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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

Prolesworth Mon 20-Feb-12 16:19:01

Glad to see this is happening.

Re: dispelling myths - please include the mythical idea that many allegations of rape are false.

Re: the name - I agree that 'we' sounds better than 'I' as a campaign title. I think the 'I believe you' slogan (thought up by Leningrad - credit where credit's due) is brilliant for, say, a campaign where individual people are pictured holding a sign or something along those lines.

TBE Mon 20-Feb-12 16:31:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Prolesworth Mon 20-Feb-12 16:33:39

Indeed, the slogan doesn't make a whole lot of sense as the title of a general campaign unless busting the myth of false allegations (being a common occurrence) is central. I think Lenin came up with it when we were battling against the coalition's anonymity for rape defendants proposal which was 'justified' by that particular myth.

FrothyDragon Mon 20-Feb-12 16:40:57

Prolesworth, that's a good idea.

There's a similar campaign running stateside, called Project Unbreakable, but it's from the victim's perspective. I think your idea sounds even better and less triggery.

MNHQ, I'm glad you are still going ahead with this. Had been a little concerned wrt lack of action on your behalf with a thread over the weekend. Can we extend the campaign to the boards, please? I'd like to see a zero tolerance from MNHQ towards victim blaming, regardless of how the community reacts to the posts. I think that's an important message to send out, no matter how much you dislike policing the boards.

5 most important myths to dispel:
1) Lots of rape claims are false - they're not. The stats sit at around 6%, IIRC.
2) Victims were "asking" for it, in anyway. - They weren't! Ever.
3) Rape is usually by a stranger - these account for 10% of rapes, IIRC.
4) You can prevent rape by doing x, y or z - this just leads to victim blaming.
5) A man being found not guilty of rape doesn't mean he's innocent. It just means there wasn't enough evidence to find him guilty.

Prolesworth Mon 20-Feb-12 17:23:16

It wasn't my idea in particular, just one of the ideas that came up when a campaign was discussed before (just after the general election).

Zero tolerance of rape myths on the boards is so important - walking the walk.

I would like to see something about the idea that rape is usually 'her word against his'. I'm not sure if this does count as a myth exactly but many people do seem to ignore the whole question of evidence - police failures to investigate properly being a key reason for lack of evidence in some (many?) cases, which is in turn (iirc) one of the key reasons for the high rate of attrition.

But rape crisis and EVAW will be totally clued up on all of this and presumably will be able to provide the necessary stats and so on.

allthequeensmen Mon 20-Feb-12 17:36:25

'We' is definately better.

I'm not sure I'm referring to a rape myth as such but I would like the campaign to look at the issue of women who have been prosecuted/ sued after her rapist has been found not guilty. I just can't believe this is allowed to happen.

nailak Mon 20-Feb-12 17:43:22

Writing from a cultural perspective, I would like the myths that there is no such thing as marital.rape, and the idea that a woman in a burka is less likely to get raped, women out after dark are more likely to get raped, drunk women are more likely to get raped, tackled.

trice Mon 20-Feb-12 17:49:18

Don't ignore male rape. I know it's a minority but if you don't mention it it will be all some people will focus on. Proper stats wouldn't go amiss.

KateSpade Mon 20-Feb-12 18:08:41

How about 'you didn't do anything wrong?'
Victims often blame themselves, when it's not their fault at all.

LeninGrad Mon 20-Feb-12 18:15:32

'I believe you' would work in terms of getting people to hold up placards, taking pictures and those being used to create a collage of support for example, you could do both slogans in different contexts maybe.

Fantastic you're running a campaign, the wall of silence around rape and sexual assualt and the myths that proliferate need to be addressed. Will be watching how it goes.

FrothyDragon Mon 20-Feb-12 18:22:37

The "her word against his" is another important one. It allows for so much speculation, usually "we don't know what happened", or something along those lines, leading, again, to the doubt being placed on the victim's testimony.

Allthequeensmen, I think that's something important to tackle. It sends out such a strong, anti-woman message. the case of Layla Ibrahim is one that sticks in my mind so much. sad

Nailak, that's another good point.

We also need to see the idea that rape is to do with sexuality challenged. I've lost count of how many times I've seen people claim that he must have been attracted.

LeninGrad Mon 20-Feb-12 18:28:14

For me if you show support for those who have been raped or sexually assaulted that is automatically addressing some myths. So hopefully you would get people doing something visible and active to show their support, people who have been attacked feel supported and others are made to think.

Haiku man might run us up some billboards.

Nyac Mon 20-Feb-12 18:36:57

It's great you're doing this, in particular using the "we believe you" slogan.

If you're doing a survey, make sure to ask the sex of the respondent (you probably don't need that mentioning, but just in case). Is there a resident Mumsnet sociologist who will be designing it?

nailak Mon 20-Feb-12 19:52:35

i also second the myth surrounding rape being a crime of sexuality when it is a crime of violence and control.

AlwaysWild Mon 20-Feb-12 19:53:56

So pleased you're doing this. I agree with other posters that mn needs to walk the walk and stop tolerating rape myths on the boards. That is what 'we believe you' is about to me. And agree policies need shoring up on this.

