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Is This Rape?

3 Nov 2015

Last night (2nd November 2015), BBC Three aired its programme Is This Rape? exploring what teenagers, and the general public, do and don't know about consent in relation to sex.

The programme was powerful viewing and has sparked interest and debate among the media and online.

Katie Russell, on behalf of Rape Crisis England & Wales, said:  

“Rape Crisis welcomes any attempts to improve understanding of the crucial issue of sexual consent among young people, and indeed people of all ages. 

Myths, stereotypes and misinformation around the differences between consensual sexual activity and sexual violence are damaging and contribute to an environment in which the majority of those who've experienced rape and other sexual offences don't seek or receive the support and justice they want and deserve.

The drama presented to the participants in last night’s programme was realistic and clearly very carefully developed.

It also seemed that many of the young people who took part gained important knowledge and insight through their involvement.

It’s positive that BBC Three was ultimately very clear about what the legal definition of rape is and that the character in the scenario used was guilty of rape. 

Undeniably though, more could have been done to address and challenge the common myths that some of the participants voiced, and to focus on the impact of sexual violence on survivors, so that participants and viewers were left with real clarity; for example, rape is not a ‘misunderstanding’ and false allegations of rape are not just ‘not that common’ but are in fact very rare.

Rape Crisis continues to welcome the BBC and other broadcasters and journalists to work with us to raise awareness and understanding of consent and of rape and sexual violence.”

Rape Crisis and many of its member organisations across England and Wales offer specialist training to schools and other agencies aimed at preventing sexual violence and promoting the needs and rights of sexual violence survivors.

Jayne Bullough, Training Co-ordinator at Rape Crisis South London, appeared on BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour this morning to discuss the programme with its Executive Producer:

Rape Crisis England & Wales published this brief guide to consent in The Independent: