I’m a college lecturer. Had over 30 years blameless service, just doing what I do.
In January 2013 somewhere in Devon, there was a knock at my front door. It was 11am. I’d just finished breakfast and was opening The Guardian. The smaller of the two policemen there asked for me by name. I asked them in, stupidly assuming something had happened on the street where I live. I was then told I had been accused of rape. I was read my rights and was then arrested. The shock was overwhelming; my legs went from under me and I fell. Yes, literally, I fell down. I had never been in any trouble with the police before and had no idea what was going on. I vaguely remember asking ‘who?’ but the officers (who I have to say were very polite) were unable to comment. I was taken to the local police station in the back of a van (seen by all my neighbours), had my belongings taken, DNA etc taken and was put in a cell where I remained for a number of hours. As I work in a university, and also do voluntary work for the church, my employer and the diocese were informed straight away.
Eventually, late in the evening I saw a solicitor who divulged the name of my accuser. It was a young man who had been in the church choir a number of years before. When he was 18 I had bumped into him with his girlfriend in a local pub and had a drink with them. They had no money for a taxi so I had allowed both of them to stay at my house overnight. Two years later he accused me of raping him that night.
Following seeing a solicitor I was interviewed by two female officers from the serious sexual offences unit for about an hour and a half which was a horrific ordeal. They asked questions about an unremarkable evening two years previously which I had half forgotten about, and many questions about my personal life.
I finally was released on bail nearing midnight. My partner who, being the head of the Faculty where I lecture was there to meet me having waited at the police station all day.
I remember very clearly having a cigarette and a can of beer in the car whilst the adrenalin faded and the panic set in. I was convinced I was going to lose my job, therefore my home, my reputation, and ultimately my liberty for something that was a lie. I got home and emptied several packets of paracetamol into an empty shoe under my bed; vowing that if the police knocked on the door again I would swallow them before I answered.
The next day was terrible. Anxiety began and friends and my partner called the emergency doctor as I wouldn’t go in the front room, look out of the window or stop shaking or crying. The doctor gave me diazepam which I remained on for some time.
It took eight months for the police to decide there was no case to answer. During this time I was suspended from work.
I am still, more than two years later, on high doses of anti-anxiety medication and from time have to be prescribed diazepam for acute bouts of anxiety. The allegation has destroyed my life; my relationship fell apart and I have gone from being an outgoing personality to a near recluse. I have lost friends because of the change in me and find it difficult to trust anybody.
I still do not understand why this person accused me of rape. I hope one day to get over what happened. However I doubt it will happen.
Thank you for your website and the opportunity it has given me to share my story.