MarriedtotheMod Mon 20-Feb-12 20:22:20

My god, am so pleased to see this. I've recently reported a rape and it's in the early stages of investigation. It happened a long time ago which makes it difficult and has raised a lot of issues but have just started facing up and dealing with them. I have lots more to say on this so I'm just marking my place but I'll be back...

FrothyDragon Mon 20-Feb-12 20:39:07

Thinking of you, Marriedtothemod. You've done well reporting it. Hope it gets easier for you.

1. Rape only happens if you come across a rapist.

2. there is no such thing as a "point of no return" for a man. No means stop immediately

3. Your rapist is most likely going to be your husband/partner/boyfriend/friend ie someone you know well and trust. He probably wont be wearing a balaclava and hiding in a dark alley.

4. You do not ever deserve or encourage rape. No matter what your sexual history or what you are wearing.

5. It is not just women that are raped. Whilst women do make up the larger majority of victims men can also be raped

Actually scrap all of them.

the biggest myth of all is that rape is about sexual desire. It has nothing to do with lust love or attraction.

It is about power and control. Always. Every single time.

I think you should be careful about saying it's a myth 'that women are usually raped by strangers.' A lot of women are raped by strangers and it's no myth to them. Can it be worded more sensitively? Like, it's a myth that you can't be raped by your boyfriend or husband, or coworker or what have you?

I also have to disagree with Valar I'm afraid. I don't think it's possible to make universal statements about rape and what it's about. Sometimes it is indeed about power and sex, at least in my case I believe it was. Sometimes it's not about sex or attraction at all. But I don't think we should generalise.

omarlittlest Mon 20-Feb-12 22:16:14

Just another poster/ lurker who is really glad you are supporting this campaign. One of the saddest threads I ever read (maybe about year ago) on MN was about the sheer amount of women who had been raped but felt it was not only useless to report it but were fairly sure that the legal process would simply add to their violation. That thread haunts me.

BasilRathbone Mon 20-Feb-12 22:28:03

I would like some focus on men.

They are the ones who can actually stop rape. The best people to undermine the culture which allows rapists to rape and get away with it, are non-rapist men. If all the men out there who are not rapists, contradicted the rape myths which directly concern them every time they heard them - that there's a point of no-return, that sometimes it's hard to tell if a woman is consenting and a man can't be expected to refrain from penetrating a woman's body if there is any ambiguity about consent, that if a woman wears a mini skirt/ low-cut top/ flirts, kisses him, she has consented to penetration - that if she's drunk, she's consented to penetration - they would be choosing to dissociate themselves from rapists and they would be undermining the environment of enablement, in which rapists currently operate.

As well as undermining the support rapists currently get from society, this would have the added benefit, that it would become much easier to spot a rapist, wouldn't it? Because as soon as a man agreed that he gets all rapey when he sees a woman in a mini skirt and assumes she's "asking for it", we'd all know that - aha! - he's the rapist - because all the non-rapist men in the room, would be disagreeing with him.

This falls down as a rapist-spotting technique at the moment, because the majority of men who are not rapists, don't tend to contradict rape myths when they hear them, even though they know in their own life, that they're perfectly capable of stopping mid-shag or that they know perfectly well that if a woman is drunk, that doesn't mean they have the right to penetrate her body without her full and enthusiastic participation. Yet they don't speak out. If they did, it would be an incredibly powerful undermining of rape culture.

I'm not sure how it can be done, but I think it needs to be considered.

LeninGrad Mon 20-Feb-12 22:38:37

Beer mats with conviction rates and prison sentences on them would get attention.

Mostly though I think we have to support those who have been attacked and enable them to talk about this more. Many rapists get away with it because women also know/think they won't be believed so they don't report it.

Another idea was to have a mass 'report your assault' event, just to get it out there, find a way where people can report without having to take it any further. But have it acknowledged at least. You could 'match' it with the 'I/we believe you' idea but I appreciate that might be too much for one campaign.

Concerns about not being believed and myths about rape and sexual assault are at the heart of not reporting though so that's where the work needs to be done.

LeninGrad Mon 20-Feb-12 22:45:17

One of the biggest myths about rape and sexual assault is the common idea that women routinely lie about it, it's simply not true but it is remarkably effective in stopping women talking about their experiences. This is why a campaign should focus on stating that women should be believed in order to explode that myth.

Society used to say that children weren't to be trusted and were lying when they talked about the abuse they experienced, I don't think that attitude is true any more, the same needs to happen around rape and sexual assault for women and men (although I don't think men are commonly thought to be lying about their experiences).

BasilRathbone Mon 20-Feb-12 22:47:34

God yes Lenin.

A sort of "amnesty" but in reverse - for women who have been raped, who have never reported, a massive awareness-raising campaign for them to call a number, to report their rape and talk to someone about it, on one day, like Comic Relief, but knowing that they didn't have to take it any further if they didn't want to. And then to publish the numbers.

But I bet most wouldn't get through, because the lines would be engaged. sad

LeninGrad Mon 20-Feb-12 23:05:39

Would have to be internet mostly, committing to phone support would be difficult without funding and organisation but the usual support orgs would be listed.

It needs all of it doesn't it really. People really do lose all common sense when it comes to rape and sexual assaults - of course rapists lie about it, they will say anything, the most preposterous nonsense, it's in their interests to lie. The balance is tipping in terms of conviction rates, reporting rates need to be improved though.

