Bonny Turner was fast asleep when it happened. In February 2016 she was staying in the hotel room of a man with whom she was having a casual relationship. She says she partially woke up to find him raping her in her sleep.
“At first I thought I was having a nightmare because I was completely unable to move and the room was in total darkness,” she says. “He started raping me. I was thinking, ‘Move, Bonny, move’.” Thinking she was still in a nightmare, she managed to push the man away and shout “Stop” before going back to sleep.
The following morning, the acquaintance had left. Turner, who has waived her right to anonymity, describes sitting in shock, staring blankly at the television. Not knowing exactly what she was doing, she took both her clothes and his back to her house and laundered them.
For a few days – while she was in shock, she says – she had consensual sex with her attacker. Three days later, she had a panic attack. “I woke up sweating and sobbing and that’s when it really hit me. My body was sounding the alarm about what had happened to me.”
The man left the country the next day. She ignored messages from him until about 10 days later, when she confronted him. He wrote: “Bonny, I am so sorry, really, I made a huge mistake. I was very stupid. Is there is anything I could do to make you feel better?”
She wrote: “I was still fast asleep when you forced yourself inside me. I was frozen with fear and so deeply [sleeping] that I thought I was dreaming.” He responded: “I know, I completely read wrong your signs, and I was very selfish. I noticed it too late, I am so sorry.”
She immediately called the police. “I looked at the message and thought, ‘If I don’t report this, I will regret it for the rest of my life.’”
Her experience with officers was a poor one, she says. At first the wrong force came to interview her. Then while giving her interview she says she was nudged into giving a written statement, but was then unable to change it to accurately reflect the facts of the case. And then she was left to wait. And wait.
In January 2018, nearly two years later, she finally got a letter from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) saying there was insufficient evidence to take her case to trial. They argued that the messages were not necessarily an admission of guilt, and they could not prove she had not consented. The fact that she had previously had consensual sex with him would “support the reasonable belief that you were also consenting on this occasion”.
Unofficially, she says, she was told by police officers that in the month prior to the CPS decision on her case, two trials had collapsed and “the bar had been raised for evidence”.
She was devastated, but determined to continue to fight. She asked for her case to be reviewed, and it is now one of the cases being used in a judicial review accusing the CPS of a covert change in charging policy that was granted permission to be heard on Thursday. “There has been a ridiculous state-sanctioned gaslighting of rape victims, so to finally have a judge say that it is going to be looked at feels like a really positive step forward,” she says.
Source: The Guardian by Alexandra Topping Published on Thu, 30th of July 2020.