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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

BexleyFemale777 Mon 09-Jul-12 19:21:33

Dear Queensmum,

Earlier on today I wrote on another mumsnet site about my serious sexual assault upon me by an Estate Agent who at the time owned and Estate Agents in Bexley Borough. I did not know there was another Mumsnet site, but just found this one

I agree with all that you have said about Police and CPS. I too am of mature years and have been fighing for justice for 10 years and every step of the way my voice has fallen on deaf ears. LIke yourself it has made me very vulnerable and wary of life and people.

My children all lost the mum ( So to speak) as I became a wreck. I was lost in my own world of despair. I did all I could to be a good mum , but often my emotions were crippling. The assalt happened in the borough of Greenwich and therefore came under Plumstead Sapphire Unit.

The Estate Agent moved from Bexley Borough and now owns an Estate Agency in Plumstead.

Even when I reported the assalt he was moddle coddled by Police. It was the same Plumstead Police Sapphire Unit that was later to be paraded on National TV and press as being incompetent, lazy and not fit for purpose (re John Boyes taxi driver).

There is medical evidence of my internal injury and yet they could not be bothered for a whole year to even get it. ( I had to go to theatre to be stitched up when it happened)

When I found the courage to tell the Police they did not even bother to arrest the Estate Agent for over a year and even when they did it was only because I got onto the Sapphire Head Office in London. ThepPolice never even went out to arrest my abuser, but arrested him by appointment (As they called it).

Their reasons not to prosecute him were bias and all in his favour so I put in an appeal to the CPS.............I have it in plain English that my appeal was never read, and that equally I had lost my appeal.

I got David Evennett MP to ask the CPS how I could lose my appeal for the CPS to prosecute my abuser when it had not even been read? David Evennett MP asked Keir Starmer, Baroness Scotland and Ken MacDonald and others, and yet not one of then cared or bothered to investigate. They just could not care less.

I still want the Estate Agent prosecuted, I still want justice. But he is now in the millionaire league and i am as poor as a church mouse. Money and status does make a difference to the Police, and if I were rich or of social standing then I know full well my abuser would have been prosecuted.

There is no hope ...no hope and we the abused suffer while our abusers laugh with the blessing of the Police and CPS.

Being poor , mature and vulnerable not only made me an easy target to be mentally and sexually abused by the Estate Agent( I was a tenant), but the Police and CPS treated me with utter contempt and degridation.

No matter how much I try to be heard, no Police Officer cares, and all they do is cover up for their mal practices and total neglect and incompetence.

Most vulnerable people are made to believe they are useless by their abusers, hence we often suffer in silence.
The Police never listen to us...they just never listen to us.

Queensmum Sun 11-Mar-12 21:09:00

I am really pleased to see that more is now being done about rape. Having been a victim myself and the only way of survival when he was trying to kill me was to allow him to do what he wanted to me there is one extremely important piece of legislation I feel should be included.

A victim should be allowed to have a solicitor with them who can help them get their story over in a legal way. The Police and CPS are hopeless.

The rapist is allowed a Solicitor who advises him what to and what not to say. This can tie the Police/CPS's hands.

!0 years on and I am still on anti-depressants and unable to leave my home. I have no trust for anyone.

There is so much more I could add and would welcome the opportunity to help as I have a daughter and now 2 granddaughters.

boardchick Sun 11-Mar-12 19:18:56

Hi
I am very pleased you are raised this topic of rape.
I was raped by someone I knew and did not think I would believed so shut it down.
Now 7 years later after a lot of therapy I have managed to go to the Police.

I have done a lot of reading on the internet and was shocked and surprised that surveys show that women feel that the victim is somehow responsible.

Girls and women need to be educated that rape is not about sex. Rape is about control, the act of sex is a physical way of control, it is not about a man wanting sex. I was raped because I refused to kiss a married man. I did not think that the doing the right thing would end in rape.

In particular girls and women need to know how to deal with a situation like rape. I always considered my risk was more likely on a night out not at my best friend's private party at her house. This is a place where girls and women think they are safe as I did and yet the majority of rape occur by people we know.