I actually like the "I believe you" better, hard to explain why but I think it's partly that using "We" assumes the person you're talking to is part of the "we" but therefore might turn off some of the not-so-sure people, who are I guess the ones who need their mindset changing?

I think it depends though what the main intention(s) of the campaign will be. Is it mainly about supporting victims, or about improving conviction/reporting rates, or about changing attitudes, or making potential rapists think twice (or all of the above)? That slogan would work for some of those but not others.

As for myths, I think many of those already mentioned are very important - non-stranger rape, dress/alcohol/flirting being "asking for it", false allegations.

But depending on the focus of the campaign, if part of it ends up being about supporting victims I would like to challenge the myth that they "should have done more" to stop it - it's well known by experts that women will often freeze and feel unable to fight back during an assault, for example, but as it's not more widely known it seems as though many people either blame themselves for not shouting/fighting/whatever, or feel that it "wasn't rape" because they weren't physically forced or threatened. So this could help to reassure them that this is normal and it was in no way their fault.

I also like BasilRathbone's post above, and this reminded me of a campaign I think someone linked to on here a while ago - it was a regional campaign I think, aimed at changing men's attitudes, with a slogan something like "don't be that man" or something, and I thought it seemed very good. Anyone know what I mean?

StewieGriffinsMom Mon 20-Feb-12 23:17:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

StewieGriffinsMom Mon 20-Feb-12 23:18:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

I agree with Basil that men need to be targeted, but I disagree that all the 'non-rapists' are not challenging rape myths. I can't think of any male friend of mine who would not immediately challenge someone who said 'oh she was asking for it' or some such. I think the problem is more that loads of men actually do believe these myths and that is why they don't challenge them.

I don't know how you convince men not to believe these things. Rape culture has a lot to answer for but I don't imagine anyone is going to do anything about that anytime soon.

FrothyDragon Tue 21-Feb-12 01:09:00

Ditto SGM's post.

Dreamingbohemian, I didn't read Basil's post as saying that all "non-rapists" are not challenging rape myths. I read it as saying the men who aren't doing so, should be. And I agree. But then I think everyone hearing rape myths should be challenging them.

But who are the men not challenging myths when they hear them? At least in my experience, it tends to be the men who also agree with the myths anyway.

That's just my experience though. Maybe you're right and there are lots of men who don't agree but don't challenge either.

I would like to offer my support for this campaign. It is a very important one and has the potential to be truly groundbreaking in its approach.
I have no real preference for we over I it he slogan. I think it will be brilliant whichever you go with (congrats Lenin!)

For my tuppennoth on the rape myths, I would echo what has already been said, especially those who advocate the need to emphasize that rape is not about sex or sexual desire, but about power. One person thinking that they should be able to override the opinions of another or inflict violence on another just because they are in a stronger position and thus able to do so.

I would also like to see emphasized the idea that there is no "typical" rape victim. That no one looks like a rape victim. There is only one common factor is all rapes and that is the rapist.

FrothyDragon Tue 21-Feb-12 05:59:54

I know quite a few, dreamingbohemian.

Was on a college course a couple of years back, discussing women in the army, when someone said "well, if you're a woman going into the army, you're kinda asking for it." hmm

One person challenged it. Out of a class of 15. And she's posting here now. There were 5 men in that class, as well.

I'm glad to see this, too.

I think most of what I would have added is already here, but IMO the most important myths to discourage are the "doing x, y and z will stop you from being raped-the power is in your hands!" like the posters in pub toilets saying to watch how much you drink etc is appalling and places blame with victims and lures other women into a false sense of security. Thus also making it harder for them to come to terms with should they be assaulted or raped "but I followed the rules..."

The fact that false allegations are so, so much lower than the general public believe needs to be up there. I saw a blog where it was compared with car theft, which was higher (as in people lying about having their car stolen) It might make people think a little?

Finally I do wish rape wasn't regarded as a so called sexual crime. It is violent--a violation--and needs to be treated as such.

AlwaysWild Tue 21-Feb-12 07:39:11

It isn't always violent though. It's about power. But that can be coercion rather than violence.

And I agree re the lack of challenging rape culture. The 'banter' about getting her drunk so you can get your leg over for instance. I don't hear men challenging that en masse.

StewieGriffinsMom Tue 21-Feb-12 08:26:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mousymouseafraidofdogs Tue 21-Feb-12 08:54:12

I would prefer the 'I believe you - we believe you' in combination.
as in individuals who work with the victim and society as a whole.

good myths posted above, nothing to add.

I'm really pleased to see this campaign taking shape.

I think 'I believe you' / 'we believe you' could work well together in different contexts. I also agree that MNHQ should be deleting victim-blaming posts.

WRT rape myths, most of the ones I can think of have already been mentioned although I'd like to add that there are no 'degrees' of rape.

Also, I'm not sure if this is a rape myth as such but I'd like to see challenged the idea that men can't control themselves / must have sex or they'll explode / have a right to sex.

LineRunner Tue 21-Feb-12 09:07:01

I hate seeing juries expoited in the courtroom by defence barristers who claim that if the victim can be shown to have lied about anything, ever, just once, then the jury has to accept that she's a liar. And that she therefore is not a credible complainant.

What person has never, ever told a lie or made a mistake?

Prosecution barristers rarely have the same latitude with the accused.

This is really important and explains why quite a lot of rapists 'walk'.

