Woman who was raped held on to 'guilt and shame' for years but then took action to 'show the world no means no'

A rape survivor who held on to "the guilt and the shame" for years before reporting her attacker has told Sky News she has now "passed it on to him" after he was jailed for seven years.

Warning: The following article contains details of serious sexual assault

The woman, who is retaining her legal right to anonymity, was raped by DJ Alisdair Randalls when she was just 18 in December 2015.

She told Sky News that she "never wanted to go to the police" but after years of suffering in silence she realised she had to take action to avoid anyone else potentially being hurt and to "show the world that no means no".

Randalls, who was 21 at the time of the attack and is now 30, denied any wrongdoing but in April was found guilty of rape following a trial at the High Court in Aberdeen.

He was sentenced at the High Court in Glasgow on 15 May.

The woman, now 27, said: "I just felt like I had to help and put people like him away. You can't live in fear of these people.

"I held the guilt and the shame and all of that for ages, for years.

"And I've passed it on to him. He can take it now. It's on him to deal with it when he comes out."

The pair had matched on Tinder and had been flirting for around three weeks before Randalls encouraged the teenager to meet him at his flat in Aberdeen after he had been out drinking.

The woman said Randalls had previously been "flirty and chatty" and appeared to be a "nice boy".

However, when she changed her mind about having sex, he ignored her pleas to stop and went on to rape her.

During the attack, he seized her by the throat.

The woman, who described Randalls as "a devil and a beast", confided in her flatmate and a friend over what happened.

She was then forced to seek therapy after being unable to cope with the aftermath of the rape.

'I didn't want to be here any more'

The woman said: "I did not know what to do with myself. I didn't want to be here any more. It was that bad.

"It's one of the worst things I've ever gone through in my life. I could not function.

"I felt guilty, I felt embarrassed, I felt ashamed. I was angry. I was like, 'why me? Why did he pick me?'

"I cried all the time. It was honestly awful. I can't really remember a lot of the emotions either, because I've kind of blocked it."

The woman saw Randalls during a night out around a year after the attack.

She said he grabbed her arm and attempted to say hello, but she managed to escape and hid in the toilets.

The woman eventually reported Randalls in December 2021 and he was subsequently arrested and charged.

The woman said: "I felt no one would believe me."

However, she received support from Police Scotland and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS).

She said: "They were so understanding. They took their time with me. They were all lovely. They made me feel comfortable and not to feel embarrassed about it."

'The defence lawyer's questioning felt personal'

The woman said the lengthy wait for the trial was difficult and in the lead-up to the proceedings she was "all over the place".

At court, she was even caught off guard when she heard Randalls' name over the tannoy.

The trial took four days and the woman felt the brunt of the defence lawyer as he attempted to clear his client.

She said: "It was a shock. Everyone warns you, saying 'oh it's tough'. But it was brutal.

"It felt like it was personal. They say it's not and it's just his job, but it felt personal. It felt nasty and he was trying to discredit me in any way."

'I felt like the judge took it seriously'

Following the conviction, sentencing Judge Lord Colbeck said Randalls accepted "no responsibility" for his crime.

He added: "You show little or no insight in to your offending behaviour and the impact this has had upon your victim."

As well as the seven-year jail sentence, Randalls was also banned for life from contacting the woman and was placed on the sex offenders' register indefinitely.

The woman said she was "shocked" with the sentence, saying: "I didn't expect that. I was stunned, I actually was. I felt like the judge took it seriously."

The woman has dated since the attack, but is still "very, very wary".

She said: "I genuinely thought he was a nice boy. So, just not knowing people's true intentions, it does scare me."

The woman understands there will be many others who have suffered similar assaults but are too scared to come forward.

She admitted the court process is "not easy", with some parts "completely out of your control", but she stressed you "can't let these people roam the streets".

'I have to show the world that no means no'

She said: "It's a lengthy process, and it can be tedious waiting months and even years in my case to get anywhere. Sometimes I thought it was never-ending.

"Additionally, I thought it was difficult enough to tell friends and family, however, standing up to tell my story to 20 strangers was the part I felt most vulnerable.

"I definitely went through stages of being re-traumatised and it made everything that bit more physically and emotionally draining.

"There were points I wanted to give up. All I could tell myself was that even though I don't want to do this, I have to do this.

"I have to protect every single woman from him. I have to make this world a safer place. I have to safeguard the future of young girls from monsters like him. I have to hold him accountable for what he has done. I have to show the world that no means no.

"I was not guaranteed a positive outcome, no one is, but all you have to do is try.

"If we don't try then we won't get anywhere. It's so cliché but you don't realise how strong you actually are. If I can do it, anyone can."

'You don't need to cope alone'

Katrina Parkes, Scotland's procurator fiscal for high court sexual offences, commended the woman "for her courage" in reporting Randalls and for helping to bring him to justice.

Sandy Brindley, the chief executive of Rape Crisis Scotland, is urging all those who are in need of support to get in touch.

She said: "No matter how long ago it happened, if you have been affected by sexual violence, you don't need to cope alone.

"When you're ready to talk, rape crisis services are ready to listen."

Helplines if you are in need of support:
Rape Crisis Scotland - 08088 01 03 02
Rape Crisis England and Wales - 0808 500 2222
Rape Crisis Network Ireland - 1800 778 888
Rape Crisis Northern Ireland - 0800 0246 991