She was in the early stages of a relationship with a man who pretended to be a police officer. He was gradually more controlling and, at one point, he became jealous of photos on her phone.He punched me in the back of the head, then he raped me… The second time he attacked me he had a huge kitchen knife.
Rebecca – not her real name – eventually reported her attacker to the police. It turned out that he was a prisoner released on licence, with a history of violence against women. He was initially charged with three counts of rape, as well as assault by beating and false imprisonment. But Rebecca was later informed that the Crown Prosecution Service was dropping charges, because if a jury saw the amicable WhatsApp messages between Rebecca and her attacker – the messages Rebecca says she sent to her abuser to placate him in order to try to stay alive – they would not convict.
Rebecca is not the only rape survivor to have been denied the chance of justice in recent years. Annie Tisshaw says she was raped in her flat by a man she had been on a few dates with. She reported it to the police and was told it was a positive case by the CPS, but a year later was informed it was dropping the case due to “inconsistencies” that included text messages she sent before the rape and the fact she did not look “particularly scared or nervous” in CCTV images from earlier that night.
Figures out last week suggest that there will be many other women with stories like Rebecca’s and Annie’s. Despite a 9% increase in the number of rapes reported to the police in the last year, there has been a significant fall in the number of cases being taken to trial by the CPS. The number of rape charges fell by 38% in a year, the number of rape prosecutions by 33%, and the number of convictions by 27%. It is the second year running that the number of rape charges has fallen dramatically.