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Mumsnet campaign on rape and sexual violence

(169 Posts)
KatieMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 20-Feb-12 16:12:17

Hiya

Following on from lots of discussions and requests for a MN campaign on this - we've been putting a bit of thought into how we can help and are planning on making getting a campaign going in mid March. Before this we'll get on with a survey, asking for Mumsnetters experiences, and working on a press release to raise the profile of the campaign - and hopefully tackling a few myths.

KateMumsnet's been collaborating with Rape Crisis and the End Violence Against Women coalition, and we're hoping to host a webchat during the course of the week.

Before we start finalising detail though, we really need your help.

1. The title of the campaign - 'I believe you' - I know was really strongly supported on here (and is popular with us too). But after a bit of discussion in the office, we were wondering if 'we believe you' is more effective - showing the collective effect of our campaign, and emphasising that we're not just lone voices supporting individuals? It would be good to have your thoughts.

2. Dispelling myths. What are the 5 most important myths to dispel (rape is usually by a stranger, victims are usually to blame) - suggestions really appreciated - we'll then source the best facts to prove them wrong.

And as ever - do let us know any other thoughts.

MNHQ

mousymouseafraidofdogs Tue 21-Feb-12 10:02:35

sad
hope this campain will change things!

runningforthebusinheels Tue 21-Feb-12 10:14:10

MNHQ I am so pleased to see you doing this campaign, I totally support it. I love the 'We believe you, I believe you' slogan and I agree with other posters on here regarding rape myths and victim blaming. Really good points made on this thread - I particularly like the 'Don't be that guy' approach. 'If you see a woman asleep/drunk/unconscious - Don't Rape Her'. I would like to see the onus on the rapist not the victim.

I'd really like to see this transferring onto the chat boards as well - a zero tolerance approach by MNHQ to those perpetuating rape myths on the boards, and those victim blaming. I cannot believe some of the victim-blaming that I have read here - these attitudes must not be allowed to stand if this campaign is to make any headway.

The MRA rape apologists even turned up on a discussion about this campaign a while back - thus proving how important the need for this campaign is!

slug Tue 21-Feb-12 10:23:02

I quite fancy the idea of an ad where a young couple having sex are interrupted by the man's mother. The tag line could be "Don't believe the myth that men can't stop themselves, Rape is Rape"

And for the politicians the slogan could be "One out of four women in the UK is raped or sexually assaulted. We believe them. We vote."

I think one of the problems is that rape is seen as something that happens to other women. And that rape is somehow separate from the spectrum of sexual violence that women are subjected to on a daily basis.

Many years ago a very successful campaign for a new controlled crossing was carried out by the mothers of the town I grew up in. They lined up with their buggys and prams (this was a fair few years ago now) and one by one crossed the road at a place known for speeding. they started when the traffic was fairly calm, but just before the school run/beginning of the rush hour. One by one they crossed the road, each leaving the footpath just before the one ahead cleared the lane. Once they got to the other side they turned around and crossed back again. The result was to slow the traffic to an absolute standstill. It ended up backed up for miles. None of the women was doing anything illegal, but boy, did they make their point.

Appros of that, I have visions of a designated day where as many women as possible could descend on their local police station and report a sexual assault. The trick would be only to report one assault at a time, then go and join the back of the queue to report another. Like so many women I can easily recall multiple sexual assaults from the minor, abuse hurled at me from passing cars and random hands on the underground, to the moderate, being chased down the road by two men, to the major, an attempted rape.

slug - can you imagine if we had a national 'report them' day? i find it hard to believe there is any woman who doesn't have something to report. i wouldn't be short.

just to say i really do think we need some visible activism alongside any media campaigning. we need to 'do' and be seen doing.

SardineQueen Tue 21-Feb-12 10:30:59

I have said on here before that an "amnesty" would be a great idea

If women were able to have a special week where they could go along and tell the police the things that had been done to them, but without the idea that they would have to press charges or not be believed or whatever.

It would be cathartic for women and also I bet the same names would come up time and time again. Tie that all together and you have got intelligence on some really dangerous people.

I have a name I would love to give the police but at the moment I can't without presenting it as a complaint about something which happened nearly 20 years ago and for which I have no evidence.

Oh I absolutely agree 100% with a zero tolerance approach from MNHQ.

I refuse to buy this idea of freedom of speech and that you are allowed to post hideously offensive views on here.

this is a privately owned site and the owners withhold the right to delete posts if they deem they are "not with keeping of the site ethos"
That seems a very fluid rule and they can apply it to a rather wide rage of posts that they dislike. (see the one yesterday about a thread involving the use of the name of an ex poster)

MNHQ decide what they feel is acceptable and having a very clear "we will not tolerate rape propaganda to be posted on our boards" is absolutely something that i would support

Everyone has the right to their own views. You do not however hold a right to spout them wherever you feel like, and certainly not on a privately owned forum.
And why is the right to freedom of speech more important than the right of a rape victim to get support and counsel without feeling intimidated or blamed by rape apologists.

the main name i would give them is one they are already very familiar with (or were at the time) but i was too young and messed up by him to be able to go through any kind of prosecution process at the time. it now all feels like a long time ago but i do wonder what he is up to now and whatever came of their interest in him. the police did actually come to see me and clearly would have liked me to step up and prosecute but i just wasn't capable.

i've also been in the position before of reporting a rape that happened to someone else but they weren't prepared to go to the police or be named or prosecute in any way. it was a stranger rape and all i really knew was the location and rough time it happened but i rang the police and reported it so that they could at least be aware that someone dangerous was around and in case it tied in with any other reports and they were grateful but obviously could do nothing without the victim coming forward. so sad that women don't feel safe to go and report crime.

mousymouseafraidofdogs Tue 21-Feb-12 10:47:42

do I remember correctly - with domestic violence a case is investigated/prosecuted even if the victim doesn't come forward. would that be helpful in cases of rape?

