The recent news of David Carrick’s arrest sheds light on why it is so difficult for victims and survivors of violence and rape to disclose abuse. We are encouraged to call the Police but, very often, we aren’t believed or heard, even worse: some of us experience more abuse.
When a child disclosed abuse, the person who they spoke to must call the Police and other services to get the child the support she/ he needs and to, hopefully, bring the perpetrator to Justice. Any adults who experience abuse – Domestic Violence, rape, physical and sexual assaults, are highly encouraged to report the crime to the Police.
However, in light of recent news, trust in the MET has seriously plummeted. In December 2022, the former Police Officer, David Carrick, admitted to 49 charges – including 24 rape counts – for crimes committed over 20 years. The MET issued an apology as Carrick’s arrest brought up previous misbehavior charges, known by the MET and other agencies. It wasn’t the first time a Police Officer was charged with crimes: in March 2021, Sarah Everard was abducted, then raped and killed by former MET PC, Wayne Couzens, who was previously reported for indecent exposures but was still allowed to keep his job. The Police apologized and promised to do better.
Over the last few years, reports of sexual assault and rape have decreased. Michael Knowles – Home Affairs Editor for The Express wrote, in his article: “Shock figures show ‘justice has plummeted to new low’ as under 2% of rape suspects charged.”
(Thu, Jan 26, 2023): “Police recorded 70,633 rapes in the year to September. But only 1,130 suspects were charged, heaping fresh pressure on ministers, police chiefs, prosecutors, and judges to restore confidence in the criminal justice system.”
In her response to Met officer’s confession of rape and domestic abuse, Victim Support’s Chief Executive, Diana Fawcett wrote: “The public needs to have absolute certainty that those who are supposed to serve and protect them are not themselves abusers. At the moment they do not have that.”
In response to the plea entered by serving Met police officer David Carrick, Ruth Davison, Refuge Chief Executive said (16th January 2023): “What has come to light today is barbarous and I send solidarity to the brave women who have come forward and reported these crimes. When a man who has been charged with 49 offenses, including 24 charges of rape, is a serving police officer, how can women and girls possibly be – or feel – safe. The police are supposed to be our first line of defense, they are supposed to protect us from violent crime, and they are supposed to hold perpetrators to account. Instead, the people who commit violent crimes against women are able to hold positions of power within the force and use their authority and status to abuse and harm, seemingly with impunity.”
Whenever a victim or a survivor of sexual assault stories comes up, they are very often accused of lying. The logic behind this very common accusation is: “If it really happened, why not speak up before? Why wait so long to say anything?” The reality is these individuals did tell but, unfortunately, their experiences were minimized or totally denied. Most victims who report to the Police are accused of making things up. If the victim is a child, the adult perpetrator is very often able to charm various officers in charge of their case. If they are women, they are told they asked for it, or, they are somehow to blame if they were under the influence of alcohol or wearing something judged as too sexy. If they are men, they are not believed; “Men don’t get raped!” or they are ridiculed for being weak. To top it all, it is now very clear, these victims are further abused and traumatized by the very people they are encouraged to reach out to. It seems we have nowhere and no one safe to turn to.
We are reminded time and time again, our healing and recovery are our responsibility. We are encouraged to report, not just for ourselves, but also to prevent more abuse. Without a supportive and safe environment, how can we recover and find hope? What about the Police and communities’ responsibility towards victims and survivors of rape and abuse? What about those who have lost their lives at the hand of those who are supposed to protect us?
Take gentle care of yourselves.
Parents and carers, if your child disclosed sexual abuse and you need support, contact MOSAC. They have an excellent advocacy team and a helpline.
For Male Survivors ( all individuals identifying as male) : Male Survivor Partnership1
For all survivors of sexual violence : One in Four
Rainbow Mind has some a great list of organisations, in London
Check out the “Resources” page.
** On the 7th of January 2023, David Carrick was sentenced to 32 years in prison. **