I am keen to do something since my experience. If I had been given some advice of the risk and advice what to do I think I would now be in a much better position.

The rape was the start of my breakdown to depression and anxiety. I was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder. I had no help initially, my GP was useless. Luckily I found a very good therapist and am having EMDR treatment that is helping. The rape has affected every aspect of my life. Friends and family can deal with the usual things in life like divorce but rape is such a difficult subject.

I welcome that this campaign has started and would be happy to give any advice etc that I have found useful. The medical profession is not the place to go to.

I am so glad this campaign is going ahead, it's so so important. What's the next step?

mousymouseafraidofdogs Mon 05-Mar-12 09:41:41
BertieBotts Germany Mon 05-Mar-12 09:13:21

I have been in the situation of not saying "no" because I was frightened that if I did say it, it would have been ignored, and that would have meant it was rape.

mousymouseafraidofdogs Mon 05-Mar-12 08:34:35

anyone seen the news this morning?
is it part of the campain?
bbc breakfast website is rubbish, can't find a link to the topic.

neepsntatties Sun 26-Feb-12 11:37:06

Hate no means no, it totally ignores the fact that women are culturally conditioned to say yes and be passive then expects them to be able to say no in horrible and difficult circumstances. Lots of women can't say no.

TBE Sun 26-Feb-12 09:47:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BasilRathbone Sat 25-Feb-12 23:36:44

TBH though I think that idea can be harmful, because when you are actually about to be raped, you know that saying no is not going to stop it.

And in fact, saying no, would do something horrifying and dangerous - it would bring it out into the open, what is happening. It would make it clear, that this man has chosen to rape you.

That leaves you with no escape route psychologically - you can't pretend this is all a big misunderstanding, that if only you'd made it clearer, he wouldn't have done it. That he didn't mean to rape you, that it's just mixed messages and unclear communication and him not realising and no, he's not really a rapist, just someone whose made a terrible mistake.

And neither can he. And that means that he's more dangerous, because if he knows you know this, that fact is there in the air between you and he is now a rapist and that's a serious crime.

So you can't afford to say no. Because that no turns him into an unambiguous criminal and you don't know what effect that will have on his behaviour towards you. Being raped isn't the worst thing a man who is bigger and stronger than you, who you can't escape from, can do to you. And saying no, might make him do something worse.

purpleroses Sat 25-Feb-12 23:21:04

Maybe so, but in my late teens when it came out, it acutally made me realise that you could say no, and that you shouldn't have to keep saying it, and that it was not OK to have it ignored. And whilst you're right that active consent is what should be there, from the women's point of view it would be a good idea to say no if you don't want it, and not leave any room for confusion. But I like the idea of someone a few posts back who suggests yes means yes - that's clearer still.

BasilRathbone Sat 25-Feb-12 23:06:16

I really dislike the No means No slogan now tbh.

I think it puts the onus on women to say no.

The implication is, that passive submission is consent. It's not. The minimum bar a man should aim to reach when he has sex with a woman, is active participation. And No means No doesn't get to that stage IMO.

purpleroses Sat 25-Feb-12 22:37:37

Not sure this campaign has the right focus. If you ask men who don't rape why they don't, they won't tell you "because I might get caught" - they'll say they wouldn't want to and that it's wrong.

So focussing on making sure women are believed might help those who've been raped to move on, but isn't going to do anything to actually reduce the numbers affected - because men are unlikely to be detered by fear of getting caught, and probably many of them are in some warpped way not admitting to themselves at the time what is actually going on.

Personally really liked the No means No campaign many years back - that really tackled the root of much of the problem and was very empowering for women.

edam Fri 24-Feb-12 21:51:08

Josephine - didn't some women's organisations give evidence to Leveson? Are they going back to present this research? (I have a vague memory the inquiry's response/line of questioning didn't seem particularly impressive.)

Fraktal Fri 24-Feb-12 19:37:50

I think this is a great campaign and would live to help in any way I can. Just place marking really with sone random thoughts as my brain is currently fried but I think the %23webelieveyou message is really strong. If you're getting individual endorsements then 'I believe you' should also be used. A strong image with that strapline needs to be medical professionals and the police, 2 establishments which don't have a good track record.