Victims aren't perfect - not should they have to be to get justice.

ballroompink Tue 21-Feb-12 09:10:15

Great that you are doing this. As has been mentioned further up the thread, part of it definitely needs to focus on busting the myth that a large proportion of rape claims are made by lying women who are either regretting sleeping with a man or seeking to 'get revenge' on him and 'ruin his life'. The false accusation rate is no higher than it is for any other crime yet thanks to the tabloids and popular narrative surrounding rape, people's automatic reaction seems to be to talk about rape in terms of 'all those women who lie about it'.

loads of good stuff on here smile

i would add that there needs to be heightened awareness that rape is violent. people seem to talk about rape where someone doesn't get punched in the face as if it was somehow not violent. the very act of forcing yourself onto/into someone is violence against them. it's not sex you know? it's rape which is a violent act.

if they also punch, kick, cut etc the victim that is rape plus assault of whatever degree. there's not 'nice rape' and 'violent rape'. rape is rape and is violent and if someone also commits other crimes in the process these will also be charges in addition to the rape.

there seems to be a lot of muddle about this in people's minds whereby they start classifying some rapes as worse than others. rape is rape. gbh is gbh. one adds on to the other rather than qualifying it itms. we and a jury don't have to consider was it an especially violent rape or not, just that it was rape. other crimes in addition eg: abh, kidnapping etc are additional crimes, the absence of them doesn't make the rape less of a rape.

sorry - not sure i've been at all clear but hope it makes sense. actually hope someone more articulate than me will come along and put it very clearly in a couple of sentences for me! (usually happens)

totally agree that we need to focus on challenging this prevalent idea (encouraged by the coalitions rapist anonymity furor) that lots of women make it up. there are stats out there on how it compares to false reporting of other crimes that are helpful on this.

being both a rape victim and having sat on the jury of a rape trial i can tell you that you are almost advised not to find the man guilty.

At the end of the trial the judge gives a little speech and tells you that rape is not about just having sex without the woman wanting to, but the man must have believed that she meant no.

that still haunts me now. That a woman can say no. Can prove that she said no, yet he could still get off because the jury have been told he didn't believe that she meant no.

I had a very similar discussion to this recently. sadly myself and a male colleague were arguing with another male and female colleague.
They were of the opinion that women who dress provocatively or who get drunk were somehow to blame if they were raped. I think that much of their viewpoint came from their very strong religious views. (one catholic one muslim)

I was both cheered by the strength of my male colleagues argument against such myths, he is usually considered a bit of a womaniser and i was very pleasantly surprised by his responses. And saddened by the highly intelligent caring and compassionate woman i work with holding such opinions.

It isn't always violent though. It's about power. But that can be coercion rather than violence.

It absolutely IS always violent. they are forcing penetration. they may not punch or hit their victim but the very act of rape IS violent.

Kveta Tue 21-Feb-12 09:44:11

great idea for a campaign, and totally agree with the 'we believe you - I believe you' message.

agree with the myths too - especially 'there are no degrees of rape', and that a rape is a rape, but sometimes can have other crimes on top of it.

It's very sad though that a campaign is needed to encourage people to believe rape victims - rather than a campaign to try and prevent rape occurring. I know the latter has been tried before, but it strikes me as wrong that this is a campaign to support victims of crime rather than prevent occurence of crime - it shouldn't be needed. Unfortunately, it is very necessary though sad

SardineQueen Tue 21-Feb-12 09:46:52

Very much in support of this campaign and just marking place really, great posts on here smile

mousymouseafraidofdogs Tue 21-Feb-12 09:48:17

valar that is shocking regarding the courts. did the rapist get convicted in your case?

sadly not mouse. I argued for hours that she had made it clear she wanted to stop. But it was a date rape. She had initially agreed to kissing/cuddling etc.
They held her underwear up as evidence to prove that she was "intending for sex" simply because they weren't giant white things.

i felt sick the entire time.

Eventually i got a bit of a telling off for wasting everyones time and i am ashamed to say that i agreed to vote not guilty. sad

That poor womans face haunts me still. I can only hope that my voluntary work with Rape crisis has in some part made up for that.

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.

Apologies for the tangent but while we're here... could I suggest tweeps check out Women Under Siege:

https://twitter.com/#!/WomenUndrSiege

A fantastic awareness and activism project focusing on rape victims in conflict zones.

I mention it because while I know the MN campaign is focused on the UK, I think Women Under Siege have gotten loads of attention in a very short amount of time, so perhaps there could be some good campaign lessons learned here.

Do you all think more could be done on the social media side? I think Valor made a great point above, what else could be done here?

StewieGriffinsMom Tue 21-Feb-12 12:41:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Is there no Gloria Steinem of the UK?

Scratch that -- does it even have to be a feminist activist? Is there no prominent and popular woman who could be enticed to speak to this?

Actually I followed WUS for quite a while before I knew GS was involved. They did a great job with social media promotion.

NotYetEverything Tue 21-Feb-12 12:53:43

Welcome campaign. Good point about hashtag. Has #ibelieveyou been used for anything else?

StewieGriffinsMom Tue 21-Feb-12 12:53:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BertieBotts Tue 21-Feb-12 13:00:08

Most important myth to break is far and away the "women making false allegations in order to ruin blokes' lives" one. Ridiculous and really damaging for women who are (in the majority) making genuine allegations.

