Jennifer, 29, made sure justice caught up with her attacker.
I’d just been promoted at work, so I organised a small celebration with friends.
‘Go out and have a good time,’ my partner Mike said.
He’d offered to watch my kids with my mum, so I could enjoy a rare night out.
It was 11 June 2015, and the sun was shining. I met my mates in the afternoon, had a few drinks and caught up.
We were having such a good time.
How are the kids? I texted Mike during the evening. Everything’s fine, he replied. Have fun.
By 10pm, my mate Emily and I were in the pub. She was chatting to someone at the bar, and I assumed they knew each other.
They looked comfortable with each other, familiar. So I spoke to some locals I knew.
Later, I went to get a drink. Emily explained the guy she’d been chatting to was having a house party nearby.
We agreed we’d go, not wanting the night to end. It was only a 15-minute walk, and I thought they were Emily’s mates.
We stopped off to buy some drink and arrived about 2.30am.
People were milling about, sitting chatting in various spots, and there was music blaring.
I sat down on a leather sofa and was handed a drink in a plastic cup.
I was happy, tipsy, but after having a few sips of the drink, I was hit by a wave of tiredness. I shut my eyes.
‘Is there anywhere I can lie down?’ I asked Emily’s mate.
‘Yeah, there’s a bedroom,’ he said, leading me towards it.
When I went inside, there were two guys and a girl chatting.
‘I’m just going to lie down,’ I said, lying on top of the bed.
I shut my eyes, but could still hear the others talking. I didn’t know who they were.
I must’ve drifted off, but a short time later, I woke to a sharp pain.
Someone had bitten the top of my left thigh!
My eyes flew open and one of the men from earlier was naked between my legs.
‘What are you doing?’ I shouted at him, terrified.
‘You know what this is,’ he said.
I didn’t have my full strength, but I yelled, lashed out at him.
Yet he ripped off my high-waisted shorts and knickers. I froze – then I fought back, scratching at his head.
But he was stronger than me. Pinned one arm above my head, the other to the side.
‘F*ck off!’ I shrieked.
‘Shut up,’ he snarled, before forcing himself on me.
The pain was indescribable, but I couldn’t fight him off, couldn’t move.
I was absolutely petrified – how had this happened?
The brute looked straight through me as he raped me.
Afterwards, he got dressed and walked back to the party, as if nothing had happened.
‘You make me sick!’ I shouted after him furiously.
Shaking uncontrollably, I put my clothes back on. There was blood everywhere.
Distraught, I was desperate to go home, get away from my rapist.
I was in so much pain, as I made my way to find Emily. I caught her eye, and she came over.
‘I’ve just been raped,’ I said. ‘Get me out of here.’
Emily was shocked, helped arrange a taxi for me.
As I waited, the man who’d attacked me approached.
‘Come and talk to me,’ he said, unashamed. Was he crazy?!
‘No. I just want to go home,’ I said shakily.
Emily paid the taxi driver. ‘Make sure she gets home safe,’ she said.
Twenty-five minutes later I was home, knocking on the front door in a daze.
‘What happened?’ Mike asked, worried.
I felt so dirty and disgusting, I couldn’t even look at him.
Hysterical, I called the police.
‘I’ve been raped,’ I said.
Mike looked heartbroken, and Mum overheard what I’d said, too. They comforted me until the police and paramedics arrived.
I desperately wanted to shower, to feel clean again, but knew it might get rid of evidence.
I was taken to a forensic hospital and Mike came, too. We both broke down and he held me.
My clothes were bagged and I was examined. After, I scrubbed myself in the shower.
Next day, I gave a video statement to police, was shown photos of the possible suspects.
And, suddenly, I saw my attacker’s smirking face. I’d never forget it.
‘That’s him,’ I said, sobbing.
While the police carried on their investigations, my attacker went on the run.
I was terrified he’d track me down somehow. I had terrible flashbacks, wouldn’t let my kids out of my sight, and my relationship suffered, too.
My moods were up and down, but Mike remained constant.
‘I’m not going anywhere,’ he’d say.
We moved areas, but I was always looking over my shoulder.
Some days, I wanted to give up, but I wasn’t going to let that monster win.
Finally, this February, the police told me they’d arrested my attacker.
His name was Rory Campbell. At court in September, Campbell, 25, denied rape.
I gave evidence from behind a screen and, despite breaking down, I got through it.
Days later, the police called.
‘Are you sitting down?’ the officer asked. ‘Campbell was found guilty and sentenced to seven and a half years.’
He’d been ordered to sign the sex offenders register for life, too.
Relief washed over me. I was so pleased I hadn’t given up.
‘He may have won the battle that night, but you won the war in court,’ Mike said. ‘Now we can rebuild our lives.’
He was right. Not washing away evidence, not giving up and being strong had helped me through.
The support of my family and counselling has been invaluable.
I’ll never get over what Campbell did to me, but I won’t let him ruin my future.