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London Prosecutor talks about the impact of rape myths

30 Jan 2012

Enduring myths about rape victims lead to acquittals says London Chief Prosecutor

Rape Crisis (England and Wales) welcomes the comments of Alison Saunders (Head of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in London).  She has today publicly acknowledged the issues that Rape Crisis has known and raised for decades i.e. that prevalent myths about rape distort the reality and affect jurors' decision-making in cases involving sexual violence.  

Rape Crisis also supports Ms Saunders assertion that the widespread vilification of women and girls in the media must be addressed if more of the 90% of those who are raped and never report to the police are to be encouraged to come forward and seek criminal justice. 

The impact of the media reporting of sexual violence and other forms of violence against women was raised at the last week by the End Violence Against Women Coalition (EVAW) who gave oral evidence to the Leveson Inquiry about the media's biased and prejudicial treatment of women.

EVAW called for strong recommendations by Lord Leveson on the way the media portrays women and reports on violence against women. The cumulative effect this has is to reinforce myths and victim-blaming attitudes that are commonly held and put many women off reporting if they are a victim of violence.  

Rape Crisis calls for long term public awareness-raising and education about sexual violence to challenge the myths surrounding the issue before members of the public are called for jury service.   Rape Crisis will continue to raise awareness of the prevalence of sexual violence against women and girls and give those who request it,the support they need to navigate the criminal justice system. 

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