'My rapist stood outside club waiting': Uni student shares story with Bedfordshire Police

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She's hoping it will help others

One brave survivor has shared her experiences of being raped while on a night out at university.

It’s part of a series of blogs by Bedfordshire Police to highlight the harsh reality many women face in pubs and clubs.

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After launching Project Firefly earlier this year – which puts significant focus on holding perpetrators accountable – officers are keen to share real-life experiences to give survivors a voice through its #MVAWGVoices blogs (Male Violence Against Women and Girls) which you can access here

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The woman – who wants to remain anonymous shares her story:

I went out celebrating before classes started back at university. I was excited, happy and with my friends. We went to a house party and enjoyed catching up with everyone who I hadn't seen all summer.

On this occasion, I drank more than I usually would and before I knew it, we had all gone out to a nightclub in the town. I was with my three best friends but as the night went on, I was separated from them. I was now drunk and alone.

The Cross Keys in Bedford is just one of many pubs in the county displaying the Project Firefly posterThe Cross Keys in Bedford is just one of many pubs in the county displaying the Project Firefly poster
The Cross Keys in Bedford is just one of many pubs in the county displaying the Project Firefly poster

The next memory I have was being at my flat door with a man I didn't know.

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I panicked and was ringing and ringing my flat door buzzer in the hope a flatmate would answer.

I had my keys but didn't want to go inside in case the man tried to follow me in. But he became aggressive and frustrated, he got my keys from me and dragged me into the flat, which is when I was raped. I reported it and the police carried out an investigation.

After the court trial I was provided with some of the missing pieces to that horrific evening. Eventually, I was made aware of who this man was.

My rapist was a man who had visited the area and gone out to the same club as my friends and me. He was later removed from the club after causing an altercation and stood waiting at the club exit.

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He was described in court as a predator waiting, as he stood for a considerable amount of time before spotting a drunk female leaving alone.That female was me.

He followed me home. What unfolded inside my flat is something I will never forget; however, it is something I have processed thanks to support from my family and professionals.

What shocked me was that throughout the court case, witnesses were called to give evidence. These people were members of the public who saw me on this evening.

A bouncer stated that he remembered me as I was throwing my ID cards around at the entrance and he would only let me into the club if my friends didn't let me drink anymore.

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A member of the public said that I struggled to walk when leaving the club and could hardly stand up.

I am very clear that the blame lies at the feet of the man who raped me. But as I share my story, I ask that if you see someone who doesn't look safe, that you ask if they are OK and if you are concerned, call the police.Sometime after my attack I saw a girl who was worse for wear and alone. I asked if she was OK and helped contact her family members who were able to come and pick her up. Together we can help each other. There is never any harm in asking if someone is OK.In this day and age, it's easy to see something and think it's none of my business. The police will always listen to your concerns, and no report will be a waste of time. If something doesn’t sit right, let’s start challenging it.Make sure that ‘I'm sure they’re okay’ becomes ‘I know they’re okay’. Be an upstander, not a bystander.

Since the start of freshers week in September, Bedfordshire Police officers have attended events across the county and spoken to more than 2,000 university and college students.

Since the launch of Project Firefly, training has also been delivered to staff at 19 licensed venues across the county, with each business also displaying posters and other marketing materials to show their support.