Galop provides a free confidential, independent service to lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer identified people who have experienced sexual violence, however or whenever it happened. We offer in-depth advocacy, listening and support in an informed, non-judgemental and actively trans-inclusive way as you come to terms with what you have experienced.
Read Tania’s story
Tania is a young lesbian in her early 20s. She used to work in a bar and often travelled home from work very late at night. On one night last April she was attacked and raped by a stranger on her way home, very close to where she lived. Feeling shocked and frightened, she didn’t tell the police, or indeed anyone, at the time. Three months later, the same man raped her again in very similar circumstances. This time, with support from her flatmate, the police were called.
Tania gave an interview to the police and went through all the medical tests and follow-ups necessary but her main need at this time was for support to cope in the aftermath of what she’d experienced. The police referred Tania to Galop’s Sexual Abuse Casework service for support.
Over the course of the next year, Galop’s worker Catherine supported Tania. They met very regularly, often weekly, and stayed in contact by phone and email too. Tania lived a fair distance from Galop’s office and, in any case, she felt more comfortable meeting Catherine in a café. Catherine supported Tania to talk about how she was feeling and find comfort and encouragement during many bleak times. Catherine also helped Tania work through some housing issues, deal with the benefits agency (which didn’t understand why she had voluntarily left work) and slowly start to think about her life and what she wanted to do.
After several months the offender was eventually caught and the case went to trial. Catherine provided intensive support to help Tania prepare emotionally for the trial, went with her on pre-trial visits, and supported her throughout the trial and its aftermath. It was an extremely difficult and exhausting experience but Tania went through it with real courage and fortitude.
Tania was really pleased that the offender was found guilty but it took six months and many psychiatric reports for him to be finally sentenced to 12 years in prison. Again, Catherine listened, encouraged and supported Tania during these protracted months. In the meantime, Catherine submitted a Criminal Injuries Compensation application on Tania’s behalf.
Galop’s involvement didn’t stop at the trial or the sentencing. It continued until Tania felt that life had moved on and she could think about the future. Having survived very dark times and tremendous demands, Tania is now engaged to her girlfriend, working towards training as a PE teacher and planning a future by the seaside. Although life looks so much brighter, Tania knows that Galop’s support is a phone call or email away if she ever needs it.
Note: we have not used actual names or images.