There might also be mileage in the idea of innocent until proven guilty. Men benefit from this far too much whereas the woman is then cast as guilty. The woman needs to be seen as innocent of lying and the onus to prove that she was indeed lying, instead of having to prove that she was telling the truth by character statements etc.

Also people who believe that women falsely report rape need to understand exactly how humiliating a rape exam is sad so many people seem to think its as simple as turning up and saying a name.

blackoutthesun Fri 24-Feb-12 18:56:23

i 've just watched my local news and there have been 5 reported sexual assults in my town since the new year.

the police's advice, to not go out after dark on your own if your female...

JosephineB Thu 23-Feb-12 13:12:24

Cosmo rang me up about five years ago to say they were looking for some advice for an article on domestic violence in the run up to Christmas.

'Not the serious stuff' said the feature writer 'You know, maybe when he's just slapped her a few times' shock

SweetTheSting Thu 23-Feb-12 11:55:35

Blimey, Josephine B, that's really powerful analysis.

I remember Cosmo did a feature on rape victims' stories 6 (?) months or so ago - IIRC, one perpetrator was a family member, one an acquaintance and one a stranger. The backdrop picture was the classic 'dark, quiet, sinister street'. So even with more balanced reporting, the artwork decisions and therefore the visual 'impression' was still 'stranger in the dark'.

slug Thu 23-Feb-12 10:32:07

I'm all for the Golda Mier solution....a curfew for men. wink

JosephineB Thu 23-Feb-12 08:23:58

@ Basil: It's from a research study done by an organisation called AVA

It isn't on their website yet but copies have been circulating around the women's sector.

runningforthebusinheels Wed 22-Feb-12 22:09:29

I am going to do the survey in a minute, I've been building up to it because, while it's not nearly as serious as some people's stories on here, I do still find it upsetting. Reading MN has really helped me come to terms with it. It happened when I was at University and I blamed myself for years. sad

LineRunner Wed 22-Feb-12 20:01:05

I also hate the 'What were you doing out at Something O'Clock?' argument.

Do we just hand over our public spaces to rapists when it gets dark, then?

LineRunner Wed 22-Feb-12 19:59:14

I have just done the MN survey and it really brought home to me how many times I have been sexually assaulted - and how many times this was actually witnessed by people but dismissed - it's almost as though if people are there to see it, then it can't really matter, can it?

So the lecturer who threw me against the wall at a party and grabbed my tits was 'just a bit pissed'; the two men in the works' outing van who indecently assaulted me when I was 15 'were having a bit of fun'; and the guy who grabbed me violently from behind in a public place 'couldn't really have done anything much more, could he?'

The very fact there were witnesses should have strengthened my voice; but yet it diminished it.

Zhx3 Wed 22-Feb-12 19:48:29

Marking my place. Really pleased to see this happening.

The presence of alcohol presents a real double standard - in that if a woman has been drinking then the myth says she must take some of the blame. I remember letting a drunken friend into my house, and he tried it on. Although nothing happened, I was later told that if it had, I should shoulder some of the blame as I had known that he had been drinking hmm.

BasilRathbone Wed 22-Feb-12 16:45:34

JosephineB that analysis is really eye opening. Where does it come from?

Something else occurred to me - one of the most powerful myths, is that most rape allegations are false.

We know that most of them are true. We also know, that the vast, vast majority of rapes, are never even reported. So the situation most people believe is the truth - that there are thousands of women out there saying that they've been raped when they haven't - is the exact opposite of the truth - that there are thousands of women out there, who've been raped, who never say it out loud. Most people are more worried about the anthill of false allegations, than the Everest of non-reported rapes. Can we mention that one, because that's a really big reversal of reality in most people's minds?

Josphine B's post made that occur to me when she said if people don't know anyone who has been raped - thing is, most of us do know someone who has been raped, if you know 9 women, then statistically you know someone who has been raped, if you know 18, you know 2 rape victims, if you know 27 women, you know 3 rape victims, etc. - it's just that they'll never tell us, because they are part of that mountain.

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