Today, and well I lightly say that (as I’ve had this post sitting in draft for a while now), I am going to be sharing with you all the now-closed police case I have been involved in with my ex David, who on the 12th October 2017 (three days short of my 22nd birthday) was charged with a police cautionary and put on the sex offenders list for “possess to show or distribute indecent photographs of a child”, this child being me. If I could I would post his full name and location, but as this was an official police case I cannot.
And well its silly really, I’ve thought of all the ways I’ve wanted to write and share this, and yes from the moment I started my police case I wanted it to be shared and known. Due to various reasons; firstly how this was the hardest thing I mentally had to deal with, secondly, how it’s a very new “online” crime, and the fact I want to revolutionise the crime by sharing it. This post I will talk specifically about the case itself and how tedious it is, then I may be posting various other related posts, i.e. how I coped with it, my heart is pounding as much as it is posting this, so I may be too nervous to do a follow-up. So! let’s begin.
Was the month that my life should have finally fallen into place, as I was starting my journey into university, the most important years of my life were ahead of me, yet it was also the month our 2+ year relationship came to an end.
After returning from a camping trip to Pluckley, I had used Davids laptop to check some emails. And this is where I found one of the images he had decided to post online (at the time I wasn’t aware how many he had shared). Baring in mind this was three years ago, there would have been nothing I could have done, laws were changing, but they weren’t too refined for this type of crime then.
19th May 2016
I was messaged on Facebook by a complete stranger with three images of me, asking if I was “interested”. This was small compared to the amount of sexual harassment I had encountered over the years because of Davids endeavours. I remember my reply being very calm and collective, asking where they got them, and the fact if they knew I was underage in them. As a result, I was given a link to the images and threads I was in. Googling for these images and seeing all the threads/posts I was put in, along with the graphic comments, such as; “now you know what she looks like naked ;)”, has to
be to this day one of the most degrading things I’ve had to deal with**. The post that broke me the most was finding the original post that David had made of me back in 2014, stating my name and location, although his denial that he had posted more three years prior.
** writers comment, tad unrelated. Lillian Constantine’s vlog on “what they don’t tell you about sexual assault part two” was very insightful to watch, as you do find you’re googling about yourself a lot, and honestly, it can be a very harmful thing to see what strangers post, or even people claiming they know.
I chose to call 101 and the next day I was to make an informal statement to the police, who was kind enough to visit me at my boyfriends (at the time) house, they were very keen on “where ever I feel most comfortable”. And this treatment was repeated throughout my case.
After a few weeks, I was met by a DC Ha (due to it being an official crime I won’t be sharing official names of the DCs, so he’s called DC Ha for now) from the local police in my home to make a formal statement. I feel the statements were the most difficult part to this, you’re expected to go into great detail, as much as you can, about the images themselves, (whats in the background, how you’re posed, what part of the body is it) etc. talking from the moment you and the defendant met, all about the relationship you had with them, i.e. if there was violence, abuse, anything unusual, to the point you’re at now. Afterwards, I was asked a bunch of questions whether I’d be happy to go to court (if needed), if id be happy to be in the same room as the defendant (or via alternative means, such as video stream), if I’d be happy to allow the maximum penalty to them, like I said they make the whole process very comfortable. At this point DC ha wasn’t allowed to give much information to me regarding what sort of crime it would be, or how it was expected to go, simply wouldn’t want to get my hopes up, but he was very avid to point out how I would have technically (in the eyes of the law) be counted as a minor, although I was aged 16/17 in the pictures- which I found very interesting, but it was a massive breakthrough in the case as it would have to be taken very seriously, seeing David would have been much older (an adult) compared to my age, a lot of further investigation into child conditioning and potential statutory rape (an adult having sex with a minor) would have had to been investigated, but I was very honest that my sexual relations with David were conceptual, whereas the photos to be shared were not. I had no reason to lie about this, I wasn’t ashamed, nor was I prepared to get someone in trouble for something they never did.
Due to the statement that I gave, in which I explained that I had sent the photos to him myself, (with the messages of him asking for them, along with the messages of me asking him to delete them too) and the fact I had received sexual harassment from strangers, my phone, the phone this all happened on, unfortunately, had to be taken in as evidence, it literally was the worst time of my life, like you don’t realise how much you rely on your phone until its gone (and it was taken for 6 LONG months).
