'He Trivialised Rape': Aussie Cricketer's Victim Breaks Her Silence
The woman who was raped by Australian cricketer Alex Hepburn said she was humiliated to learn the crime was part of a Whatsapp sex conquest game.
Hepburn, 23, a former Worcestershire CCC all-rounder, was sentenced to five years behind bars for the oral rape of the woman.
For the first time since the ordeal the 23-year-old victim, known only as 'Sarah', has broken her silence about the night she was raped while she slept.
Hepburn returned home to his Worcester apartment in England's West Midlands in April 2017 and started having sex with Sarah who was in his teammate Joe Clarke's bed. She'd had consensual sex with Clarke earlier and thought it was Clarke who was instigating further intercourse.
She only realised it was Hepburn when he spoke in an Australian accent.
Hepburn told the court during his trial he believed the woman had consented but she said she was dozing when his unwelcome advances began.
"I don't even think he'd have thought it was rape," Sarah told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire program during the emotional interview.
"The judge hit the nail on the head where he said he arrogantly assumed that I'd consent."
Sarah said she will never forgive Hepburn for his actions and that she felt sickened by his arrogance during the sexual game, where he encouraged fellow teammates to sleep with as many women as possible.
“I hate him. I hate all that he is," the woman said.
“I don’t even think he thought it was rape. Like the judge said he trivialised rape. I’m adamant that he thought I’d be grateful for this.
"To talk about women that way, we're just items. We're just another number, a competition. It's so degrading."
The woman was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) following the rape. She was also diagnosed with Bell's Palsy -- a condition that causes temporary facial paralysis after trauma.
“They said after everything I’d been through my body was shutting down," the woman told the BBC.
“... my eye drooped and the side of my face froze. It took months to go back to normal.
“I had to drink through a straw. It stopped me working. I didn’t want to leave home.”
Sarah described the impact of the crime on her family as well as herself. She had to suspend her studies to become a teacher so she could deal with the trauma of the sexual attack and said everyone she knows has been affected.
"The rape doesn't only affect me. It affects my mum, my dad, my sister ... my grandparents, my aunties, my uncles, my cousins. Everyone who knows me and cares about me and loves me, it hurts them as much as it hurts me," she said.
During Hepburn's retrial, Judge Tim Tindal said the victim had been treated "like a piece of meat" and that the Whatsapp game showed "foul sexism" and "trivialised rape".
Hepburn was found guilty at the retrial after a jury was unable to reach a verdict during the first trial.
Hepburn is set to appeal the guilty verdict.
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