MP tells how man attacked and attempted to rape her

The Batley and Spen MP Tracy Brabin told her story to the House of Commons.
The Batley and Spen MP Tracy Brabin told her story to the House of Commons.

Batley and Spen MP Tracy Brabin recounted how a man attempted to rape her when she was at university and that she slept with a knife afterwards.

The former Coronation Street actress said: “I was 20 and the worst thing that I could ever imagine happening to me was about to take place.

“I was going to be one of those very rare statistics of a woman who is attacked by a stranger, not by someone she knows.

“I was in my second year at university, the man had seen me walk past his car and had waited ahead for me to turn the corner.

“As I came up against him all those words of advice your mum gives you - knee him where it hurts then run like hell - well they disappeared, I was frozen in fear.

“As he shoved me to the ground trying to rape me, I fought back but I was battered.

“It was only the community-spirited neighbour further down the road that saved me from something much worse.”

The MP for Batley and Spen said she counted herself as “one of the lucky ones” and that the perpetrator was brought to justice.

She said: “He was sentenced. I didn’t have to look over my shoulder, checking if he was following me.

“He was a stranger. I didn’t have to wake up in the same bed as him, go to work with him as my boss.

“He didn’t use a broken bottle to hurt me. He was alone and not with a group of other men.

“It was only once and not several times.” Ms Brabin also told MPs about the impact the incident had on her life.

She said: “The point to this story is that even though on the scale of violence against women I was lucky because justice was done the following few years were hard.

“I got afraid walking alone so I bought a bike. I got scared in the night. I slept with a knife. I was easily startled and cried at the drop of a hat.”

She urged the Government to do more to combat violence against women.

“We need joined up thinking on this issue,” she said.

“We need to educate young men on consent and respect for women, empower women who are suffering domestic abuse to leave, offering them a safe place to go, refuse to accept online abuse and I applaud the minister’s work on making stalking a crime either online or in person.”

Labour MP Jess Phillips (Birmingham Yardley) said “massive credit” should be paid to the MPs who have shared their personal stories.

She said: “I think it is really, really powerful to show that victims of domestic violence, sexual violence, for so many people they look like somebody else, they look like others, when in fact they are all of us, they are everybody, they are living on our streets, we are sitting next to them at work, we are talking to them on the school run. They are everywhere.

“And I pay huge tribute to those who have done that today, the memorable women in here will certainly resonate with people out there.”