Something happened in the blogging world recently that threw me back to being 18, back at sixth form. One of my friends was falsely accused of rape. The accuser was a prolific liar. We all knew it was lies, but accusations have to be taken seriously. I’m still friends with the accused’s girlfriend at the time. She’s one of my best friends. I asked her to write about her experience. A woman’s point of view about that kind of lie. People that know me personally will know this story, but we have kept it anonymous.
I would like to start this by saying I am not a writer. I am not a blogger, or even a tweeter. I am writing this as the ex-girlfriend of someone accused of sexual assault. I am writing this for everyone who has ever been accused or insinuated against falsely. For their friends and family who it has affected, without even having the conscious realisation that one little exaggeration or one misinterpretation can damage a life irrevocably.
I can only tell you the story from my side, how it affected me and how I feel it affected those around me… but here goes. I would also like to add retrospectively that I had tears in my eyes writing this piece even 11 years on – tears for the boy I loved and was never the same, for the girl I was before. And also pride, for the people that stood by us and the way we got through it.
We were only 18
I (A) was starting to date a lovely guy (B) from a good family. B was on course to do fantastically in his exams, high hopes for a career in law. He had it all planned out, right down to his 15 year plan – including his own practice and judgeship and all those kinds of things. Then some girl he had fancied before me (C), decided to accuse him of sexually assaulting her.
Idle whispers to police investigation
This started out as just a few comments to mutual friends at school. That C and B had got together just as me and him did, and that in the past it had been more than just flirting. She just appeared to be jealous of him and I having a real relationship, so wanted to make out that I was second best. This was water off a ducks back, didn’t bother us at all and we fell in love… but this didn’t go down well.
The story then developed into it being unwanted attention, that she wasn’t interested and his flirting was not reciprocated. Then that he had assaulted her whilst driving her home one night. This got around the college. It got to the teachers, who called B into the headmasters office where the police were waiting.
He questioned his character
This amazing guy, who had been nothing but patient and sweet with me, was an outgoing, fun guy. He was great to be around and had loads of friends. Suddenly he was hauled out of his class in front of everyone and questioned like he was a criminal. He was suspended from school pending investigation. Meanwhile C still got to swan around the school making sly jibes at me and trying to turn people against B. He became withdrawn. Worried how it would affect his career and his hopes. Scared of how people at school would be talking about it and would think he had done it. We knew he didn’t. Everyone knew. But the thought was still in his mind.
In the early stages of first love and lust, its supposed to be amazing and flirty and realistically, kinda hot – but this was really hard when he was worried what people would think. He even started to question himself and worry that if he kissed me, if it all went wrong, I could say something bad too. I was his girlfriend – we were inseparable – and yet he was afraid to touch me without my explicit permission, which in all honesty is a bit of a mood killer!
Thankfully, the police and school didn’t take too long to disprove her accusation of the sexual assault, but the damage was done. The rumours around the town were still in existence. I’m sure if you googled it you would have come up with a few bits, and this was in the days before Social Media was huge like it is now. I hate to think the impact this could have had if it was even more widespread. Even localised, this destroyed a young man’s college experience. It prevented him from having the confidence to go for law firm internships and work experience. It eventually broke down our relationship.
I know after us, he didn’t date for a long time, and any time anyone tried to get close, he would back away, would orchestrate so he was always in view of a camera or other people. This INNOCENT guy had to find ways to make sure he always had an alibi, as every now and again, C would pop up and try ruin things.
It hurt me, to see him so upset, to be seen as the “silly girl standing by a rapist”, a few people even said I was in on it all and protecting him. That I should stand up for women and not be another victim. I am not a victim. I never was. And I was standing up for women, for my friend. I am 100% in belief that if true, this kind of thing is absolutely horrific, but it is stories like this which stop real victims being believed and scared to come forward!
It affected his friends and family too. Being his defender, being there to help him rise above the whispers, to fight back with his suspension and keep on top of school and work and everything else a teenager has to do.
And all of this, stemmed from either jealousy, a misinterpretation, a girl who liked attention and wanted it however it happened.
Now I will say, I am ashamed in a way, but I do still hold a grudge against C for ruining what should have been a fantastic time in my life. Visiting my home town every now and again, I have bumped into her. She tries to be friendly but I cannot ever forgive what she did. Not for me. Nor B. Not for any of the women who’s experiences she has belittled and given doubt to in real cases of sexual assault etc.
Two sides to every story
Not having the knowledge of what really happened can ruin lives. It is so important to remember that there are two sides of every story and the impact this kind of suggestion or accusation can be devastating for all parties involved, not to mention their wider circles.
This account is not related to any bloggers, it is an account of an old school friend. The names of all parties involved remain anonymous.