April 17 2014 Latest news:
, Crime correspondent
Monday, December 16, 2013
A woman who was raped after a night out in Norwich has taken the courageous step of talking about her ordeal in a bid to urge other women not to put themselves in danger this festive season - and give other victims the confidence to come forward.
The Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) in Norwich, The Harbour Centre, opened in 2010, and provides 24-hour help and support to victims of sex offences, including counselling and a medical examination, with no obligation for the victims to go to the police.
The aim of the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) is to empower victims by for the first time, allowing them to report their abuse and undergo medical examinations without prompting a police investigation.
Health experts and police officers hope the ‘self-referral’ route will encourage those who may feel too afraid to approach the police to at least seek help and advice
- You can call the 24-hour helpline on 0845 456 4810
- Visit www.harbourcentre.co.uk
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Or contact the Norfolk police on the 101 number, or 999 in an emergency
Andrew Oruovo, 21, was jailed after being found guilty of raping his 24 year old victim in the city centre.
The 25-year-old victim Sarah, not her real name, has agreed to talk about her ordeal, to give others the strength to speak to police.
She said: “You never think it’s going to happen to you or anybody that you know. But it does happen.
“I would definitely encourage others to come forward. I thought maybe if he got away with it there’s always that thing is he going to go off and do it to someone else, I felt a responsibility.”
Sarah had been out with friends but got split up and ended up on her own which is when, she was targeted by Oruovo.
She said: “I had been drinking quite a lot and I never really had any memory of what happened next other than sitting in a shop window and taking off my shoes.
“Someone came over to me and picked my shoes up and the only memory I have is having his hand under my arm and being helped down the road. I thought in my head someone helping me.”
It was then that Sarah was taken to a hotel off Prince of Wales Road where she was raped.
She said: “I don’t think I was really aware of what was going on at the time. He was saying sorry all the time throughout the struggle and after he finished he took a step back and looked really shocked with himself.”
Sarah, who was found by two girls sitting in a doorway, was taken to Norfolk’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) – The Harbour Centre – where she received the expert help and support she needed.
She said: “I didn’t know anything about the Harbour Centre before this happened to me, I would have felt a lot worse if I had been taken to a police station. There was lots of support even Yoga classes, you can’t even imagine.”
Sarah said the cannot remember much about the incident itself which is why she said the trial was so important.
She said: “Although it wasn’t a great experience going through the trial it helped with what actually happened - you get to fill in the gaps about what actually happened.
“You can then have answers. If I hadn’t have cone forward to the police about it I would’ve always had these questions about whether I could’ve done anything or if it was anything I had done but I’m happy that I got my answers that I wouldn’t otherwise have got so that was good for me.
“It’s definitely worth it for that if nothing else but at the time you just want to forget about it.”
With the festive party season about to get into full swing and lots of people out enjoying themselves, Sarah urged other women not to be victims by “not getting separated”.
The victim has spoken out in the run up to Christmas as Norfolk Constabulary has renewed its pledge to continue to tackle such crimes in the county under the umbrella of its Time to Stop campaign.
Have you got a crime story? Call reporter Peter Walsh on 01603 772436 or email email@example.com