Raped at Knife­point

Help catch that sex beast

Chat - - Front Page - By Dawn Clark, 51, from Poole

As my best pal Deb­bie and I made our way back to the sta­bles, I couldn’t stop gig­gling.

‘You def­i­nitely fancy him,’ I teased her, chat­ting about a boy at school.

It was a sunny evening in May 1982. Both aged 15, Deb­bie and I were horse lovers, even had our own.

Most nights af­ter school, we’d trot around the lo­cal fields – Deb­bie on her horse and me on mine, Beauty.

I loved it – and all of our silly school­girl chats!

Af­ter our ride, Deb­bie and I walked to a foot­path, then we parted ways.

The path was right near a main road and lots of kids used it on their way home from school.

‘See you at school to­mor­row,’ Deb­bie said, wav­ing as she walked off.

I headed down the path, but then I sud­denly re­alised that there was a man in front of me.

‘Ex­cuse me, do you know when the next bus is?’ he asked me.

‘Not for an­other 10 min­utes,’ I replied.

He thanked me and I car­ried on walk­ing down the path, think­ing noth­ing of it.

But my life was about to change for­ever…

I felt a strong arm grab me from be­hind.

I tried to scream, but the man held a knife to my throat.

As he pushed the cold metal against my skin, I froze.

‘If you want to live, you’d bet­ter do as you’re told,’ he hissed in my ear. I was shak­ing with ter­ror. The man made me walk to a se­cluded area 100 yards away, where he had some shop­ping bags hid­den.

Then I re­alised that my at­tacker must’ve ac­tu­ally been ly­ing in wait for some­one to come along. He’s go­ing to chop me up and put me in those shop­ping bags, I thought, ab­so­lutely pet­ri­fied.

The man or­dered me to take off my jeans and lie on the floor. Pet­ri­fied, I did as I was told. Next, he un­zipped his trousers and lay on top of me, with the knife just inches from my face.

As he raped me, I felt as if I was float­ing above my body, watch­ing what was hap­pen­ing.

It was like a night­mare, as if

it wasn’t re­ally hap­pen­ing.

I’ve got to do what­ever it takes to sur­vive, I told my­self.

Some­how, de­spite the hor­ren­dous or­deal, I knew that I needed to mem­o­rise ev­ery­thing I could about my rapist.

It’ll help the po­lice to catch him, I thought.

So I stud­ied his face, his clothes, even his grubby fin­ger­nails…

The man was pale-faced, about 5ft 6in tall and aged about 25 to 30.

He had fair, straight hair parted on the left, a full, blond beard and a barely no­tice­able mous­tache.

He also wore square gold-rimmed glasses.

My or­deal seemed to go on for­ever.

But fi­nally, af­ter 20 min­utes, it was over.

‘If I let you go, how do I know you’re not go­ing to say any­thing?’ he asked.

‘I won’t tell any­one,’ I lied. ‘My dad is re­ally strict. I’d get in trou­ble if he found out.’

I just told him what he wanted to hear and it worked. ‘Good,’ he smirked. I felt sick, but so re­lieved that it was all over.

Then, be­fore he walked away, he turned to me.

‘I’ve ru­ined your life now, haven’t I?’ he asked me. ‘Yes,’ I replied qui­etly. With my rapist gone from view, I ran as fast as I could to the main road, feel­ing sick. Ev­ery­thing was a blur.

Has that re­ally just hap­pened?

I thought.

At that mo­ment, I bumped into one of my school friends.

She could see the state I was in and took me to her house. ‘What’s wrong?’ she asked. ‘I was raped!’ I sobbed. Her mum called my par­ents and the po­lice.

When my mum ar­rived, she just hugged me tightly, dev­as­tated by what’d hap­pened.

But Dad was fu­ri­ous and tor­tured him­self that he wasn’t there to pro­tect me.

When the po­lice came, they made me go back to the scene.

‘This is where it hap­pened,’ I said, a lump in my throat.

Then I gave my state­ment at the po­lice sta­tion and re­counted ev­ery last de­tail that I could re­mem­ber about my at­tacker.

Po­lice compiled an e-fit of the man from my de­scrip­tion.

‘Don’t worry – we’ll find him,’ an of­fi­cer re­as­sured me.

Back at home, I just felt numb, shaken and ter­ri­fied.

Mum and Dad just didn’t know what to say to me.

It was too up­set­ting for any of us to talk about, so we didn’t.

Af­ter that, I seemed to re­treat into my­self. I was too scared to go to school and re­fused to go out alone.

‘What if he finds me?’ I sobbed bro­kenly to Mum.

The happy-go-lucky school­girl that I’d been be­fore the at­tack had gone.

I cut my­self off from my friends and only left the house when I was with Mum or Dad.

I didn’t even have the con­fi­dence to ride my horse Beauty again.

As time passed, the po­lice were still no closer to find­ing my rapist.

And, even­tu­ally, the case went cold…

The hap­pygo-lucky school­girl that I’d been had gone

There was no choice but to start get­ting on with my life.

So, at 17, I got a job in a fac­tory cafe. But I still found it hard to so­cialise. I was just so ner­vous and jumpy.

Then, in my 20s, I re­con­nected with an old child­hood friend.

‘I was raped when I was 15,’ I con­fided in him.

He was so sup­port­ive. I felt I could trust him.

Aged 24, we tied the knot.

And, in Novem­ber 1992, we had our first daugh­ter, shortly fol­lowed by a sec­ond girl in June 1994.

But, as the girls grew up, my fear resur­faced. I in­sisted on driv­ing them every­where, was al­ways check­ing up on them.

They didn’t know about the at­tack, couldn’t un­der­stand my con­trol­ling be­hav­iour. In the end, my GP pre­scribed me an­tide­pres­sants.

But I couldn’t sleep and was still tor­mented by vi­sions of my at­tacker.

He was still out there – some­where.

Sadly, my mar­riage broke down and we sep­a­rated.

As I dealt with my divorce, an old friend – Si­mon – re­ally helped me. We grew close and then mar­ried in 2009.

I still suf­fered ter­ri­ble flash­backs, though.

Even­tu­ally, in 2013, I was di­ag­nosed with post­trau­matic stress dis­or­der.

‘You lost con­trol over your body when you were raped and you’ve been try­ing to get back that feel­ing of con­trol ever since,’ my doc­tor said. It made sense. Shortly af­ter, the po­lice came to take new DNA sam­ples in the hope of fi­nally break­ing the case.

‘We won’t give up,’ an of­fi­cer told me.

I fi­nally sat the girls down, told them what’d hap­pened to me. ‘Oh, Mum!’ they cried, up­set.

They were shocked, but fi­nally un­der­stood why I’d been so over­pro­tec­tive.

It’s been 35 years, but not a day goes by when I don’t think about my rapist. He’s still out there and it makes my blood boil.

I think he’d be about 65 now.

I de­cided to waive my right to anonymity to help the po­lice with a re­newed ap­peal to catch my at­tacker.

I’m still hop­ing that some­one will come for­ward to Dorset Po­lice with in­for­ma­tion.

I want my at­tacker to be caught, so I can fi­nally get some clo­sure.

Af­ter rap­ing me, he asked if he’d ru­ined my life. And, at the time, I thought that he had. But not any more. I’m a sur­vivor – and I’m de­ter­mined to help catch him.

I don’t care if it takes months, years or even an­other decade – I will get jus­tice.

I’m a sur­vivor – and I’m de­ter­mined to help catch him

Just a child… I was only 15 when he at­tacked me

Who is this man?

If he’d He asked me life… ru­ined my

Fi­nally, strong enough to ride again

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