Slug - whilst i understand the point of such a protest. Reporting a rape is not something that can be down to prove a point. It is a truly harrowing thing to go through and is not something that can be done to order. I know that thousands of women have unreported assaults that they can recount.
But they are unreported for a reason.

Also to overload "they system" with so many rape and assault cases, most of which would be historical and highly unlikely to reach a courtroom, would further limit the resources available to investigate "live" rape cases. Thus dwindling the chances of conviction even further.

So whilst i agree with the sentiment wholeheartedly i don't think the actually idea itself is at all workable or advisable.

Mouse - In DV the police can make the arrest even without the agreement of the victim. However unless there is good physical evidence, unless the victim makes a statement those cases very rarely get to court as there isn't enough evidence. He says he didn't do it, and unless there is medical or witness evidence they can't prove he did.

SGM -- I didn't mean to imply that no one is doing anything to prevent rape or help rape victims. Obviously there is a lot of activism in this area.

But I am not optimistic about real change in the institutionalised and mass-media elements of rape culture, which are the most powerful aspects, I believe.

I do think highly sexualised advertising, page 3 girls, the growing social acceptance of porn and strip clubs, etc, contribute to a climate that facilitates sexual violence against women. As Valor has noted, the legal system is a joke and quite often police are hopeless too.

Yes many people are working to change these things but people in the government and media are not, at least not sufficiently.

I think a campaign like this is terrific in raising awareness and activism amongst the population. In an ideal world I would like it to also have some higher-level lobbying element to pressure political and media leaders.

I don't mean to sound defeatist. I'm just highly frustrated. I think we need real change at the top and I don't know what it would take to get these people to open their eyes.

StewieGriffinsMom Tue 21-Feb-12 10:56:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

yeah i liked the 'we vote' too. it does seem to totally slip politicians minds hmm

I would also social media to put a stop to the normalisation and desensetisation of rape.

I am seeing with increased frequency terms such as "fraped" and "twitraped"

it disgust me. I comment each and every time and have been deleted a few times for trying to explain why such terminology is wrong. yet it is slowly creeping into regular populist vocabulary.

if you google " MP Rape gaff" you will get literally thousands of articles where MP's have made disgusting comments about rape.

obviously Ken Clarke was quite a high profile situation but there are many many more that barely make the news.

i know. and the whole anonymity thing - mps are taking us backwards not forwards.

I am a little saddened that in 24 hours this campaign has managed 67 posts. Mostly by a very few "expected" posters.

A thread about the naming of a possible troll would get that in ten minutes.

I seriously worry about the priorities of the MN majority.

LineRunner Tue 21-Feb-12 11:35:26

Quality posts, here, though Valar.

StewieGriffinsMom Tue 21-Feb-12 11:35:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

To be fair, unless people use Active Convos, they probably don't know about it.

And tbh I often glance over the first few stickies in Active because they're usually product testing or surveys or what have you.

slug Tue 21-Feb-12 12:08:09

Valar. I take your point. But too often rape and sexual assault is seen as something horrifying that happens to women who have somehow brought it on themselves. What I'm suggesting is a day where we can all stand together in solidarity and say "It happened to me too". I mean we can't all be Slutty McSlutsons who have just been asking for it can we?

I also take your point about the unlikelihood of anything happening legally, but, as anyone who has reported an assault to the police will tell you, there's still the psychological barrier of believing it may somehow have been your fault. Reporting en-masse may make it easier and more supportive for some women.

P.S. Please feel free to use the "We Vote" meme in Twitter. I confess to harassing mentioning it to Nadie Dorries every time she makes some ridiculous comment about abortion.

Notthefullshilling Tue 21-Feb-12 12:14:04

Just heard that the Jeremy Vine show on radio two (12 till 2) is doing a report about a new campaign to encourage men to report rape.

I also support mn and find it very sad that it is only becouse small groups of people come together in these campaigns that such huge issues get any publicity at all. Power to your keyboards people.

Also a thought on mass reporting, I would urge caution as we would want each victim to be given the same level of care and attention. If you are asking a finite number of service providers be they police or health services then we risk swamping those services and reducing the quality of the service. Also it should be clear what outcome is being sought, someone else said that all the reported cases will not be able to be investigated, ok but lets be very clear so that victims do not have their hopes and expectations raised unfairly.

Last I would like some focus on rape and other sexual assault that takes place in places of care or social care. Much of which goes unreported as the victims are not even seen as able to give coherent evidence.

slug Tue 21-Feb-12 12:18:21

SGM, do we have a hashtag yet?

StewieGriffinsMom Tue 21-Feb-12 12:32:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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