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November 26th, 2019.

Newhaven mother and town councillor Heather 'Pinky' McLean writes:

I am known in town as ‘Pinky’. I will be clear. None of the below is any reflection upon the Sussex Police force. It is a reflection upon the CPS, who decide if cases are ‘convictable’ or not.

I am writing this as a mother. An upset one.

Recently, my daughter was raped by a local man at his house in Newhaven. My daughter knows the man, or thought she did, so according to the police, a case is unlikely to get to court. He is, of course, citing consent, but my daughter is a lesbian, and always has been.

As she has never been near a man that way, he of course physically hurt her, and despite her injuries, the case will not be going to court, because, apparently, in this country it is very difficult to prove or disprove consent when there are no other witnesses.

My daughter's sexuality apparently cannot be taken into account. So all those talks we have with our sons and daughters about what consent is and what it means, essentially seems to mean not very much in terms of actual prosecution under real-life rape law.

Newhaven is a small town. I know he has done this before.

My daughter is fully supportive of this letter. She doesn’t want this to happen to anyone else.

The only rapes in the UK that get convictions, (under 10% of them), are usually by strangers. Stupid isn't it? Rape is rape.

About 90% of rapes are by people known to the victim. I am no statistical analyst, but, that makes it look like a lot of rapists in the UK are never charged. Why? Because rape survivors are afraid that they will not be believed, or that because a case won't get to court, they end up looking like liars anyway.

I will say that the police were actually wonderful and gentle and kind with my daughter. They believed her. They don't make the decision to prosecute though; the CPS does.

We have been told that a case like this that does not go to court does not mean the accused is innocent. It does not mean the charges are dropped.

Cases like my daughter's don't make the papers. Cases like my daughter's that do not make it to court are thought by many to be false, or ‘cry rape’ cases. This is not. My daughter feels like she has been sentenced to 'Life with No Parole'.

This will be with her forever…

The law should protect rape survivors like her.

We still absolutely believe in human kindness.

I now have to repeatedly re-assure my daughter that it was worth reporting and doing the right thing, despite the outcome.

I am her mum. I will continue to hold her when she cries. I will walk with her in the dark. I will keep her head up so she can hold it high.

Sorry to offload on you all sitting down reading this. It’s been a tough time for us.

Please keep reporting rapes.

Keep doing the right thing.