Prolesworth Tue 21-Feb-12 13:09:01

I'm sure Baroness Stern, Vera Baird and Helena Kennedy would support this (just a few names off top of my head, there must be many more)

PattiMayor Tue 21-Feb-12 13:27:58

I also would like 'grades' of rape addressed in this campaign. I also like the We believe you/I believe you slogan and think there are some other great ideas on this thread.

I know my survey on here (it's ChristinedePizan under a new name) wasn't particularly scientific but in that, 1 in 4 women who responded said they'd been raped.

I suspect, from the number of people on that thread and in the survey who said that they hadn't considered what had happened to them in the past to be an assault, but thinking about it in the context of the thread, it most definitely was, that if you add in sexual assault, the numbers will be a lot higher.

(sorry, the grammar in that last para is hideous but I hope you get the gist)

And I'm very pleased that this is happening smile Thanks MNHQ. It's a cause very close to my heart.

chibi Tue 21-Feb-12 13:52:21

I bet julie bindel and cath elliot and bidisha would support this (feminist writers; all have feqtured in the gaurdian)

JosephineB Tue 21-Feb-12 13:52:28

I love this: "One out of four women in the UK is raped or sexually assaulted. We believe them. We vote."

What are the 5 most important myths to dispel

My thoughts:

That a victims sexual history is relevant
That a victims clothing is related to risk (and in particular the highly offensive 'analogy' that is always made with theft eg it's like walking around a bad part of town with money hanging out your pocket)
That the rate of false allegations is high
That there are degrees of rape
That if a woman has been drinking she only has herself to blame

SweetTheSting Tue 21-Feb-12 14:05:22

Thank you Mumsnet and everyone involved.

Bindelj Tue 21-Feb-12 14:23:32

I will support this - let me know what I can do

chibi Tue 21-Feb-12 14:29:53

Yay!

CathElliott Tue 21-Feb-12 14:29:54

chibi "I bet julie bindel and cath elliot and bidisha would support this"

I bet we would too smile

It looks like it's going to be a great campaign. It's enraging that it's necessary but sadly it is. Oh, and I think "We believe you" is a great title. Thanks to everyone at Mumsnet for their work on this. x

LineRunner Tue 21-Feb-12 14:31:48

That's brilliant.

'We believe you. We vote.' Excellent.

chibi Tue 21-Feb-12 14:43:03

Double yay!

Wow! That's amazing, thank you Julie and Cath. smile

<wonders what other kinds of magic Chibi can perform...>

chibi Tue 21-Feb-12 14:53:23

i wish i could take credit, but they did not hear about it from me! they are ace at getting in on grassroots activism though, so i was pretty sure they'd say yes smile

In line with the 'we vote' approach -- does anyone do a report card/grade sheet on MPs and their positions/votes on sexual violence or similar issues?

I'm thinking of what a number of NGOs do in the US, for example the ACLU:

action.aclu.org/site/VoteCenter?page=voteList&cr=1

It's one thing to remind politicians 'we vote' -- it's even better if we could say 'we have an easy way to show everyone how wrong you are on this issue'. Accountability terrifies a lot of politicians smile

Hullygully Tue 21-Feb-12 15:06:08

1-5 That there is anything, at all, ever, that is mitigating.

fridakahlo Tue 21-Feb-12 15:18:33

I think this is a brilliant idea, just a shame there is such a need of it.
One thing that has not been mentioned is female on female assault. I can't be the only person to have experienced that?

StewieGriffinsMom Tue 21-Feb-12 15:36:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LynnCSchreiber Tue 21-Feb-12 15:51:06

Marking place.

I am right in the middle of a move and cannot spend much time on this but would like to be involved - will definitely do some blog posts about it.

Would the BN be able to coordinate a blogger campaign like we did for the miscarriage campaign? Am happy to help organise that but won't the till late next week when we are in Scotland.

The linked up blogs was successful last time.

PM me if there is interest cause I'm not on MN much ATM.

StewieGriffinsMom Tue 21-Feb-12 15:53:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

neepsntatties Tue 21-Feb-12 15:55:09

What consent is and is not. Sick of the idea that there is this grey area which allows men to do what they want. I remember an awful article in Cosmo all about what they called 'not quite rape' which detailed lots of rape stories describing them as not quite a proper rape. Grim.

agree on consent. this pretending that maybe he didn't realise (does he usually have sex with catatonic frozen women who are totally shut down? confused is crazily clutched to by some people who don't want to face that yes normal seeming men do rape, not just demented pscyhopaths in dark alleys on taggert.

I think the worst case I have read regarding consent is that poor woman who was raped by a stranger in a B&B, after he wandered into her room and 'thought she was his girlfriend'. He was found not guilty! I still don't know how that was possible.

I would like to see a message along the lines of: even if the law thinks you haven't been raped, we believe you. Because the law as it's being interpreted on consent is pretty messed up.

LynnCSchreiber Tue 21-Feb-12 16:34:25

Did you see the article in DM about the 11yo whose rapists were given reduced sentences cause she was willing and 'looked about 14yo' according to the judge.

angry

LynnCSchreiber Tue 21-Feb-12 16:37:14

40 mths the bastards got.

