Two men held in custody for daytime Dalry rape

Charlotte Morgenthal

It was Monday the 16th February at 3pm when two men snatched a 24-year-old Australian woman from the Dalry area of Edinburgh and subjected her to a seven-hour sexual attack.

A noxious substance was sprayed in her face, and she was taken to a makeshift shelter in an industrial wasteland close to the Telfer Subway connecting the Fountainbridge area with Dalry.

Michal Marchlewski, 20, and Tomasz Kryczyk, 26, were arrested in Edinburgh and charged with rape and attempted murder. After two closed court proceedings, the men are being held in custody.

This horrific sexual attack is just one out of many happening every day, most of them to young women. But only a few cases are reported to the police because the victims feel guilty or ashamed.

“We came a long way since the first cases appeared in the 1970s,” Graham Goulden, Lothian Borders Police Inspector of the Safer Communities Department told Veritas.

Now claims are treated with the necessary respect and Goulden wants to encourage victims to come forward and report crimes.

“If we aren’t told, how should we know about it?” Goulden said.

To prevent a possible rape or sexual abuse attack has a lot to do with “common sense”, Goulden pointed out.

This means for example not to accept a drink from a stranger or leave it out of sight or to avoid remote and quiet places alone at night, use CCTV camera areas to wait for buses or trains and sit close to the driver.

While sex attacks by strangers are not uncommon, most reported cases of rapes involve someone who is known to the victim.

“The majority of women who come to us have been raped by someone they know,” Donna Fitzpatrick from the Edinburgh Woman Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre (EWRASAC) told Veritas.

In this case it is even more difficult to take action against it. EWRASAC workers are helping women to cope with the situations, stop the possible self-harming and to look what the future can bring for them.

Whereas the purchase of sprays such as Mace is illegal in the UK, various alarms can be easily bought to give women a feel of more confidence and safety.

“Once you are attacked it is very difficult to defend yourself,” Fitzpatrick told Veritas.

 

Scotland’s rape conviction rate has been sluggishly declining, while reported cases have increased by 300 per cent over the past three decades.

According to the Scottish Executive, 596 rapes were reported from 1997 – 1998. In 2004-5 the number of reported cases increased to 900. 2006 statistics show a further 8 per cent rise in reported attacks.

Sandy Brindley, network coordinator for Rape Crisis Scotland, said: “It’s really alarming. Conviction rates were already really worrying. Now they have dropped below 4 per cent for the first time – I’m almost speechless.

 “What it demonstrates is there’s an urgent need to look at how we respond to rape. It’s clearly not acceptable to have a conviction rate that is so low and is continuing to fall.”

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