’s best friend from school, her husband and their son, who is the same age as my younger brother. The parentals would give us a load of pesetas to go and get our evening meal on our own. The boys would usually go off to somewhere that had pool tables and order food, I’d usually blow most of my money on alcohol. Or If I was hungry I’d steal a bottle of something from a shop and go and sit on the beach and drink and drink and just be alone and cry. It had well and truly hit me what happened. All I can remember is my phone on the floor and the blinds in the wind…. I throw up. A lot. Shit. Where is my period??! I throw up more. I fall apart.. I don’t know where to turn. My parents think that I’m misbehaving because I’m jealous of my brother and his friend. I’m the worst daughter ever. I’m scared. I go home, and go off to Annual Camp. At some point on parade I pass out. I pass out again whilst we’re out on company exercise. I fall apart when I’m told I’m not on the drill team. In this time I’ve told maybe 3 friends that I think I’m pregnant. They’re petrified for me. They don’t ask questions, I don’t have the words to talk about how. They don’t know what to do, or where I should turn. Plus we’re on camp, there’s nothing we can do. When we get home one of those friends comes with me to the family planning centre. They do a test. I’m pregnant. I can’t be. I’ve got to start college, I want to…. You’re pregnant. You’re 16 and decided that you’re anti abortion when you were 14 and told about pregnancy and babies in PSE. I go and see my G.P. I’m pregnant. I’m scared. I can’t have a baby. I have to go through half a day of assessment and counselling to get a second doctors signature so that I can have an abortion. I’d love to find the notes from the half an hour with the counsellor. I was a wreck, but I couldn’t tell anyone. I’m an attention seeker. No one will believe me. It’s my fault. I have a termination. I come round from anaesthetic hysterical. I’m convinced it hasn’t worked. A couple of days later I start at Carmel College. It’s amazing, you don’t have to call the teachers “Sir” you call them Dave or Pete. I’m in awe of the whole place. Everyone seems so grown up. So together. So…. happy. I made a couple of friends in my short time there. However what I remember most about being there is seeing Nuns. It’s a Roman Catholic College after all. It hit me like a tonne of bricks. I didn’t go back. I rang the sixth form attached to my high school and went back to familiar surroundings. I retracted all my plans for life, and focussed on getting through the next 5 minutes. At some point around then I bumped into *you* whilst I was walking the dogs. You had the gall to say to me “you could’ve gotten me done for rape, you know?” I said that I knew. You continued… “I’d have admitted it, if you did.” I’m pretty sure that conversation went on for awhile. Or it felt like it did. I was rooted to the spot. I had been since I saw *you* walking towards me through the woods. It was only a couple of weeks after that, I made the decision to go to the police. I’d replayed the conversation over and over in my head. Each time trying to …. I’m not sure. You were my friend. I wanted it to never have happened. A year to the day I went to the Police. I chain smoked 5 cigs before walking into the station. I had to do it. I had to get closure. I had to stop falling apart. From talking to friends, the police are better in this kind of situation now. So please if you’re reading this as someone who is considering going to the police, do not let my experience stop you. I was treated with kid gloves immediately. They advised me that I would have to tell my parents because a marked Police car would be coming to pick me up at home the next day to take me to the rape suites to give my statement (I so hope they’ve changed the name of that as it just sounds awful) I went home feeling so so sick. How do you tell your parents that you were raped? The people who have done their best to protect you from the evil that exists. I think I blurted it out. The concern on my parents face by me calling a meeting just petrified me. Mum just cried, and hugged me. Dad walked out. In my head at the time I thought it was because he was disgusted in me for confessing that I’d been pregnant and had an abortion. (I now know that it was probably because of the rage that he didn’t want me to see. Or the heartbreak) A police car on the drive. I wonder if the neighbours noticed, “oh it would be Hayley in trouble, wouldn’t it?!” The rape suites were just some old houses that the police used to take statements and evidence. Nothing like I’d pictured (somewhere safe and inviting?) I told my story. I got stuck at a point, I was 16, and I didn’t know grown up words. It was after we were kissing, I said we were “messing about” before I tried to stop things progressing asked if he had protection. She asked what I meant, I know I flushed and shrugged my shoulders. It was just messing about. She suggested “foreplay” as a word, and into the statement it went. It’s all a bit blurred from here. Because that’s when they took *you* in for questioning. Only *you* wasn’t a 16 year old healthy school leaver by then. He was sick. He’d had cancer, and I think he was in a wheelchair. So the police came to the conclusion that he’d never have been able to held me down. Also the use of the word foreplay meant that I’d “lead him up the garden path” He’d produced a letter that I’d written him. I think it was after he’d said that he’d have admitted it, if I’d gone to the Police. My head was a mess at that time. The police probably still have it as evidence somewhere. I wrote because at that time the only people who knew what happened was *you* and I. I wrote to get the words out of my head. I wrote to try and make sense of it. At the bottom of the letter, in the bottom corner I’d drawn a picture of an engagement ring. A Solitaire diamond, round cut. With “this is what I dream of” scribbled under it. I know I didn’t mean from him. I meant in life. I saw me as damaged beyond repair. Who the fuck would love me now. The Police saw “this is what I want from you” They started getting mean. I mean really mean, the kind of thing that probably now would not be tolerated. They called me a vindictive little girl who got pregnant and now wants revenge. They said they didn’t believe me and that they would be starting to interview ALL of my friends and family and neighbours. I heard my parents voices coming out of CID mouths “You’re doing it for attention” I told them to leave it. I couldn’t stand the emotions. I couldn’t stand the stuff the CID had said about some of my friends from cadets (clearly they’d already been nosying around) I ran. Mentally. Physically. Emotionally.

16 years since this alleged rape happened. On the 12th July it’ll be 16 years ago. I can’t get my head round the fact that from this point onwards I will have more life experience than I did before it happened. So I decided to write this. Time is a healer, but the flashbacks and nightmares and emotional damage still crop up and hurt like a bitch. I know I’m lucky, it could’ve been so so much worse. This is my pain and cannot be compared to anyone elses. It “allegedly” happened. It really did destroy me for a long long time. Still does.

Hello *You*, remember me? I’m the mum I thought I’d never be. The one who you reduced to tears. Messed up my head for all these years.

Yes, that’s right, my name’s Hayley. The one you were “accused” of raping. The one who said “please don’t. No” But you wouldn’t let me go.

Well, I’m here, and you’re still there. Your puffa jacket and ginger hair. Try to talk to me, like I’m a friend? Just walk away, this is the end.

Thanks for the lessons, I’m sure they’ll do, for the sadistic bastards just like you. As for now I’ve a different lesson, Love and freedom is about to beckon.

And here I sit, letting history run by I found my wings, Now I can fly.

I just want to say thank you to my friends and family who over the years have put up with my emotions. Especially during July. And the fact that I dislike birthdays now. I do appreciate you all and I appreciate that you try and get me to move forward. I am trying. I really am. xx

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  1. Oh darling, I am so glad you have found the strength to write about this. You are such a wonderful, caring, thoughtful person and an amazing mother. It will give other people strength and hope to get through ‘shit’ that has happened to them.

    You make me feel more normal now and that maybe there is no normal and no perfect.

    Thank you for sharing. Love you to bits and hope you can move forward bit by bit xxxxx


  2. I read your story. I am so sorry. I hope that writing about it helps to anchor it in the past and helps you move forward and be the great person that you are.


  3. Have always known you are a special person and brave, now I can see that even more. Really proud that you have put your voice out there, so many of us don’t and just try to bury the past and that never works, it just allows it to haunt us . lots of love xxx



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