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We Believe You: we're launching our rape awareness campaign today.

(531 Posts)
KateMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 09-Mar-12 15:56:08

Today, we're very proud to be launching a new campaign. It's called 'We Believe You', and it's inspired by the many MNers who've asked us to speak out about the prevalence of rape and sexual assault in women's lives.

While we're at it, we're going to try to explode, once and for all, some pernicious myths about rape - about who does it, what it is, and whom it can happen to. These myths mean that many victims are denied justice: our survey confirmed that most don't report their rape or sexual assault, for fear of being disbelieved.

So the message of our campaign is in the title - we believe you. We hope MNers will get behind it, and spread that message far and wide - on Facebook, and on Twitter, using the hashtag #webelieveyou. And don't forget to let us know what you think here on this thread.

We're also giving a shout-out to Rape Crisis, the End Violence Against Women coalition, and Barnardo's - all of whom are supporting our campaign. They all work hard on sexual violence issues - either by supporting those who've experienced it, or campaigning for better prevention strategies - so do see if you can help them out.


AnyFucker Sun 11-Mar-12 23:19:53

This is great
Thank you

Tortington Sun 11-Mar-12 23:20:42


EduStudent Sun 11-Mar-12 23:22:34

Well done. I hope this gets the attention it deserves.

PattiMayor Sun 11-Mar-12 23:23:30

Good stuff

LineRunner Sun 11-Mar-12 23:24:23

I would to thank MNHQ for all the work that they have put into this, all the questions they have asked, all the listening that they have done, and for the commitments they have made to this campaign.

It means a lot.

I hope the CPS takes note. I hope people who serve on juries take note. I hope the government 'trackers' take note.

Onwards and upwards.

TBE Sun 11-Mar-12 23:28:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Darleneconnor Sun 11-Mar-12 23:54:36

I think the recent case of Christine Jordan encapsulates all the worst aspects if our current (in) justice system.

StealthPolarBear Mon 12-Mar-12 00:14:09

Fantastic name for the campaign

NarkedPuffin Mon 12-Mar-12 00:21:13


Nilgiri Mon 12-Mar-12 00:24:51

thanksthanksthanks to MN Towers, and all who sail in her.

IAmBooyhoo Mon 12-Mar-12 01:43:23

brilliant. i am so pleased this has come about. lets hope MN/we/it can do some real good in bumping up those reporting rape/sexual assault figures AND maybe/hopefully it will have an impact on conviction rates too in the long term.

thank you MNHQ

giraffesCantDonateBoneMarrow Mon 12-Mar-12 06:22:05

<like> smile

ripsishere Mon 12-Mar-12 06:25:09

Great name. Well done.

justabit Mon 12-Mar-12 06:26:55

Signed up. Spending time on Mumsnet (both relationships thread and elsewhere) over the last few years has been a shock as I have realised what some women are experiencing.

Butterflyface Mon 12-Mar-12 06:43:54

The name of the campaign has just brought tears to my eyes. Thank you.

MyBrainIsOutOfTune Mon 12-Mar-12 06:47:24

This is wonderful. Thank youthanks

msrisotto Mon 12-Mar-12 06:50:25

Thank you.

SpanglyGiraffe Mon 12-Mar-12 07:08:23

This is fabulous, thank you.

TanteRose Mon 12-Mar-12 07:22:59

Nice leader in The Independent

"Mumsnet is, therefore, to be applauded for its efforts to create a climate where victims feel they can come forward."

And main article


EauRouge Mon 12-Mar-12 07:38:15

Brava, MNHQ thanks

LeninGrad Mon 12-Mar-12 08:10:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BIWI Mon 12-Mar-12 08:12:19

This is fantastic. Good luck with it.


NormaStanleyFletcher Mon 12-Mar-12 08:12:20

Brilliant, just brilliant.

Thank you MN, and those posters (mostly from the FWR board IIRC) who suggested this and helped to get the ball rolling.


thegreylady Mon 12-Mar-12 08:35:35

Excellent campaign with a great title-much needed for so many victims.

Prolesworth Mon 12-Mar-12 08:48:22

Thank you and well done mumsnet

BOMsback Mon 12-Mar-12 08:50:42

The title is spot-on. Thank you. I think this of most problems but this is something that needs talking baout in schools so that girls and boys are growing up with the right message. Not the "how to avoid getting raped" rubbish but more the "we beleive you" stuff.

Weel done MN.

mousymouseafraidofdogs Mon 12-Mar-12 08:57:04

thank you
so sad this is needed at all, but I think it is a great campain and hope for much publicity.

Mamasunshine Mon 12-Mar-12 09:14:41

Great to see, well done!

MrsChemist Mon 12-Mar-12 09:16:58

Well done MN! thanks

dreamingbohemian Mon 12-Mar-12 09:42:46

Can I be dense and ask what the campaign actually entails?

I've seen the homepage, and obviously there is the social media element which MNers can contribute to, but is there anything else, like an ad campaign or lobbying of some sort?

I think We Believe You is great but I'm interested in how you plan to disseminate this...

Nyac Mon 12-Mar-12 09:44:52

Thank you for this Mumsnet. thanks

And thank you Lenin for the campaign strapline. It says everything that needs to be said.

Kveta Mon 12-Mar-12 09:48:12

thanks for this MN - hope you get the publicity this campaign deserves! thanks

steamedtreaclesponge Mon 12-Mar-12 09:53:40

Awesome. I am so excited about this.

jenny60 Mon 12-Mar-12 09:56:05

Brilliant and thank you to the posters in FWR who have been running this campaign unofficially for months.

GeekCool Mon 12-Mar-12 10:05:49

Another thumbs up here MNHQ! thanks

Memoo Mon 12-Mar-12 10:11:43

Thank you so much MNHQ. I think I actually love you.

SanctiMoanyArse Mon 12-Mar-12 10:19:37

Wow. What a campaign name. When I was raped age 18 I didn't bother doing anything because I thought nobody would believe me. In fact he told everyone I had let him get away with it and I was laughed at openly by people in a position to help me.

The title brought tears to me- nice ones, because I hope nobody has to go through the same thing. Time has moved on 21 years, I hope other things have too.

Well done Mumsnet, and thank you.

AnyFucker Mon 12-Mar-12 10:22:36

Sancti, that is awful shock

mypostingid Mon 12-Mar-12 10:32:37

Having going through the experience of being beaten,attacked and raped by 2 animals and having to deal with lots of different agencies just to be told that although the police put a good case together the CPS couldn't guarantee a conviction so were reluctant to take it to court as there was 2 peoples words against mine. I welcome any campaigns to raise this subject. Rape shouldnt be hidden away. The police told me less than 5% or all reported cases even make it to court!! This needs to change!

StealthPolarBear Mon 12-Mar-12 10:34:11

Do you know reading these sorts of threads on mn has horrified me, how many people have rape or abuse in their past. I honestly had no idea, am lucky enough to have no experience and I suppose I thought most people were the same apart from an unlucky minority.

JuliaScurr Mon 12-Mar-12 10:44:48

Well done! Great campaign.

Like Dreaming @ 9:42, Im wondering what the next step is

mypostingid Mon 12-Mar-12 10:46:53

I have made friends with a few people who have also been raped in my area, and we support each other. Although a small area of less than 5000 people there is 18 of us who meet/chat etc everyone of us reported it to police and not one of us managed to get a case to court!! This campaign is so needed!

metoosadly Mon 12-Mar-12 10:47:51

Just jumping on under a quick namechange to say this happened to me too. I was 19 and on a date with a guy I'd met the night before in a pub.

We went for a drive and he raped me in the back of the car.

I got in to the back of the car, I was wearing a low cut top and a push-up bra, and I'd allowed him to drive me down a dark lane next to a park at night time.

I didn't for one second imagine that anyone would believe it was rape. In fact, I thought it probably wasn't... despite the fact that it was brutal and I said "no" repeatedly. I was behaving exactly in the way I'd been brought up not to, what did I expect? (That was my thinking at the time)

I haven't told anyone about this, not even the father of my DD or my best friend.

In fact, that is not true. I told a boyfriend when I was about 21.. he broke up with me and said he couldn't look at me the same again knowing that had happened to me.

Good on you MN for bringing this in to the light.

Silverthorns Mon 12-Mar-12 10:58:54

So pleased to see this. thanks

metoosadly - so sorry that happened to you. It's not too late to report it if you want to- I've recently reported a "historical" rape and whilst it will probably go no where I feel better for having done so.

LeninGrad Mon 12-Mar-12 11:05:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NorksAreMessy Mon 12-Mar-12 11:08:01

thank you for this on behalf of my poor DD

Zhx3 Mon 12-Mar-12 11:15:05

Thank you MN.

SardineQueen Mon 12-Mar-12 11:15:38

thanks for doing this MNHQ

justalittleinsane Mon 12-Mar-12 11:21:27

While I think this is a laudable campaign - I was wondering how it ties in with other campaigns and work that has been carried out, such as the Baroness Stern Report and subsequent government response.

