Question Time viewers praise woman for recounting tale of sexual abuse

Question Time audience member who says police quizzed her over length of her skirt when a knife-wielding man now in prison for murder and rape attacked her in her car brands UK justice system an ‘absolute tragedy’

  • Colette told BBC panel show host Fiona Bruce she was attacked in broad daylight
  • Police asked her what she was wearing when perpetrator tried to get in her car
  • Says she was nearly arrested for using ‘unreasonable force’ to escape him
  • Claims there’s no deterrent for perpetrators of violence against women and girls 

Question Time viewers praised a brave audience member who opened up about her harrowing experience of sexual violence last night and branded the ‘soft’ UK justice system an ‘absolute tragedy’.

Waiving her right to anonymity, Colette told the host of the BBC panel show, Fiona Bruce, that she was quizzed by police about what she was wearing and if she ‘provoked’ her attacker, who tried to force his way into her car with a knife.

Shockingly, the mother-of-one claimed she nearly faced arrest for ‘unreasonable force’ when she used her vehicle to get away from the perpetrator – whom she said is now serving five life sentences for murder and rape. 

‘I wasn’t taken seriously, and if I was listened to, there’s two people who might be still alive,’ Colette claimed.

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Question Time viewers praised audience member Colette who opened up about her harrowing experience of sexual violence last night and branded the ‘soft’ UK justice system an ‘absolute tragedy’

‘I’m a mother, I’ve got a 25-year-old daughter, and my experience was very much, I wasn’t the victim, I was the person on trial. This isn’t right.’

Colette shared her experience after asking what the government is doing to protect women in the UK following the tragic death of 33-year-old Sarah Everard, which sparked an outpouring of women sharing their experiences of being harassed and feeling unsafe on the streets.

Sarah was abducted and killed on her way home in Clapham, south London on March 3. A police officer was charged with her murder after a week-long search. 

Viewers at home praised Colette’s honesty and bravery for speaking out, with one tweeting: ‘Unbelievable listening to Colette on #QuestionTime telling her story so calmly and thinking about the wider picture. Amazing woman. Government should get her involved in finding a solution.’

Colette claimed she nearly faced arrest for ‘unreasonable force’ when she used her vehicle to get away from the perpetrator – whom she said is now serving five life sentences for murder and rape

Viewers at home praised Colette’s honesty and bravery for speaking out, with one tweeting: ‘Unbelievable listening to Colette on #QuestionTime telling her story so calmly and thinking about the wider picture. Amazing woman’

Another commented: ‘I love Collette’s honesty on #QuestionTime what horrible treatment she had from the police!!! But I’m sad to say I’ve had friends with the same experiences too.’

And one tweeted: ‘Both men and women put the blame/responsibility on the victim instead of the perpetrator. We need a better justice system than the victim blaming.’  

Admitting it was hard to speak about her ordeal, she explained a man attacked her in broad daylight and managed to get into her car with a knife. 

‘I actually managed to get away from this person, and used my car to do it. Then I faced possibly arrest for using unreasonable force,’ Colette recalled.

‘It then transpires that this person is now actually serving five life sentences for murder and rape.’

Admitting it was hard to speak about her ordeal, Colette explained a man attacked her in broad daylight and managed to get into her car with a knife

Colette added that police later questioned her about what clothes she was wearing and if she ‘provoked’ the man to attack her, after he walked past her before she got into her car.

‘I was asked if my skirt was below my knee or above my knee, and if I provoked him in anyway,’ she said. ‘This is disgusting.’

Colette shared her experience after asking what the government is doing to protect women in the UK following the tragic death of 33-year-old Sarah Everard

‘I’m nearly 50 years old, I’ve been around nearly 50 years, so the thing is, there’s no deterrent. 

‘Where’s the deterrent to say, “If you attack somebody and take their life or if you rape a woman…” and the other thing is, it’s not just women who are attacked and raped, it’s men too. 

‘There’s no deterrent, we are too soft, our justice system is an absolute tragedy, people get away with, frankly, murder, and how many more women and children and men have got to suffer like me and many others in order to make somebody wake up and listen?

‘They’re going to take somebody quite high profile, somebody’s daughter from quite a high profile society name or a politician’s daughter to make this happen. My problem is, I don’t think our justice system works in any way.’

In the Commons this week, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer highlighted that 1.5 per cent of rapes reported to the police lead to a prosecution. He said: ‘Put the other way, 98.5 per cent of reported rapes don’t lead to a prosecution, that’s a shocking statistic.’

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said there needed to be a cultural change in attitudes in Britain towards women. This week he announced he will double the size of a fund for local street safety measures, including better lighting and CCTV, while undercover officers will also patrol areas around bars and nightclubs in new plans aimed at protecting women from sexual violence. 

Plans were announced on Monday to roll out ‘Project Vigilant’ pilots across the UK which sees both uniformed and plain clothes police officers catch predatory and suspicious offenders at night. 

Asked by Ms Bruce on Question Time if the government is doing enough to protect women, Labour MP Jess Phillips replied: ‘The answer is no, I’m afraid to say.

‘It’s never anybody’s complete and utter motivation that it’s going to take to properly address violence against women and girls in this country.’ 

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