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We Believe You: Mumsnet rape and sexual assault survey results

We asked Mumsnetters to complete a survey telling us about their experiences of rape and sexual assault - and the response was overwhelming. Over 1,600 Mumsnetters told us about their experiences, making this one of the biggest surveys so far undertaken into this issue.

By Mumsnet HQ | Last updated Jun 30, 2021

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The results are deeply disturbing, and reflect what Mumsnetters already knew. Rape and sexual assault are far more common than the world at large wants to admit, and the vast majority of rapes and sexual assaults are never even reported.  

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The survey (completed by over 1,600 women) shows that, of respondents:

  • One in 10 (10%) had been raped
  • Over one-third (35%) had been sexually assaulted
  • 17% had been raped and sexually assaulted
  • Meaning in total, 27% of respondents had been raped, and 52% had been been sexually assaulted.
  • One in four (23%) of those who had been raped or sexually assaulted had experienced this four or more times
  • In two-thirds (66%) of cases the women knew the person responsible

Many women felt unable to report rape or sexual assault:

  • Over four-fifths (83%) of respondents who had been raped or sexually assaulted did not make a report to the police
  • Over one-quarter (29%) didn't tell anyone at all, including friends or family, about the assault/rape
  • Over two-thirds (68%) said they would hesitate reporting to the police due to low conviction rates
  • And over half (53%) would not report due to embarrassment or shame  

The results also reveal that most women feel that rape victims are treated poorly:

  • Nearly three-quarters (70%) of respondents feel the media is unsympathetic to women who report rape
  • Over half (53%) feel the legal system is unsympathetic
  • And over half (55%) feel society at large is unsympathetic

Thank you to everyone who took part and shared their experiences. Tweet about us with the hashtag #webelieveyou  or share your experiences #ididnotreport

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Mumsnet Rape and Sexual Assault Survey (21 Feb - 6 March 2012) 1609 respondents. The data is not weighted.