Wales

Labour candidate: I was raped for political reasons

Emily Owen
Image caption Emily Owen has spoken previously about being abused online

Members of the Labour Party have rallied behind a parliamentary candidate who said she was raped in a "politically motivated attack".

Emily Owen, 25, who will stand in the north west Wales constituency of Aberconwy, said the rape took place last year after she was drugged.

In a statement on Facebook, Ms Owen said it was made clear to her the attack was politically motivated.

In her post she said she had chosen not to report the incident to the police.

Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott and Labour activist Owen Jones have both commended her coming forward, while her constituency party described her as courageous and a victim of hate crime.

The Welsh Labour Party said she had "consistently spoken out against the sexism and misogyny she has encountered".

Explicit messages

In her statement, Ms Owen, who lives in the Aberconwy constituency, said she had struggled for several months over whether to make the incident public.

She has not given any information over the identity of the attacker or where the rape took place.

She added that she had been supported by a rape charity and now feels able to forgive her rapist.

The statement also refers to rape threats she said she received when she stood as a candidate in the last general election, and the subsequent media coverage.

In May 2017, she said she had been sent explicit messages and was the subject of posts online about her bra size and lewd comments about what acts she would be prepared to perform to win votes.

In her latest statement, Ms Owen said she was mocked by elements of the media for raising concerns at the time and claims their coverage increased the threats against her - which ultimately led to the attack.

Ms Owen has been approached by the BBC for comment, but has declined interview requests.

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