For most people, 30 May 2014 was just like any other day. But for one woman, that fateful day saw her life changed forever, when she was brutally raped.
The woman suffered a horrific three hour sexual assault after being dragged into some bushes while walking home from work.
“When this first happened to me, I thought about it every day for months afterwards.
“It made me feel very anxious and scared about being on my own and I wasn’t sure how I would ever recover from what he did to me.
“Every time I walked down that road after it happened I would get flashbacks.
“It would take me back to the night of the attack. It would make me feel horrible and I would get upset.
“I have tried my best to put the attack behind me and move on, but it has been really hard. I am trying my best.
“It will take me a long time to get back to normal, but I am determined to live a normal life.
“I will never forget what happened to me, I just want to put it behind me.
“I want to thank my independent sexual violence advisor (ISVA), Carolyn, who has really looked after me and explained each stage of the case.
“I would also like to thank all of the police officers involved in bringing this case to justice, and my family and the friends who supported me through the hard time I was having.
“I am pleased the person who attacked me was found guilty and I feel safer knowing he is in prison.”
The attacker, Abdul Ghafoor, 33, of Nash Road, Bedford, was caught after the victim managed to text ‘Help me’ to her sister, who then called the police.
He was found guilty of six sex offences including two counts of rape, three counts of sexual assault and one of attempted rape, along with charges of false imprisonment and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
In November he was handed a life sentence and will serve a minimum of nine years behind bars before he is eligible for parole.
In the months since the attack, the victim has received specialist pre- and post-trial counselling and support, arranged by Bedfordshire Police staff through its independent sexual advisor (ISVA) service.
The victim does not wish to be identified and is legally entitled to lifelong anonymity.
If you have been a victim of rape or sexual assault, you can report the incident to Bedfordshire Police on 101, by texting 07786 200 011, or alternatively, contact Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.
You can also contact Bedfordshire’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre, the Emerald Centre, by visiting www.emeraldcentre.org, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 01234 897052, for help and guidance.