Call me Charlotte. That’s not my real name but it’s just to give you an a template. Your already saying “ah shes a she” and you would be correct.
Let’s say I’m twenty five. I’m not twenty five, not any more, but I was once.
So you have in your mind a twenty five year old female so far so good. Now place her on a bus in a city late at night. Two men get on, they spy the girl and approach her.
Are you getting an icky feeling yet? Can you see what is likely going on. I cant, or at least I couldnt. One of the strangers comes over and chats to her. She smiles. A few minutes later all three of them get off the bus.
The prosecution called that evidence that what that women… what I, then endured was what she/I agreed to. It’s true enough that she quite fancied the man and may have, given the opportunity to make a decision, chosen to sleep with him.
I am going to refer to my younger self in the third person from now on. Its easier for me.
She was not given that choice. She was forced first by one, then the other, then both.
She reported it to the police as soon as she could. Her words were uncertain her memories shattered. Her accounts conflicting as she tried to put things together.
She suddenly found herself in court for perverting the course of justice. The judge saying though both men were known thugs there was nothing to suggest they were capable of doing the terrible things Charlotte claimed.
Nine months later charlotte emerged from prison. The children that has been borne as a result of that encounter she had given birth to in handcuffs and were taken away from her within hours.
She left the prison with nothing. What little family she had turned it back on her. The world believing her to be a liar of the worst kind.
So let’s go back to the night on the bus. Now unknown to anyone on the bus, Charlotte is autistic. Charlotte does not know it. Nobody knows it. Charlotte avoids making eye contact and it makes most people think shes a lier. She has a slight speech impediment which makes many people think shes is stupid. And she trusts people. She cant read the body language which tells so many of us to be weary.
Unknown to all including her she has adhd and finds it difficult to consider consequences. She makes decisions based on the pressures she feels in the moment
She is also desperately lonely.
She has however found a way of masking her unknown disabilities. By smiling and saying yes.
Some people have a radar for the vulnerable, the easily led. Human predators. Sharks made in the images of men. And they are always hungry
Now play back that scene on the bus and you may find it a more understandable. A little more relatable. A little more horrific.
The police interviewers also dont know charlotte is autistic. They see her lack of eye contact as evidence that she is lying. Her inability to concentrate long enough to put the peices back together correctly as evidence that she is making it up.
The jury are directed to find the same.
It’s over 8 years later that she discovers the truth. That she is autistic with adhd. In the years between she has bounced from one bad situation to another. Carried on tusting the wrong people because she isn’t aware she has a blind spot. Shes stopped expecting justice or decency from the world. And shes tried to end her own life so many times.
“I’m so sorry” said the doctor who confirmed the diagnosis. “If you had been diagnosed before you would never have ended up in prison.”
It’s a bitter pill but with her diagnosis in place life gets a little better. Now she knows what her problems are she can work on them. She even makes one or two friends.
And she discovers that one of the two men who raped her so many times that night is in prison for a similar offence.
But still the law insists it was right and the criminal record remains.
(Above. Artistic expression of the difficulties I have expressing my experiences verbally)
SO Please if you have autistic friends or kids. Or if you know someone who has slipped through the cracks like me. Warn them, educate them.
If your autistic yourself. Whether your male or female or reject the binary notion. Please be careful because the predators are out there, and they are looking for you.
If you wish to leave a comment or ask a question of charlotte. Please do so below.