August 2016 (maybe September)
My case was transferred to a new police station, 20 miles short of where I live, to be taken over by a new department who deals specifically with online crimes, my new DC will go by the name of A.A for this section. Upon meeting my new DC I was re-asked to make another statement, but in this one, they had asked me for the thread URLs, along with the post codings and comments so that they could find the exact images, as although I was very willing to sit in a room with someone and point them out A.A regrettably informed me on how it would be informal for her to do that.
Within this meeting with A.A we discussed deeper into the future processes I should expect from crown prosecution and how court would most likely go if it was needed, she also recommended me to start attending counselling that was free of charge and supplied via the case, she explained that in court it would represent my mental state, and that they can support me if I couldn’t get ahold of her. So thus I was enrolled to meet with EKRCC- East Kent Rape Crisis Centre, at first the name threw me but I eventually understood how they deal with much more than rape victims. Like the process of my case, it took a long time for me to actually start counselling, in fact, I hadn’t started official counselling until mid-October.
October – November 2016
Personally not much happened at this time other than me getting my phone back (whoop!), starting counselling, and my case DC was replaced with DC Hw.
Now I’m going, to be honest, I don’t remember the call when David was finally brought in for questioning, but I have a little silly note on my phone where I’ve clearly gone off on a tangent about the case (so definitely something was on my mind). I was an interesting call, DC Hw was nice enough to give me some insight how the questioning went, but I remember him stating how they asked if he had posted the pictures and his response was along the lines of “yes the posts were mine, but I hadn’t made any new posts”, thus pleading guilty, furthermore he had also responded with “but I hadn’t known how old she was in the pictures” I can tell you know I raged down the phone to DC Hw saying “you know that’s bullshit, he’s lying, I was in secondary school when we got together and he knows it”. A few other questions he let me know about is when they told him when our relationship started and ended, asking if that was correct, his response was along the lines of “yes if Emma says it’s that then it’s most likely true”. I’m not going to post the full conversation purely because I know I’m not allowed to share too much.
But I want to highlight how mentally straining it can be to hear a previous S.O can just act so calm about everything, I found it was almost helpful to everyone he told the truth. But I couldn’t imagine how people would deal with someone pleading innocent.
February – September 2017
After questioning David it was the longest process ever, I had to re-attend the station to sign a load of forms to the crown prosecution, along with forms stating I give permission to the police to investigate my educational history, medical history and child services history.
These were going to be needed in court, it was essential to investigate I had a clear background, as mentioned before you’re expected (but not forced) to give AS MUCH detail as you possibly can. The more helpful and honest you are, the more the police can go on. Even if it’s a stupid call between the case saying you remember something new, or a new post has been made. Weirdly if I’m honest, most of my phone calls to my DCs were more about worrying being in the same room with David, as it seemed everytime I received a phone call off DC Hw I’d legitimately see him the same or next day, I think my worst scenario of this was when the case was coming to a close, David was a photographer for the graduation ceremonies at my university, which would have been my ceremony if I hadn’t had to resist a lesson (due to being too ill to finish my course).
Basically, this whole time period was waiting on hearing that all these services have given the police all the information they needed. Also in this time period, DC Hw was informing me that he was passing my case onto his superior to see if it’s crown prosecution worthy, and if that’s the case it was going to have to be processed further by them.
7th October I was called by DC Hw to inform me that my case was not going further (to the crown prosecution) and that they were going to be bringing David in to be charged with a police cautionary and popped on the sex offenders list.
12th October I got the call to say David was asked to a station a few miles out from his location, where he was convicted with just that, I asked a lot of questions, including what is the conviction, how does it affect the defendant, etc. and my answers where that the crime was ‘possessing to show or distribute indecent photographs of a child”, and that his charge would last 5 years while reregistering.
A-long old process, I was a part of but I’m happy it finally came to an end, and that it wasn’t what I wanted, but it was enough for me. The biggest insight I will give on this post to Davids and Is relationship is that one of the last things I said to him (in person) is that “no one will want you (as in employability) if they found out what you did”.
To all of my friends and family who may have not been aware of this, I apologise how this can be upsetting to read, I am sorry for not telling you sooner, I am safe and always was, I made a stupid mistake but I dealt with it the right way.
Please to anyone going through this feel free to message me about anything I’m happy to help, and also feel free to share my story I am intending for this to be read and shared.
Until next time xx