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PCC supports powerful campaign challenging views about rape launched in Bristol

This-is-not-an-excuse-campaign

This is not an excuse to rape Campaign

A powerful publicity campaign which confronts the perception that women are often to blame for being raped will be launched  today.

There are no excuses for rape includes billboards, posters, leaflets and online messages with images showing:

  • A woman dressed in a low-cut top with the slogan - This is not an excuse to rape me; The victim is never to blame, whatever they are wearing.
  • Male and female hands with wedding rings with the slogan" - This is not an excuse to rape me - The victim is never to blame. No-one has a “right” to sex.
  • A woman and a man in a taxi embracing intimately - This is not an excuse to rape me.  The victim is never to blame, even if they have said yes to other sexual activities.
  • Women partying with a slogan - There are no excuses for rape. The victim is never to blame, however much they have had to drink.

The campaign is funded by the Police and Crime Commissioner, Sue Mountstevens.

Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “Rape and sexual assault is never the victim’s fault and that’s why tackling violence against women and children is one of my priorities in the police and crime plan. 

“There is some fantastic work being done to raise awareness of rape, encourage reporting and supporting victims but working together we will and can do more to challenge the attitudes some people have towards rape.”

The campaign is also running online through Twitter #noexcusebristol, and has been developed by a range of organisations including Safer Bristol, Public Health, The office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, SARSAS, Victim Support, The Green House & Bristol against violence against women (BAVA), Next Link and Bristol Fawcett and has been adapted from a highly successful campaign run by Rape Crisis Scotland.

“Research has shown that a large number of people do feel that women bear some responsibility in cases of sexual assault and we need to challenge this and to emphasise that there is never an excuse to rape someone.” said Cllr Simon Cook, Assistant Mayor with a responsibility for community safety, “Blaming the woman takes away attention and responsibility from the rapist,” he said.

The key messages are that there are no excuses for rape and the victim is neverto blame:

  • whatever they were wearing
  • however much they’ve had to drink
  • even if they’ve said yes to other sexual activities
  • And that no one has a ‘right’ to sex just because they’re married or in a couple.

It is estimated that 3,894 women and girls aged 16-59 have been a victim of sexual assault in the past year. In terms of the offences reported to the Police, 834 sexual offences were reported in 2012/13, 56% (467) of which were of a serious nature.

Nationally it is estimated that only about one quarter of women who are raped or assaulted report it. The campaign hopes to reassure women that it is not their fault and that they should report it.

Lisa Benjamin from Somerset and Avon Rape and Sexual Abuse (SARSAS)  – Formerly Bristol Rape Crisis said, We work with women and girls daily that have been affected by rape or sexual assault and the majority knew their attackers. We aren’t talking about strangers down dark alleys; we’re talking about friends, colleagues, relatives and partners. Thinking; “…she was asking for it by wearing that ….”, “what does she expect; she was all over him” or “she should have said no more clearly” is harmful, dangerous and out-dated. This places the blame on the survivor instead of where it belongs - on the person who raped them.”

Avon and Somerset PCC allocated Safer Bristol funding for a citywide campaign to increase awareness of violence against women and children and challenge associated assumptions/myths. The rape campaign is just one of two campaigns. The second, in March next year, will tackle Domestic Abuse myths.

How to get help: Anyone in immediate danger should ring 999 or contact SARSAS on 0117 929 8868, wwwbristolrapecrisis.org.uk.  For other sources of help log onto BAVA.org.uk

Posted on Thursday 21st November 2013
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