Words: Elle Griffiths
The woman at the centre of a rape trial that led a retiring judge to make controversial comments about women and drinking has waived her anonymity to talk about the case.
Megan Clark, 19, was raped near a canal in Manchester by a man she met in Burger King after a night out drinking.
Following the trial, Judge Lindsey Kushner sparked controversy when she said that women should be aware that potential attackers “gravitate towards girls who have been drinking”.
Her comments incurred a backlash from both women’s charities and the police who accused the QC of “victim blaming”.
Speaking to the BBC, Yvonne Traynor, chief executive of Rape Crisis South East, said at the time, "As a judge and a woman she should know better. The only person who is responsible for rape, is the rapist… Women are yet again being blamed for rape."
But speaking to The Victoria Derbyshire Show, Clark said the judge was “right in what she said”.
The teenager told the show she had taken the remarks in a “positive way” and did not see it as victim blaming.
Clark also spoke of how she had initially blamed herself after the attack and would likely not have reported the crime if a witness had not filmed the incident from their balcony nearby and contacted the police.
She said: “I [now] know it wasn’t my fault. It’s never the victim’s fault - they aren’t the problem regardless of what I was doing.”
Ricardo Rodrigues-Fortes-Gomes, 19, was found guilty of two counts of rape and given a six year sentence in February.
Clark told the presenter she felt disappointed with the outcome of the trial.
“I am angry and it feels so unfair,” she said.
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However, she still urged other victims to report rape.
“My message is don’t be discouraged by the system letting us down, or people being judgmental...
“We all know it's not our fault. I would encourage people to report it.”