Welsh Women’s Aid
WOMEN’S CHARITIES WELCOME NEW CAMPAIGN CHALLENGING ATTITUDES TO RAPE
Welsh Women’s Aid and other charities working to end violence against women welcome the launch today (17th Dec) of a new Assembly Government campaign aimed at ‘challenging a culture of victim blame’ around rape and sexual assault.
The Stop Blame campaign, launched by Social Justice Minister Carl Sargeant AM, aims to dispel the myth that victims of rape or sexual assault are in any way responsible for the heinous crimes that they suffer. It challenges prevalent myths about rape and negative attitudes towards women, including that a woman can be “asking for it” or responsible for being raped if she had been drinking, wearing revealing clothing, or acting flirtatiously. The campaign consists of radio adverts, outdoor posters and online advertising.
Paula Hardy, Chief Executive of Welsh Women’s Aid, said:
“Welsh Women’s Aid (1) and the Wales Violence Against Women Action Group (2) have been working closely with the Assembly Government in the development of the campaign. Its launch comes at an opportune time – yesterday, the Director of Public Prosecutions launched new guidance for prosecutors and stated that rape ‘myths and stereotypes have no place in a criminal justice system underpinned by basic human rights’ (3). This campaign proactively challenges such myths, and we hope this will lead to greater justice and support for survivors of rape and sexual assault.
A woman is never responsible for being raped or sexually assaulted, but a culture of victim-blaming is still prevalent
within our society (4) – including with jurors, as noted by the DPP yesterday. If we want to break the cycle that ends up in a third of women being raped or sexually assaulted at some point during their lives (5), it is vital that we challenge these damaging attitudes, support victims to rebuild their lives, and place blame firmly back where it belongs – with the perpetrator.”
For more on the campaign, visit Stop Blame
NOTES TO EDITORS
1. Welsh Women’s Aid is the national umbrella organisation for Women’s Aid groups across Wales.
Contact Paula Hardy (Chief Executive) on 02920 390874 / 07766524489, or Hannah Austin (Policy Officer & Coordinator of Wales Violence Against Women Action Group) on 07854 815203. WWA manages the 24-hour, freephone Wales Domestic Abuse Helpline – 0808 80 10 800.
2. The Wales Violence Against Women Action Group is a coalition of charities working to end violence against women in Wales. Members include Welsh Women’s Aid, Amnesty International, Survivors Trust, BAWSO, Relate Cymru, National Federation of Women’s Institutes, NUS Wales Women’s Committee and Rape Crisis (England and Wales).
3. Keir Starmer, Director of Public Prosecutions, BBC News website, ‘Prosecutor “care” urged over retracted rape claim’ (16 December 2010), quoting the following statistics relating to the myth that false allegations are commonplace:
• About 110 retractions were considered for prosecution each year in England and Wales – out of a total of almost
4,000 rape cases.
• Last year, 68 of those went to trial. In 61 the prosecution was successful and in 7 it failed.
4. Statistics on attitudes towards women who have experienced rape or sexual assault (Amnesty International and
NUS Wales 2008 survey of 733 students in 12 higher education campuses across Wales):
• 34% thought that a woman is responsible for being raped or sexually assaulted if she is drunk (39% of males thought this, compared to 30% of females)
• 36% of students (41% males and 34% females) thought that a woman is responsible for being raped or sexually
assaulted if she has acted in a flirtatious manner
• 23% thought that a woman is responsible for being raped or sexually assaulted if she is wearing sexy or revealing
clothes (30% of males and 17% of females)
• 28% thought that a woman is responsible for being raped or sexually assaulted if she is alone and walking in a
deserted area (30% of males and 26% females)
5. Statistics on prevalence of rape and sexual assault (End Violence Against Women Coalition, 2010 – from a Yougov poll into sexual assault and harassment in schools. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all 16—18 year olds in the UK)Headline stats include:
• 1 in 3 girls say they’ve experienced unwanted sexual touching in school;
• 71% experience daily or weekly sexual harassment in school.
Statistics on men’s views on what constitutes rape (The Havens Sexual Assault Referral Centre, “Wake Up to Rape”, 2010):
• half of young men think sex with a woman too drunk to know what is going on is not rape;
• 46% of men aged 18—25 do not consider it rape if a woman changes her mind during sex;
• even if a woman says “no” right from the start, 23% of young men still believe sex after that point does not
• in total, nearly 1 in 4 men aged 18—25 do not consider sex with a woman who doesn’t consent to be rape.
Statistics on relationship between rapist and victim (British Crime Survey 2010):
• Female victims of sexual assault know their assailant in 89% of cases.
• 54% of female victims reported that the offender was a partner or ex-partner,
• 40% that it was someone else known to them – e.g. friend / colleague / date.