FFS. Anyone know a bit about legal issues such as sentencing - how can the judge do this? Is there no minimum sentence?

i'd also really like to challenge this idea that it's ok for a man to have sex with a minor because 'she's really mature' or 'she dresses like an adult'. we have a law in place on this that says you can't have sex with minors but people seem to poo poo it and say oh i know lots of mature 15 yos etc.

a child is a child. you don't have sex with children. it really should be that clear.

if you have sex with a child you have raped them because they are not able to give true consent given they are a child.

tried to paste that ^^ earlier but mn kept going offline for me. quite timely to your post mmelindor.

JessieXL Tue 21-Feb-12 16:49:07

Wonderful to see that you are addressing this. The negative way in which stories are often handled in the papers, TV and the net can make you feel helpless to change attitudes in society.

Let's hope for some good publicity when we show how loud we can be when we shout together.

LynnCSchreiber Tue 21-Feb-12 16:49:08

Yy agree with that, swallowed

Also loved your post earlier about grades of rape - that rape is rape and GBH is GBH and if the former happened without the latter doesn't make it less serious.

Separating the crimes is important.

LynnCSchreiber Tue 21-Feb-12 16:49:39

Oh, and keep meaning to say YAY to Lenin for the excellent slogan

kelshawcaz Tue 21-Feb-12 17:27:20

I agree with BasilRathbone, we need to target men all the emphasis is usually on women (which is needed) but the result is that the men are still invisible in the campaigns, we need to target them out loud in the culture where they can be seen. This would include both looking at the rapist, the men who collude by their silence and the behaviour of men who are respectful to women (and men).

mousymouseafraidofdogs Tue 21-Feb-12 18:09:38

yes to targeting men. those 'ladmags' might be a good place if one could get an interview/article in there.

Notthefullshilling Tue 21-Feb-12 18:31:54

swallowedAfly: I think we need to narrow that down a wee bit more, firstly we are not discriminating about women who molest, rare I know but with the evidence of the "false rape" allegation is that we need to leave no places for people to use as counter arguments.

Also what to do about under age sex between two consenting teens?

NubblesStryverFlintwinch Tue 21-Feb-12 19:00:06

Marking place for when I am not on phone.

Brilliant suggestions

Finallyfinally Tue 21-Feb-12 19:10:08

Marking place. I read somewhere the false reporting rate for rape is similar to that for burglary. I don't quite know what to do with that fact, but I wish more people knew it. After all, when someone says they've been burgled you don't get everyone implying they're only saying it to claim on the insurance, or that their TV was visible from the window, and it's the poor man accused of burglary they feel sorry for, because his life will never be the same again angry

Oh yes mousy I would love to get something in the ladmags. Though the worst ones would probably not agree to run anything, as it would contradict their normal misogynist crap angry

Pozzled Tue 21-Feb-12 19:42:13

Really pleased to see this campaign happening. Before I started MNing I knew very little about rape and sexual assault, the site has really opened my eyes. I can see how people like me, who are lucky enough to have no personal experience, could be tempted to believe the myths. Especially 'it'll never happen to me because I dress modestly/don't drink' etc etc.

I definitely think the issue of consent is important, and making it clear what is or isn't consent.

LindenAvery Tue 21-Feb-12 19:54:06

Marking place - I believe you, we believe you, we vote.

TeddyBare Tue 21-Feb-12 19:56:28

Marking my place.

Tiago Tue 21-Feb-12 19:56:39

I like we believe you. As for myths - getting people to understand that just because a person doesn't continually scream/shout/fight doesn't make it consensual. Fear can prevent someone from doing those things.

LineRunner Tue 21-Feb-12 20:12:23

Ah yes, the ladsmags that couldn't think of a single female sports personality in the whole of 2011.

Tits not big enough, lads?

chrissie9 Tue 21-Feb-12 20:47:39

I totally agree that rape/assaults on women have nothing whatsoever to do with sex -always to do with hatred of women and power. I know little about the motives for male rape but agree all rape victims need support in every way possible.
To be simply believed can make the difference to a victim between going on, or not.To be pushed into reporting a rape when the victim just wants to talk can be detrimental. I think that the answer is to empower girls with the knowledge before they are likely to encounter violence...as soon as possible at school. And to raise their self esteems etc. Boys also need to be educated about all these issues.

edam Tue 21-Feb-12 20:58:12

Very pleased to see this. Finally's right, many people are not aware that false accusations are no more of an issue in rape than in any other offence - yet we don't automatically accuse someone who has been burgled of making it up.

Important to dispel the myths about victim behaviour - that unless someone screamed or fought back, they must have wanted it really. I think people would cotton on to the idea that you can be frozen with fear - it happens in other circumstances.

LynnCSchreiber Tue 21-Feb-12 21:12:23

I wonder if the campaign could include a call for more education in schools. I am aware this is a tricky subject but informing both young girls and boys about this is crucial. Did anyone read the guardian article recently about rape being seen as a normal part of being accepted into a gang? It was really disturbing.

BasilRathbone Tue 21-Feb-12 21:15:44

That would be a good campaign wouldn't it?

Picture of respectable bloke/ woman in sitting room with police.

"Are you sure you didn't leave the door open?"

"Well why don't you have a burglar alarm?"

"Your neighbours say that you have lots of friends round for tea and dinner all the time"

"Why did you leave the curtains drawn back?"

