Dark Places

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Chapter 2

Next morning Elaine awoke at her friend Charlotte’s house, where she had spent the night. Charlotte at this moment in time knew nothing about the ordeal that Elaine had been through. Charlotte however, was already aware that something had happened to her friend because she was pale and very clearly unhappy and troubled. Her normal happy smile had been replaced by an unhappy frown and when Charlotte had opened the door to Elaine last night she was in floods of tears. Elaine was unable to say anything so because of the late hour Charlotte put her to bed in the spare room and left her to try and sleep but sleep would be far from Elaine’s mind. Her thoughts were full of what happened to her, even if she did not want to admit it. Charlotte did not understand that she would be the first person who would be told what Mike had done to her friend.

Elaine forced herself not to scream out loud but she had her first flash back of the sordid night. She could clearly see Mike’s face and all that he was doing to her. She had hoped that her rape would not affect her mentally but she knew that flash backs would be something she would have to cope with until her trauma died down a little. Elaine just hoped that the way she was feeling would soon leave her be, as it was she felt cheap and dirty. She could easily have jumped into the shower and scrubbed herself clean until she bled but a voice in the back of her mind told her she should not take a shower yet.

At breakfast time Elaine was sat at Charlotte’s kitchen table staring into a mug of tea. She was not thinking about anything in particular but she was scared by the flash back she had experienced last night. She was angry about the incident and she was also frightened but what came with that was regret. However, what did she have to be regretful about? She had not done anything wrong; it was her that had been done wrong against and she was not prepared for Mike to ruin her life any more than he had already. However much she confessed to loving Mike, her world with him had ended and there would be no turning back with their relationship now. That in her mind was well and truly over and she knew she would have to consider the one thing she had never thought would happen to her and Mike in that they would part and be divorced.

Elaine was snapped out of her thoughts with the door opening and a cheery “Morning Elaine”. Charlotte knew that Elaine would not be cheery. She would be surprised if Elaine had slept a wink last night as she was so upset before she went to bed. She needed to be there for Elaine and would reassure her that she was going to be there for her but first of all she would need to know what had upset her so much.

Of course, there was another person who should have been there for Elaine in her hour of need but he was the one, which had put her into the situation she was currently in so there was no chance of getting any comfort from that person.

“Oh sweetie” said Charlotte concerned for her best friend. She had been friend’s with Elaine since nursery school, so they cared for each other over the years and would continue to do so until their dying days. They were destined to be friends forever.

“I hate seeing my best friend so upset like she was last night and by the looks of it is still this morning. You are so white and pale that I nearly mistook you for a ghost”. Charlotte meant the comment as joke but what she had said made Elaine begin to cry again.

“Oh. I am so sorry. You are my best friend in the whole world. I did not mean to say that”, said Charlotte comforting Elaine.

Charlotte hated seeing her friend so upset and said, “Honey, what has brought all this on?”

Elaine remained quiet. She wanted to tell Charlotte all but she was just so scared of how she was feeling and she did not really know if she could put into words what had happened to her.

“There is no pressure but when you are ready and need to talk, you know you can tell me anything in the strictest confidence”.

Elaine smiled a little to which Charlotte gave Elaine a big warm hug, which soothed her a little. The hug helped her quite a lot but the hug alone could not wipe away her tears or the thoughts that were in her head and she certainly could not wipe away the pain that she was feeling.

Yes this was hard and Elaine wanted to confess all and pour her heart out to Charlotte but she was too upset and ashamed, however, she knew that Charlotte would not judge so between tears she opened her heart to her.

“Something happened last night as you can guess and I am afraid it concerns Mike. No he is not ill or in hospital but something happened which as a man I am sure he will deny but happen it did. It was so horrible and unlike him and I am ashamed to say what I have to but there is no point beating around the bush. Mike raped me last night”.

Charlotte was shocked by what she had just heard. No wonder Elaine was so upset. Elaine felt much clearer now that she had gotten over one of the hardest parts of her ordeal and so told her the full story of what had taken place.

