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Rape Crisis welcomes new report into sexist and victim-blaming attitudes

20 Jan 2017

Rape Crisis welcomes today's important report from the Fawcett Society, Sounds Familiar, even though its findings are disturbing. Sadly, it confirms what we within the Rape Crisis movement already know; that ill-informed, victim-blaming attitudes towards women and girls who've experienced sexual violence persist, even 12 years after Amnesty International UK published similar research. The vast majority of sexual violence victims and survivors still choose not to report to the police and a great many confide in no-one straight after the event. If we are ever to see more victims and survivors receiving access both to criminal and to social justice, in the form of the specialist services they need and want, we must win the war against victim-blaming and sexism.

 There is no provocation for rape or sexual assault. As with any crime, sole responsibility for an act of sexual violence lies with its perpetrator(s). No matter what someone was wearing, doing, saying, or what they'd consumed, no victim or survivor is ever to blame for sexual violence against themselves, even a little bit. Findings like the ones released today are a reminder of the ongoing vital importance of the awareness-raising, educational and prevention work Rape Crisis Centres do, and of the urgent need to sustainably fund it. They make the case strongly for compulsory sex and relationships in all schools, so long resisted by government and parliament. And they support the asks of campaigns like JURIES, co-founded by the late Jill Saward and calling for specialist briefings for jurors in rape and other sexual offence trials. Today's findings do indeed 'sound familiar' to us; in another decade's time, may the attitudes they reflect be extinct.