So, for those of you who read my blog just for the craft you might want to skip this post. This is where I get a bit serious, but I am not going to apologise because this is important to me, and what is the point in having people’s ears (or eyes) and not using it for good.
1 in 4 women have experienced rape or attempted rape. How many women are in your house? How many female friends and family do you have? Think about that statistic 1 in 4 women have experienced rape or attempted rape.
So, there are so many issues that I could tell you about rape, about how in no other crime is the victim grilled about what they were wearing during the crime, what their sexual predilections are. I could remind you that last year the Coalition started talking about anonymity for men accused of rape, when there is no evidence that false allegations of rape are higher than for any other crime. But for those of you who are concerned for those men at the mercy of all these women out there they have The False Rape Society advising them how to avoid being falsely accused of rape, including avoiding sex with young girls who may want to hide it from their parents, group sex with just one woman several men and sex with a woman who has a husband or boyfriend. Now, I’d like to reiterate those warnings to men, but not because you may get accused of rape, but because they are morally repugnant.
But I am going to skate over those issues, serious as they are. I am joining Mumsnet’s “We believe you campaign” to try and bust some common rape myths some of which I have copied here:
MYTH: Women provoke rape by their appearance or their behaviour
REALITY: Dressing attractively, or flirting, is never an invitation to rape. Rape is not a ‘crime of passion’ – it is an expression of power and control.
No woman ‘asks to be raped’ or ‘deserves what she gets’ – only the rapist is responsible for the rape. Rape happens to all types of women, from the very young to the very old – physical appearance is irrelevant.
There is no ‘typical rape victim’. There is only one common factor in all rapes, and that is the rapist. So when someone says to you “You’re not going out dressed like that” it should be because they have toilet roll stuck to the bottom of their shoe, or are wearing a Jedward t-shirt.
MYTH: Women are most likely to be raped by a stranger, outside, in dark alleyways
REALITY: More than 80% of women who are raped know their attacker; 53% of perpetrators of serious sexual assaults are current partners or ex-partners.
In fact, over two-thirds of rapes take place in the victim’s home, the suspect’s home or the victim/suspect’s shared home. This myth can mean that women who are raped in these circumstances don’t identify their experience as rape, and therefore don’t report it.
It also puts blames the victim, and limits women’s freedom of movement by implying that rape can be prevented by avoiding certain places.
The exemption for rape in marriage was only abolished in England and Wales in 1991. Until then being married held an ‘implied consent’ to sex. This isn’t meant to scaremonger people to be be afraid of their friends and family. It is meant to stop women having to be afraid of every stranger they pass in the stress.
Now, I am lucky enough to have never been the victim of rape or any kind of physical sexual assault, but I know people who have, and I am the mother of daughters so I want to show my support to this campaign and get people thinking a bit more about the facts and realities surrounding this awful crime.
I want you to know, I Believe You.