Charlotte simply listened and did not interrupt what Elaine was saying and again was even more shocked knowing the full details of the trauma that her best friend was facing.

“What made him do that?” Charlotte asked.

“I wish I knew. He was drunk, which was the first thing I was surprised to see as he has never been drunk in front of me before. That is no excuse for what he did but the second thing was how unlike Mike the actions were. It was like he was a crazed animal or certainly someone who had been possessed. My hardest thing to do when it was over was tell myself not to have a shower. All I want to do is wash him and the shame away. Instead I had to get away so did and that is when I turned up on your doorstep”.

Charlotte was so shocked by what Elaine had confessed to her and she was agreeing how unlike it was for Mike to do something like that to her best friend. There had never been evidence of violence before so why now? That would be something Elaine would be thinking too.

The ever rational Charlotte responded by commenting, “I know you probably do not want to think about this, but, have you thought what you are going to do next?”

What am I going to do next?’ thought Elaine.

Her mind was in shock and grave turmoil but she knew what she had to do next, even if it was something that she did not want to have to. How could you face having to tell someone you did not know what had happened to her? It was good to be able to talk to her best friend about everything but a stranger was different; that part scared her. She knew the rape needed to be reported but she was so scared to think of doing it. She was not scared of Mike; he had proven he was a coward. No, she was scared because of what lay ahead for her, especially as she had already guessed it would not be an easy path to take.

“I know what you are going to say, Charlotte. I need to go to the police and report what Mike did to me but I am so scared. I am not scared of him but what if they do not believe me? Or worse Mike makes up some lies and tries to pin this on me?” Elaine was in tears again.

After more comforting, Charlotte said “I am afraid sweetie that is something that only you can decide but in marriage or not, what Mike did to you was violate your rights, and his own, by raping you. Now the choices I can see are you make him pay for the rest of his life, or you leave this unreported and you pay for what Mike did to you for the rest of your life. It is your decision and only you can make it, but whatever you decide I will be right here for you”.

Elaine remained quiet for a while. Mike definitely needed to act the responsible adult in this situation and he needed to be taught a lesson for what he had done and how wrong it had been, as if he did not know already.

She finally said “I know I need to make him pay. I love Mike so much and always will, and that will always hurt and tear my heart apart but I cannot let him get off on this one. I need to go to the police, but I need you to come with me, Charlotte”.

“Of course I will silly. You know I will”.

“Do you realise that I will never be able to trust another man again? If you had said that Mike and I would part, I would have laughed very loudly and said you were being silly and that we were inseparable. It is not just that. It is naturally the thought of trusting any other man to look at me, never mind touching me. How can I ever move on in the future if I feel that violated?” that was something Charlotte could not offer an answer to. Unfortunately, this is one of the many things that someone who had suffered rape would be feeling. It would pass with time and she would trust men again but part of the healing process was allowing this time to recover and trust again.

Elaine had finished her tea and got dressed and was now walking with Charlotte along Bath Road, which would eventually lead to Church Street, where Blagdon Police Station was situated. It was now or never otherwise she would never be able to do this. It was not something she wanted to do but she needed to be able to correct Mike on this one and show him that he had been wrong. She knew he would be realising what he had done was wrong but it could not just end there and have everything perfect again as if nothing had ever happened. She certainly could never look him in the eye again, never mind share intimate moments with him. She did not feel hate or repulse for him but more pity.

Charlotte and Elaine got to the door of the police station. It took quite a length of time before Elaine could prepare herself to enter. She was shaking and very nervous, and in tears again. She hated what had happened to her and she knew what she needed to do but she was so scared that she vomited in the street, simply because of the fear of the unknown. She had never had a criminal record or any reason to be at a police station, this was her first time and it was not something that she thought she would ever do or could do.

“Oh poor you”, commented Charlotte when her friend was feeling less nauseous. “I, know you are scared and frightened but I am here for you”. Charlotte could only offer Elaine words of comfort and her support; the two things Elaine would need lots of in this situation.

Charlotte led Elaine into the police station. Once they were at the front desk, they were greeted by Officer Ray Bradley, the Community Police Officer for Blagdon and the surrounding areas.

“Good morning ladies. How can I be of assistance to you?”

Elaine had frozen and was unable to speak so Charlotte spoke for her. “I am Charlotte and I am with my friend, Elaine Fear and we have come to report her rape by her husband”.

Those words “rape by her husband” shook Elaine, she felt and knew what Mike had done to her but hearing those words “rape by her husband”, just made the whole incident too much to take in and she started to shed more tears.

“I am sorry to hear that Mrs Fear. You can be assured that you will receive our care in this matter and I am the local officer that you can contact when you require anything”.

Elaine was too confused by everything to be able to speak. All that was going through her mind was, ‘why me?’ ’What if I am not believed?’ and ’what is going to happen?’

“Now I know this is all going to be very upsetting for you but we will need to take a statement so even if it seems something irrelevant please promise to be trusting of me and that you will be honest about everything that has happened to you and I am afraid I have to advise you by law that anything you say can and may be used in evidence in court against Mr Fear, do you understand?”

Elaine understood and continued to listen to what else Officer Bradley had to say to her. He advised her to talk to Victim Support whose specially-trained volunteers could provide information, practical help and emotional support. She was also informed that if the case went to court, they would be there to help her cope with the experience.

He also explained that she could either be referred to a sexual assault referral centre (SARC) who would work with her and the police, health services and other voluntary organisations set up to focus on any support needs. The centre would be the place with facilities for forensic examination to collect physical evidence, which would include having access to the clothes she was wearing at the time of the attack, having a medical examination and helping to prepare making statements.

Elaine could not take everything else in but she was also informed that once these had been completed, the investigation would move onto the attacker and as to whether he would be arrested and charged. If he was taken to court, their Witness Support team would be there to cope with the experience.

From the things that she had been told, Elaine agreed to Victim Support and within half an hour was assigned a case worker, Nicki and together they would go to the SARC centre in Bristol which was the nearest to Blagdon.

Elaine wanted to be accompanied by Charlotte to the support centre but had agreed to attend with just Nicki. The journey to the centre was the worst of her life but she had complied with everything that was required of her. She knew that by doing this that she could start to sort this mess out but there were things she did not know which concerned Mike and his welfare.

Later that evening, one of Officer Bradley’s colleagues rang the doorbell of Mike and Elaine’s marital home and waited, and waited and waited. After ten minutes he called into the station to ask when Elaine had last seen her husband. Her simple answer was after the rape when she walked out and as far as she was concerned her husband would be at home gloating about what he had done. She did not mean to be so harsh but she really did not care where Mike was, not until he was facing charges, that is.

Officer Bradley’s colleague PC Smith was concerned by the lack of answering the door and called for back-up officers to be sent. When they arrived, they broke the lock to the front door and started a search for Mike. It was a while before they entered the bathroom and found him lying on the floor unconscious. Upon checking Mike’s pulse they discovered that he had a one, although it was very weak but he was still alive; only just.

The next call was to the ambulance service so that Mike could be taken to Frenchay Hospital in Bristol, which was almost forty minutes to get to but would be the nearest accident and emergency hospital and despite the journey, Mike would be in safe hands and in his condition would know very little about the journey he was about to make.

PC Smith made another call to Officer Bradley, this time to inform him of what had happened to Mike and whether at this stage they should contact Elaine to inform her of the news and both agreed that even though she was distressed from the rape she needed to be aware of what Mike’s situation was, as she was still married and therefore next of kin, despite the events that had led her to come in contact with the police.

When Elaine had been contacted by PC Smith, she finished the call and sobbed. She could not take in what she had heard. What a mess. She was hurt and humiliated after the rape and was very angry towards Mike and what he had done to her. Her husband was fighting for his life in hospital but that had been a selfish act too, trying to commit suicide…the coward’s way out. No matter what he had done though, he was still a part of her life for the moment and that confused and upset her even more and she had no idea of what she would do for the best.

Her decision of what to do was a tough one and it was only her that could decide what the action to take would be. What would she decide?

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