Her report raised significant concerns about the perpetuation of the 6% figure as perceptions around it lead to further under reporting.

Also, although this is mumsnet, and sexual violence against women is wrong, male sexual violence is also wrong.

I'd also like to see a campaign that involves challenging the ridiculous and antiquated step of referring a defendant to magistrates, simply in order for that to be referred to Crown, adding a significant length of time to a ridiculously lengthy process (average 10-12 months here), given that a plea isnt even entered in Magistrates.

We believe you is a hugely important message and anything that sends that message out to victims and to those who dont believe, can only ever be a good.

justalittleinsane Mon 12-Mar-12 11:23:22

To those who have posted their experiences, I just wanted to say, my heart goes out to you all [flowers].

EnjoyResponsibly Mon 12-Mar-12 11:34:47

The campaign is being discussed on Jeremy Vine R2 at noon.

DustyDen Mon 12-Mar-12 11:37:49

The 'We Believe You' title made me cry with relief and happiness. All I want is to be believed. Excellent, excellent choice.

happygilmore Mon 12-Mar-12 11:43:49

Well done MN, it's great to see finally the truth about sexual violence being promoted.

HelenCupCakes Mon 12-Mar-12 11:43:59

Message deleted by Mumsnet.

Nyac Mon 12-Mar-12 11:46:03

Helen have yu read the details of the survey?

Most rapes aren't even reported - rapists are getting away with it all the time.

HelenCupCakes Mon 12-Mar-12 11:47:07

Message deleted by Mumsnet.

HelenCupCakes Mon 12-Mar-12 11:47:34

Message deleted by Mumsnet.

HelenCupCakes Mon 12-Mar-12 11:48:25

Message deleted by Mumsnet.

justalittleinsane Mon 12-Mar-12 11:48:26

Helen, if lots of surveys ae exagerated, why on earth are you quoting them, and using Wikipedia, that well known factually based site, to back up your (in some places) ridiculous points.

FWIW rapists have far more rights than their victims.

sairygamp Mon 12-Mar-12 11:48:36

perhaps that's another campaign then Helen.

Darleneconnor Mon 12-Mar-12 11:48:54

I've reported that post, Helen.

Totally inappropriate.

HelenCupCakes Mon 12-Mar-12 11:50:40

When females do make false allegations and they are prosecuted they are often not even put in prison. That is outrageous since a man would get 5 years for rape. the woman should get the same punishment

StealthPolarBear Mon 12-Mar-12 11:50:50

No don't report. Thisbis what women have to deal with

bomsback Mon 12-Mar-12 11:52:06

"It is easy for a woman to imagine she has been raped" hmm

Helen, your cause and this one are two very seperate things. If you want to start a campaign about yours then please do so. Otherwise, please allow the good work of MN to go on without tangent as it has already clearly helped people on this board and will help many others.

cityhobgoblin Mon 12-Mar-12 11:53:35

Very true StealthPolarBear, unfortunately . Thank you for the campaign Mn

SanctiMoanyArse Mon 12-Mar-12 11:53:44

Men may well be falsly accused

Why does that make any difference to those of us who have been raped?

It dosn't, it a different campaign, one worth havung maybe, but in no way one that would take anything from this.

However, women who 'imagine they have been raped'- really? I doubt it. I seriously suspect a women knows, if she chooses to make up an allegation one would assume she is aware of that- either that or she has MH difficulties anyway.

There have to be wide definitions because rape is not one single scenario, but ultimately sex without permission = rape: there are no excuses, men are not stupid beings who can;t help themselves if a women ahs given off wrong signals or whatever- I have taught my boys that they should get a yes (and not one under duress either) before sex, and that any chance of alcohol or drugs or anything else impairing reasoning = an automatic presumed no.

KalSkirata Mon 12-Mar-12 11:54:49

Message deleted by Mumsnet.

Nyac Mon 12-Mar-12 11:55:06

Well here is Helen showing exactly why this survey and campaign is needed.

Women who've been raped don't report rapes becaues they know they won't be believed and it will be them who is attacked. Other victims of crime do not face this level of disbelief.

justalittleinsane Mon 12-Mar-12 11:55:07

Helen, you are aware some men are found guilty of rape and get suspended sentences, some child abusers are put away for less time than they actually abused their victims, that sentences are reduced by 50% for a guilty plea, giving a 50% reduction in time served, despite the victims have gone through years of abuse in some cases, followed by more years of living in fear and silence and then another year while the case gets to court.

