Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Houston, We Are Not The Only Ones With A Problem!

Thanks very much to everyone who offered sympathy and advice about my abusive caller and troubles getting the police to take the matter seriously. The story was re-published on both the F-Word and Dollymix and I had some responses from those too. One email sent to the F-Word particularly struck me and, with permission from author Danielle Kemm (quote "You can use my name, I don't see why I should be ashamed or scared!"), here is what she said:

"I was just reading Kate's post about how she was harassed and the police didn't seem to care, and I think it's sad that this seems to be the norm, rather than the exception.

I had a drink spiked on a night out about 6 months ago, I knew as soon as I woke up that something was wrong, because I remember being relatively sober, and then a total blackout.

So my mum took me to the police station, I took the clothes that I had been wearing in a carrier bag, and didn't shower in case they needed samples or whatever. Turns out this was pure wishful thinking.

I asked for a test to confirm my drink had been spiked. I was then asked "Do you think anything *untoward* has happened?" I replied that I didn't know, as I couldn't remember a thing, as generally happens when your drink is spiked.

I was then told that I would "know" if anything had happened (depsite the fact that if you've been drugged you wouldn't be capable of resistance, so there would be no bruising anyway. Clearly even if you're drugged you're expected to kick and scream for it to be considered rape). And then she said that the purpose of drink spiking was rape (although she skirted around the actual word), basically implying that my drink hadn't been spiked, as I hadn't been raped (her
assumption, maybe because I wasn't sobbing hysterically?)

Then she actually had the cheek to ask me if I drunk often, and how often I drunk!

She refused to do anything after this, not even file a report for my missing jacket and phone, which I imagine she might have done if I hadn't come in to waste her time on some silly suspicion.

She told me to go to the hospital if I "really thought" my drink had been spiked. Which I did, only to be told somewhat more sympathetically that it was against hospital policy to carry out the test, given the sheer number of requests (so clearly there is a problem, which the police seem determined to turn a blind eye to) and that they should have done a test there and then at the station.

Of course, by this time, my 12 hours were up, and it was pointless to go back a demand a test.

My mum later told me that after relating this story to some people she worked with, she was told of several personal experiences with drink spiking at the same nightclub, and apparently it happens on a weekly basis there. Something that you would assume would make the police more receptive to such complaints, rather than less.

I have since lost all trust and respect for our so called protectors of the law."

Thanks very much for sharing that with us Danielle, that is awful and I think it's really important that people hear about these things.


Ink and Indigo said...

I was both disgusted and unsurprised when I read your story and the story above. Two years ago, when walking from my grandmother's house to my sister's house on Christmas day. a bloke grabbed me, pushed me against a wall and pissed on my leg. I pushed him away and tried to run off, waving at a car driving close by that didn't appear to care. About five minutes later, I was grabbed by the same bloke, the same car still close, by the neck and asked why I "was trying not to fuck" him. I responded by screaming and kicking him in the bollocks. I ran off again, and ran to a phonebox, dialled 999 and explained someone was trying to rape me. They explained they were sending a car to "assess" the situation, during which time, the bloke started kicking in the glass in the phonebox and a people carrier full of men pulled up shouting "where's the Bitch?". Luckily, the police pulled up two seconds later and bundled me inside the van, where I lay on the floor crying in fear. Ten minutes later the police informed me they'd spoken to the offender and driver of the vehicle full of blokes that had been following me and told them to go home. Apparently I was stupid for believing it was attempted gang-rape, as the police said it was "drunk Pakis". The following morning, I rang the police to give a statement, only to find that there was no record of such an incident happening.

Now whenever people talk of people "crying rape" I point out the complete incompetence and institutional sexism of the police force.

I hope you're ok.

Cruella said...

That's terrible. Man.

butterflywings said...

Danielle and ink and indigo: that's awful.
Kate, hope you are feeling somewhat better.
Jeez. If Danielle *had* known something terrible had happened, the police sexist idiots would just say "How do you know you didn't consent?" 'Cos drugged people clearly remember everything vividly and can fight back (sarcasm). Grrrrrrr.
My sister was drugged once, as a student. Thankfully she had good and on the ball friends who made sure she got home, cue my parents going mad and saying she was just drunk. She insisted she only had 2 drinks.
It really does touch almost all women.
Not in any way as serious, but I was approached by the police as they thought I was someone else and they were totally rude and incompetent, demanding ID while refusing to say why or show their ID.
The police are definitely institutionally sexist (oh and racist, love the Paki comment).