I believe Eleanor de Freitas

Content note: This post discusses rape and suicide

Eleanor de Freitas was just 23 years old when she took her life.

Her story started like far too many others. She reported a rape to the police, and the police said there was insufficient evidence. It’s a script as tired as time: inconsistencies, blah blah blah. Unlike most other cases, though, it deviated radically from the script.

The man accused took out a private prosecution against Eleanor de Freitas. He must have been a rich, powerful man to do this. Her solicitors asked the CPS to stop this spiteful action, but the CPS decided to take it up for reasons which are currently completely unclear.

Eleanor de Freitas was a vulnerable woman, with bipolar disorder. She had been receiving counselling for rape. As soon as the summons came, this support was snatched away. Her mental health grew worse, and her psychiatrist deemed her not fit to stand trial.

Three days before the trial was due to start, Eleanor de Freitas took her life.

Her family would like the CPS to address the questions that they have, although so far this request is being blocked. Why did the CPS think it in the public interest to prosecute a sick young woman? Why didn’t they put a stop to the private prosecution that was quite literally killing her, despite its duty to think these things through? Why did they allow her vital counselling to be withdrawn?

The CPS need to address these questions, and their silence speaks volumes. There is something fishy going on.

I am inclined to believe Eleanor de Freitas, knowing what I know about rape and rape culture. I know that the police are fucking terrible at dealing with survivors coming forward, and don’t understand how the stress from trauma can lead to statements they deem “inconsistent”, because that’s how human brains work. I know that men falsely denying having committed rape is vastly more common than women making up false allegations. I know that society is far more inclined to give the men making denials the benefit of the doubt. I know that women with mental health problems are more likely to be disbelieved, thought to be mad.

I believe Eleanor de Freitas, and I want to know why the CPS helped a man to kill her.

__

Update 24/3/15: Men keep leaving comments explaining why one shouldn’t believe Eleanor de Freitas. I’ve not approved them because men get platforms to spout rubbish in all sorts of other places. Anyway, all of their comments make me believe Eleanor de Freitas even more. Their comments boil down to three threads:

  1. Eleanor’s mental health: as discussed earlier, women with mental health problems are less likely to be believed.
  2. Some CCTV evidence or other showing her in the company of the accused after the alleged rape: so? A lot of survivors end up spending time with their rapists. It’s really fucking common. Read this
  3. They are saying Eleanor de Freitas was a sex worker: again, so fucking what? Whether this is true or not, sex workers can also be raped. In fact, sex workers are another group less likely to be believed. 

In short, these comments remind me of Ched Evans supporters. And we all know Ched Evans did it. Every time I see rape apologism crop up, I believe Eleanor de Freitas even more.


4 responses to “I believe Eleanor de Freitas

  • namelessbear

    I 100% without a doubt believe her. Why exactly would she commit suicide over it if she was lying?
    Rape is a serious thing and sadly it ends like this more times than we know of. 9/10 times it doesn’t even go to the police at all because women are afraid that they’ll be called liars and stuff so a lot of them that get raped just don’t talk about it and in some cases commit suicide over it. The only different thing about this case is that she actually tried to go to the police (the ones who are SUPPOSED to protect people like her) just to have them turn on her.
    IF she was lying, I don’t see why she would commit suicide over it which is why I believe her.

    • namelessbear

      I tried to edit my post because I clicked post comment to early but I couldn’t. So I’ll just continue here.
      The fact that she was bi-polar has nothing to do with it. Being mentally ill doesn’t make her a liar or anything like that.

  • Robofish

    Everything about this case is very disturbing. The CPS obviously have some serious questions to answer, like ‘what the hell were they thinking?’. (Apparently it was them who pushed for this prosecution, when the Police didn’t want to proceed.)

    But surely also, the greatest attention should be on the guy she accused of rape in the first place, who funded the private prosecution against her. I’m no psychologist, but that doesn’t look like the act of an innocent man to me. He comes out of this looking like someone who probably committed rape, then drove the victim to her death to cover up the evidence.

    So the question is: how come his name hasn’t been reported in the news stories? Ordinarily, rape victims are kept anonymous while people accused of rape are not; this time, for some reason the reverse seems to be the case. Sounds like someone has a lot to hide. Someone ought to find out his name and spread it as widely as possible.

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