You are aware that this reduction in sentencing leads to less time on the sex offenders register and that the victim can have every aspect of their lives disclosed to the defence, including medical, counselling and therapy records, while the victim doesnt even have the right to know where their attacker is living.

PattiMayor Mon 12-Mar-12 11:57:47

Please let's not make this thread all about 'Helen' as I'm sure that's exactly what they want.

jenny60 Mon 12-Mar-12 11:58:51

metoo sad

NarkedPuffin Mon 12-Mar-12 11:59:01

We believe you.

HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 12-Mar-12 12:00:01

Morning all. Just thought we'd make it clear that, while we're happy to see debate about our campaign - both positive and negative – we will delete posts that propagate the unpleasant rape myths we're specifically campaigning against.

NarkedPuffin Mon 12-Mar-12 12:01:40

MN believe you

handbagCrab Mon 12-Mar-12 12:02:33

thanks smile

PattiMayor Mon 12-Mar-12 12:05:11

Good work HelenMN smile

ThisIsExtremelyVeryNotGood Mon 12-Mar-12 12:05:37

Great campaign MN, thank you. HelenCC shows just why it is needed.

ArtexMonkey Mon 12-Mar-12 12:06:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Devora Mon 12-Mar-12 12:07:34

Great stuff, well done MN.

PrettyPollytheParrot Mon 12-Mar-12 12:08:56

Excellent news, right behind you!

ArtexMonkey Mon 12-Mar-12 12:10:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

hihosilver Mon 12-Mar-12 12:12:38

The trouble with getting justice for rape victims is that it is not just a case of the jury weighing up who they believe.They have to think that he is guilty beyongd all reasonable doubt.Given there is very often no witnesses present this is a very very difficult thing to do.
in the new rape awareness ad the girl is kissing the boy goes up to the bedroom with him. she haas no bumps or bruises and althouigh we have seen she was raped, how is a jury going to know BEYOND ALL REASONABLE DOUBT.
So whilst all the 'we believe you' campaign might be very nice and reassuring for the victim.I am not sure it really helps her in the lomg run what would be the point of that girl coming forward being cross examined, having her story crawled over , pulled to bits trying to trip her up (all of which of course are very necessary to ensure justice is done).She would have to relive it again and again and in the end it will very likely be a case of his word against hers which will never be enough for a conviction.

KalSkirata Mon 12-Mar-12 12:14:41

why was I deleted?

Nyac Mon 12-Mar-12 12:14:52

Generally there is a lot more evidence than his word against hers. That's another myth about rape.

NarkedPuffin Mon 12-Mar-12 12:16:50

it will very likely be a case of his word against hers which will never be enough for a conviction.

Rape myth.

Nyac Mon 12-Mar-12 12:19:03

Also "her word" is witness evidence which is in fact enough to secure a conviction in a court of law. It's the reason why the defense attacks victims because they want to make them seem like unreliable witnesses.

justalittleinsane Mon 12-Mar-12 12:19:45

A huge problem is understaffing of the Criminal Justice System, there are all these guidelines published on the internet, but not enough staff to even come close to them.

The government (current and previous) have all these marvellous ideas, but there are little resources to put them in place.

And while this long winded process takes place, the victim is told, not to post on forums for support, not to text, that they must be careful what they say and who they talk to for fear of damaging their case.

Family members arent even suppose to talk to each other. This creates more fear for the victim while allowing the rapist to walk free, the victim (and family) live a life of fear, while the rapist isnt even obliged to tell those he is living, or his employer, he is charged with rape.

The system as it stands, is an agonising, long winded process or lurching from one date, to the next, to the next, to the next.

TunipTheVegemal Mon 12-Mar-12 12:23:36

Thank you very much for the campaign, MNHQ, and for HelenMumsnet's post just then.

messyisthenewtidy Mon 12-Mar-12 12:26:31

Ditto on the thanks! This is a great campaign.

Mouseface Mon 12-Mar-12 12:30:19


I am 'Mary' the case study in the Independent. I have been in contact with Nina, who wrote the article, and KaiteMNHQ all weekend.

To read my experience in black and white this morning made my stomach churn. But it needed to be shared. There is a lot more that they didn't print and I guess I'm pleased that it was direct and to the point.

I have seen in the last few years on here, that I am not alone, reading posts from those who have been raped, abused for years on end and told that they are worthless, dirty and shameful brings home the very real and raw hard hitting truth that not enough rapes are reported. Maybe for the simple reason that we are told, as a society, that we will not be believed when we do report.