"Is there any reason you choose to leave the TV where it can be seen from the window?"

"You do know that if you make your house look inviting, you can't be surprised if someone feels you're inviting them in?"

"Sorry, we have to ask you this, there are so many people who pretend they've been burgled, when all they want is the house insurance money and to ruin some poor burglar's life"

With a big headline underneath: The number of women who falsely allege rape, is the same as the number of people who falsely allege burglary.

That would surprise people.

edam Tue 21-Feb-12 21:17:02

I like your style, Basil...

I really like the idea of more education/campaigning in schools actually - teaching both boys and girls about boundaries, respecting each other, what is and is not acceptable etc.

LineRunner Tue 21-Feb-12 21:19:28

Basil, just excellent.

BasilRathbone Tue 21-Feb-12 21:39:07

Look what I found:

www.teenboundaries.co.uk/

This charity looks like it's doing something useful in this field...

Quodlibet Tue 21-Feb-12 21:52:17

The (normal) majority of non-raping men have a responsibility to be vigilant and to make sure that rape is absolutely not acceptable in male spheres. I don't know how we (as women) encourage the change in male spheres apart from talking to our sons?

From this excellent blog post, Meet the predators which looks at statistics that show that rape is committed by a minority of men who do it again and again because they can and do get away with it:

"I’m directing this to men who inhabit het-identified social spaces, and I’m not really limiting it more than that. Women are already doing what they can to prevent rape; brokering a peace with the fear is part of their lives that we can never fully understand. We’re the ones who are not doing our jobs.

Here’s what we need to do. We need to spot the rapists, and we need to shut down the social structures that give them a license to operate. They are in the population, among us. They have an average of six victims, women that they know, and therefore likely some women you know. They use force sometimes, but mostly they use intoxicants. They don’t accidentally end up in a room with a woman too drunk or high to consent or resist; they plan on getting there and that’s where they end up.

Listen. The women you know will tell you when the men they thought they could trust assaulted them; if and only if they know you won’t stonewall, deny, blame or judge. Let them tell you that they got drunk, and woke up with your buddy on top of them. Listen. Don’t defend that guy. That guy is more likely than not a recidivist. He has probably done it before. He will probably do it again...

To rape again and again, these men need silence. They need to know that the right combination of factors — alcohol and sex shame, mostly — will keep their victims quiet. Otherwise, they would be identified earlier and have a harder time finding victims. The women in your life need to be able to talk frankly about sexual assault. They need to be able to tell you, and they need to know that they can tell you, and not be stonewalled, denied, blamed or judged.

Listen. The men in your lives will tell you what they do. As long as the R word doesn’t get attached, rapists do self-report. The guy who says he sees a woman too drunk to know where she is as an opportunity is not joking. He’s telling you how he sees it. The guy who says, “bros before hos”, is asking you to make a pact....

Change the culture.... if we are going to put a dent in the prevalence of rape, we need to change the environment that the rapist operates in. Choose not to be part of a rape-supportive environment. Rape jokes are not jokes. Woman-hating jokes are not jokes. These guys are telling you what they think. When you laugh along to get their approval, you give them yours. You tell them that the social license to operate is in force; that you’ll go along with the pact to turn your eyes away from the evidence; to make excuses for them; to assume it’s a mistake, of the first time, or a confusing situation. You’re telling them that they’re at low risk."

handmedownqueen Wed 22-Feb-12 00:16:56

as someone who works in this area and has an extensive knowlegde of the variety of female complainanrs of rape ..............well as a mum of teenage boys I worry about their vulnerabilty to get it wrong
to not know what is normal due to the availabilty of porn. how to approach a girl sexually
to have to navigate a culture where young women drink excessively, wear very little and give out mixed signals
so yes support any campaign on boundaries and education for boys and girls but please remember that otherwise nice young men can get mixed up and have their futures ruined

neepsntatties Wed 22-Feb-12 04:44:37

What a girl is wearing or has been drinking is irrelevant to whether she is consenting or not. If your son is not sure if a girl is consenting then he shouldn't have sex with her.

This idea of mixed messages is another issue that needs to be tackled. If someone really isn't sure what a person wants then they can ask, it's not a go ahead for sex. If they don't want to ask then they shouldn't be having sex anyway. Maybe we need some type of 'Consent, be sure' slogan.

neepsntatties Wed 22-Feb-12 05:07:48

Maybe a consent, be sure type slogan could go with a 'what consent looks luke' poster campaign. Images of girls doing various things, drinking, wearing a short skirt etc then one of a girl saying yes with the idea being only the last one is consent.

LynnCSchreiber Wed 22-Feb-12 06:59:53

Good idea, Neeps. I agree. I worry more about my dd being raped than I do about my son being falsely accused of rape.

I have written blog post (wasn't able to sleep so wrote it at 2am) so if MNHQ are happy for me to coordinate blogger campaign, will do so.

neepsntatties Wed 22-Feb-12 07:02:35

Also a move to yes means yes rather than no means no.

LynnCSchreiber Wed 22-Feb-12 07:09:31

One idea for the blog hop would be to give women an anonymous platform to tell their story. We could organise a few bloggers who were willing to do a We Believe post.

Each post could start with title 'We Believe [poster's name]

Eg 'We Believe Cathy'
'We Believe Rebecca'

...

What do you think?

