Man tells how he felt 'raped by this horrible woman' after she's convicted of vile sex attack
A film-maker has told how his life has been destroyed after a drunken female thug violently sexually assaulted him at a house party.
Frank McGowan said he was driven to the brink of suicide and suffered post-traumatic stress disorder due to the horrific attack by Cheryl Cottrell.
Frank was at a house party in Glasgow in May 2015 when Cottrell propositioned him and made several 'sickening' comment after finding out he was gay.
He said he tried to fend off her advances before she violently violated him when he bent over to pick something up.
Frank said: âSome days, I canât get out of bed because Iâm still gripped by fear. Iâll go to get up and Iâll start sobbing uncontrollably.
âI still feel empty, hopeless and upset. I felt like the only guy in the world going through the aftermath of t his disgusting violence.â
The Bafta-nominated film-maker told the Daily Record : âShe was very loud and it was clear sheâd been drinking.
âShe discovered I was gay and made several sexually inappropriate comments. I was absolutely sickened by what she was saying. Iâd never heard so many vile things.
âI went into the kitchen to get a glass of water and she followed me. She was asking invasive questions about my partner and asked if I would sleep with her.
âI just wanted to get away and asked her to back off. She was getting angry. Something fell from the unit and I bent down to pick it up â" thatâs when she pounced by violently pushing her fingers inside me.
âShe didnât stop and I had to use all my strength to throw her off me.
âI couldnât believe what was happening â" it was a brutal and painf ul assault.
âI was bleeding and felt like I was being raped by this horrible woman.â
Frank faced a long, harrowing battle to get justice.
Cottrell denied attacking him but in August she was found guilty of sexual assault after a trial at Glasgow Sheriff Court.
She was placed on the Sex Offenderâs Register and ordered to do 120 hours of community service.
According to Frank, the punishment didnât remotely match the crime.
He added: âThe punishment was ridiculous. Iâve been told if it was man who did that to a woman, the sentence would be five years in prison.
âShe got off lightly and Iâll have to live with what she did for the rest of my life.â
Frank, who was nominated for a Bafta for Looking After Mum, said the impact of the assault on his life has been devastating.
His relationshi p with his partner fell apart, he suffered cruel taunts and bullying in the street and was forced to move home.
He suffers flashbacks and severe panic attacks. And the trauma of a court battle led to him developing PTSD.
Frank said: âThe experience destroyed me. Things got so bad, I tried to take my own life. Thankfully, a close friend stopped me at the last minute, but Iâll never get over what happened to me.â
He added: âI still donât know why it happened. It changed my life completely.
âI didnât ask or want anything to happen. I asked her to leave me alone.
âThe worst part was Cottrell thought it was hilarious and showed no signs of remorse. She forced herself on me against my will.
âFor weeks, I couldnât sleep and I felt there was no one I could turn to. I suffered from panic attacks and anyone who looked like her, dressed in the same style of clothes or wore her perfume made me freak out.
âIt took me to my lo west point and the thought of having to face her in court seemed too much to deal with.â
Giving evidence in court was traumatic for Frank but he was determined that his attacker would be held accountable for what she had done.
He added: âIt was one of the hardest things Iâve ever had to do.
âShe denied it but luckily the court saw through her lies and she was found guilty. There is no defence for doing something so vulgar.â
Franks admits he still struggles every day and is undergoing counselling to help him rebuild his life.
He has waived his right to anonymity to speak about his ordeal in a bid to show other victims of sex assault that there is support out there.
He said: âI hope by sharing what I went through, other people like me wonât feel alone.
âI didnât deserve to be attacked and now I feel empowered to help others.â
Frank is supporting the GET IT TOGETHER campaign in partnership with Mental Health Foundation Scotland to encourage more people to share their stories.
Frank said: âOne of my close friends took their own lives because of PTSD. I wish Iâd been there for him.
âI thought, people are killing themselves because of PTSD and I need to speak up and do something.
âI hope it will encourage others to share their story. I would never want someone else to feel as low as I did.
âI wanted to throw away everything good in my life over one absolutely abhorrent woman.
âSheâs pure evil.â
Cheryl Cottrell was eventually found guilty of sexual assault and ordered to carry out a community payback order of 120 hours. She was also placed on the sex offenders register.
In addition, Cottrell was found guilty of causing fear and alarm to her victim. But she was admonished on that charge, meaning she received no fine or imprisonment.< p>She was found not guilty of a charge under section seven of the Sexual Offences act, covering indecent verbal communication.
The trial took place at Glasgow Sheriff Court on April 10 and June 26.
Rape is defined under the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009 as penetration by a penis without consent.
Because of this, women cannot be tried for rape in Scotland.
Section three of the Act, Sexual Assault, includes any non-consensual penetration that would not meet the definition of rape.
The maximum sentence for offences under this part of the act is life imprisonment.
Section seven of the Act refers to âsexual communicationâ without consent through verbal communication. The maximum sentence on conviction is 10 years.
Rape Crisis Scotland said that under the law, the use of fingers to penetrate does not constitute rape.
The organisationâs Sandy Brindley said: âSexual offences can have a significant impact and it is importa nt that sentences reflect the seriousness of the crime.âSource: Google News