The accounts we read in the press tell us that it's usually a waste of time to report a rape or abusive attack. The Powers That Be are keen to pull a victim apart and scrutinise every single detail but by doing so, place doubt into both the jurors and the victim.

People think that rape only happens to women down dark alleys, alone and in the dark of night or in the middle of nowhere in broad day light.

I was raped and abused by my partner. For years. I didn't tell a soul because of his threats and his promises to change. Eight years on, I am only just coming to terms with what really happened to me, which is why I agreed to be the Case Study for the Independent.

No-one should have to live with the silent fear of rape and abuse. It is time to let that little, tiny voice shout loud and clear. We (the female race) are not 'fair game' should we choose to go out at night alone, or wear a short skirt, low cut blouse, high heels, we're not 'asking for it'.

After all, isn't it the case that most rapes are by people we know? We know our attackers. We live with them. We're married to them. They are part of our family.

The more we keep quiet, the more our rapists will walk away. I know that they actual conviction rates are poor to say the least but surely, the more we report, the more we challenge, the more courts and jury's have to listen?

StealthPolarBear Mon 12-Mar-12 12:34:27

Good for you Mary. I'm afraid I haven't read the article but sorry you went through that. Glad you see it for what it was.

Darleneconnor Mon 12-Mar-12 12:40:07

Men don't 'get 5 years for rape'.

I don't have stats for % of convictions for false allegations which receive a custodial sentence but the only ones I've heard of have been imprisoned- and worse ie had children permanently removed.

Also as bad as false allegations are it is a crime of dishonesty not a crime of violence. IMO violent crimes should have harsher sentences.

Mouseface Mon 12-Mar-12 12:40:49

Here you go *Stealth*

justalittleinsane Mon 12-Mar-12 12:42:45


independant with Marys story

There are 2 articles.

Mary - thank you for sharing your story, Im so glad to read you are now happily married and so sorry to read the terrible things you experienced.

I have linked for anyone who is interested but if you'd prefer the links not to be here please report them and ask HQ to remove.

runningforthebusinheels Mon 12-Mar-12 12:49:28

MN I am completely bowled over with what you have done in this campaign - thank you so so much.

Reading the rape myths being challenged, here in black and white, has brought tears to my eyes because I am so used to seeing these rape myths perpetuated everywhere else. (Oh, and welcome to those who have done just that already on this thread hmm Shame on you for that)

Thank you MN. [flowers]

Mary, thanks you for sharing your harrowing story too. [flowers]

SardineQueen Mon 12-Mar-12 12:49:35

Thank you Mary for sharing your story and the other women on this thread who have done so.

I totally agree that talking about this, bringing it into the open, is the way forward. Most women never tell and so as far as people at large are concerned it's not happening.

Mouseface Mon 12-Mar-12 12:50:40

Just - not at all, I am happy for the links to be there. I am also happy to PM anyone with the full story if they want it. smile

AnyFucker Mon 12-Mar-12 12:54:04

Mary, thank you for doing what you did with your case study. I am just so sad you had to go through it in the first place.

georgedawes Mon 12-Mar-12 12:57:36

Name changer here too.

My sister was "date raped" (awful, awful term). She reported it to the police and was one of the few cases where it went to court, but of course he was found not guilty (we now know that only 5% of men accused at court are actually found guilty) despite there being medical and other evidence to support what really happened. The defendant (sorry, the RAPIST) had 18 months to come up with a defence that was just laughable and find a medical doctor prepared to offer some reasonable doubt. My sister had no idea what was happening and never met the prosecution barrister until she gave evidence (as victims are just treated as witnesses).

The jury never knew that the two women in the public gallery were from Rape Crisis, they can't be told that in case it prejudices the outcome. She only reported it to try to stop it happening to someone else, but frankly, she was raped again in court, and this time in public. The rapist was also given a clear indication that this society tolerates despicable violence against women.

He was so confident, no doubt on the advice of his solicitor, that he would walk free. He did, and did not have one family or friend with him, and no doubt he lives his live, happy to attack once more, if indeed he hasn't already.

I hate to say this, but the truth is - if you are attacked by someone you know (and most people are) then it is not worth reporting it to the police. 95% of cases that go to court will end in a not guilty verdict. In some forces, it is an even lower figure. This doesn't even cover the fact that the CPS will now only take cases to court where they think they have a realistic chance of conviction, most never get that far due to 'lack of evidence'. All the legal system does is harm women more.

So sorry for all that have shared their experiences here.

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