StewieGriffinsMom Wed 22-Feb-12 07:57:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Finallyfinally Wed 22-Feb-12 08:57:12

Handmedownqueen I don't really understand what you're saying. Surely it's easy to teach your boys that they might like the look of a girl in a short skirt but it doesn't mean she put it on in order to have sex? And that if she's out of it drunk, she can't consent? And if she says no, it means no?

tralalala Wed 22-Feb-12 09:24:39

handmedown 'nice young boys' do not continue having sex with someone againsts their wishes.

KatieMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 22-Feb-12 09:25:01

Hi Everyone

Thanks so much for your thoughts and enthusiasm - really good to know we're going in the right direction, and great we now have a title - 'we believe you', that we can also use as #webelieveyou on twitter.

We'll now go through the myth suggestions on here and pull together the most powerful 5(ish) with the best stats to support our argument/ challenge the myths. This will be a big part of the press release (alongside the survey results).

On the survey we hope it will be live later today(ish) - we've developed it thinking about the language very carefully, using many of the discussion threads as pointers, and after consultation with Rape crisis and EVAW. We've been very conscious as we've developed it, how important it is to get right - but are cautiously hopeful we have.

On the moderation of discussion on the site, we absolutely do not tolerate victim-blaming posts, eg "well, she was asking for it" or "you were drunk, what do you expect" - and we will delete them, as soon as we are made aware of them, with no debate, discussion or mitigating pleas.

We wont though, delete posts that form part of a reasonable and valid discussion, even if those posts are made in ignorance. So, if someone we believed to be a genuine poster came onto a thread and said, "But I thought most rapists were strangers", we would rather let it stand and allow others to correct that particular rape myth on the thread, thereby educating others in the process. 

We completely understand where you are coming from on this but we've always thought it's wrong to adopt a policy of blanket censorship (though it might be easier to implement!) Instead, we feel it's wiser to judge each post that's reported on its individual words and context, and make decisions on a post-by-post basis.
 
And finally on blogging - yes the Mumsnet bloggers network will be asking bloggers to come forward, blog, blog hop and do anything else they can to get involved - the more the merrier!

Thanks again for helping us get this far - your support is really vital in making this a success

Best

MNHQ

In talking about the myths, though, I think it's important to think about why some people believe them.

I think a lot of people live in fear of violence happening to them or their loved ones, and control this fear by thinking if they follow certain rules then nothing will happen to them. Hence all the 'it's her own fault' myths.

I'm not sure these people will be swayed by an anti-myths campaign, because then they will not have a way to cope with those fears. Let's face it, 'anyone can rape you at any time' may be truthful but it's very frightening.

These are the people who sit on juries and acquit rapists. They need to be reached. How can we challenge the myths while not scaring them off?

JosephineB Wed 22-Feb-12 10:57:44

In talking about the myths, though, I think it's important to think about why some people believe them.

Here's one reason (from an analysis of 4 broadsheets and 4 tabloid newspapers throughout 2008, compared with data from the British Crime Survey):

%age of stories where the rape ended with a conviction:

Tabloid: 55%
Broadsheet: 30%
British Crime Survey: 5.7%

%age of stories where the attacker was a known man:

Tabloid: 4%
Broadsheet: 5%
British Crime Survey: 92%

%age of stories where the attacker was a current or former partner:

Tabloid: 0%
Broadsheet: 0%
British Crime Survey: 56%

%age of stories where the attack took place in public

Tabloid: 51%
Broadsheet: 27.5%
British Crime Survey: 13%

%age of stories where the attacker was a stranger:

Tabloid: 63%
Broadsheet: 28%
British Crime Survey: 11%

%age of stories involving a false allegation:

Tabloid: 10.2%
Broadsheet: 7.5%
British Crime Survey: 3%

If people don't know anyone personally who has been raped where else are they getting their information from but the media? And the above data shows where the rape myths come from and how they are continually reinforced. I think this is an issue that the Leveson Inquiry - supposedly about media ethics - should be addressing.

caramelwaffle Wed 22-Feb-12 11:09:52

A problem that is currently being reported:

that because a girl "looks older than she is" she 'was complicit' in her rape (or, 'not really raped at all')

The focus should be on 'Men - don't rape' IMO.

Kveta Wed 22-Feb-12 11:14:22

shock josephineB that's quite terrifying! no wonder the general public haven't a clue!

Pozzled Wed 22-Feb-12 12:31:11

Thinking more about the consent issue, and handmedownqueen's post above, could we include something about consent being active, not passive. There shouldn't be any of this 'mixed messages' and 'nice men getting mixed up' because if the woman isn't actively participating or actively giving verbal encouragement, then the man should wait and check for consent. The message needs to be out there that asking 'Is this ok?' or similar doesn't make you any less macho or less of a real man.

OliverTwit Wed 22-Feb-12 13:15:16

Just adding my support, I have a BIL who is in the police who says they get a lot of false accusations and that once the women/girls have sobered up they change their minds.
I wonder why eh?
Thanks to some of the threads here on MN I was able to confidently challenge him. (I'm a bit crap at confrontation TBH)

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.

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.

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.

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?

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

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.

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

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

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'.

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

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...

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.

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.)

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.

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 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 23:36:44

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.

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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.

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.

BertieBotts 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 09:41:41

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

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.

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.

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.

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