It’s not always PTSD, sometimes you are just sad

This is just a quick post, but one that I was reminded of today. We very rarely talk about being sad; these days it is okay to be depressed, or anxious but rarely do we accept that sometimes we can just be sad.

It is important when talking to those who have been raped to realise this. It isn’t always about the rape, it may be, but also it could be something quite different. It could be that something else has had an impact on someone. So you should never make the assumption. Ask the questions, give space, give a hug (if required) but don’t always put it down to PTSD

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The Survey and its Results

121 people undertook the survey, however the survey site only enabled the results of 100 to be visible, (without a large investment), but the trends were becoming apparent.

1. How many women get raped each year in England and Wales?

The answers ranged from 0 – 800,000.

In figures released by the Home Office in November 2014 the amount of rapes reported to the police was 22,116, however, it is generally believed  and accepted that due to the lack of reporting that the actual number of rapes of women each year is around 85,000.

2. How many men get raped each year in England & Wales?

The answers here ranged from 5 – 5 million

The Home Office Report above stated that the figure was around 12,000.

3. What do you think rape is?:

Sexual assault by a stranger 32%, Sexual assault by someone who is known 32%, an assault that can be committed orally, vaginally, or anally 88%, other 17%.  (Some people gave more than one answer).

Rape is penetration by penis, other part of the body  or object when it is vaginal, or anal.

4. Would you believe a victim who was drunk? (whilst not being particularly clear about what I was asking; most people understood it to mean, if a victim was drunk at the time of the rape, would their evidence be believed).

75 people would believe; 9 wouldn’t; 10 said maybe and 1 refused to answer.

There is no reason why a victim who was drunk, would not tell the truth, any more than anyone who was sober. Many victims are plied with alcohol, or drugs by rapists, in an effort to make them less credible as witnesses.  This shows planning and forethought on behalf of the rapist.  Rapists may well single someone out who appears to be drunk, especially if they can break them away from a group, again because they feel that a jury will be less likely to believe the victim.

5. Would you believe an offender who was drunk?  (Again this was misunderstood by some, and I was challenged by someone who said this should say alleged offender – but that presupposes that victim’s have only been raped when someone is found guilty, but I accept it could have been more clearly stated).

22 people said they would believe an offender; 34 said they wouldn’t; 27 said they might and 9 others were unclear what was being asked, or felt that drunk or sober a rapist would lie.

6. What makes someone most likely to be raped?

Being in a relationship 15; being drunk, wearing inappropriate clothing, being young 4; being out alone at night 11; other 65

The current stat for those being raped by a partner or previous partner is 56%.  Some of the old myths remain as shown by the other stats.  The “other” most people stated was being female. Most rapes happen in the home, so that debunks being out alone.

7. What would make you think someone was a rapist?

83 people said you couldn’t tell; 10 people said “other” and 1 said the class someone was.

Rapists come from all classes, races and backgrounds. You cannot tell what a rapist looks like. Rapists are also not the strangers that some people believe them to be, but are often family members or close family friends or partners.

8. How drunk would someone need to be to not be able to consent? This was the most contentious question, it was also the one that had the least answers.

1-3 drinks 41; over the drink drive limit 37; totally legless 49 (some people gave more than one answer) one person believed that even if the victim was totally legless they were still able to consent.

There is no specific limit to the amount of alcohol that someone can have before they become unable to consent. Weight, timing of last meal, metabolic rate, drugs, being used to alcohol, and many other factors may all have an influence on someone’s ability to be aware of consent, or to make an informed choice to consent.

9. How long after rape is too long after to report?

A week – one month 4; one month – 5 years 2; over 5 years 3; Never 82

There is no legal limit on how long after you can report rape. There may be issues of a lack of forensic evidence the longer the crime takes to report, and therefore it may be harder to gain a conviction.

10. Do you feel you understand about rape?

Yes 56; No 14, a bit 10, & 2 didn’t like the question. The others didn’t answer.

Of those who did answer yes, some of their answers implied that they understood less than they thought.

 

This survey echoes many larger surveys,  that highlight that the understanding of rape is still very poor.  This needs to change.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Survey – Comments

Thank you to everyone who has done the quick survey, that I asked about yesterday.

I will post the results on here, at a later date. All data is anonymous and I don’t know how anyone responded.

This survey was not meant to be an academic or detailed research, but a snatch of people’s views about rape. It was meant to touch on some of the myths that people tend to believe, to see how accurate these were.

I am sorry if a few people were offended by the wording or didn’t understand what I was asking. Thank you to the majority who answered, without being critical.

Getting any responses about rape is incredibly difficult. For a whole host of reasons people will not talk about it, other than in a very generalised way.

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Can you help with a quick survey?

I am conducting a brief survey to look at people’s views and understanding of rape and sexual violence. Could you help? https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/55KJN8M

 

 

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The Mob

This is the name that has been given recently to those making a stand against a rapist – who not only is totally unrepentant; but has set out to make his crime cause as much offence and undermine his victim at every turn. His arrogance towards the judge, the jury and the law seems to know no bounds. His supporters have named and given the location of his victim, They have insulted, threatened, stalked and now bought a way into a job for him.

But those who make a moral stand, sign petitions. call for public accountability are the mob!

Ched has now made an apology of sorts, not for raping, which he still doesn’t seem to understand, but for upset caused by the fallout.  Quite clearly written by his legal team, it is hard to believe any of the comments are that genuine.  Thankfully he has condoned the threats made, and so now the story shifts to one threat made by someone, totally unknown towards the daughter of one of the staff.  Apparently the police have contacted the club and no complaints have yet been made to them, so it gives more credence to those condemning the mob!  Over 60,000 have signed the petition this time and others spoken out against supporting sex offenders.  Yet one complaint makes us the mob.  So much fr morality.

I know that words change their definitions with the passage of time, but this is farcical.

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Is All Publicity Good Publicity? It would seem not – Thankfully

Today we hear that the likelihood of a rapist being employed in a high profile role is almost a certainty. Oldham Athletic have apparently followed the money. But what price are they really paying?

What price do you put on the support of those who have attended your club for years, kept you going and now, will walk away, ashamed that their club has been tarnished in such a way. Will the Massey money that was offered for 6 months or so, to apparently buy a place on the team be worth it?

When the sponsors leave, and the fans turn their backs, and the Massey money has gone, who will be left? Will the publicity have been worth it?

No, the damage has been done. And football fans have long memories when it comes to betrayal. When you walk away, it is for good.

Today the sponsors, tomorrow the fans, what is there left for the future?

The team will be vilified, Oldham may well have to play without fans, as the abuse and fighting has already been seen at Sheffield United, and that was with only rumour that he might be there. This will intensify if and when he is appointed.

And what if the staff don’t want to work in such a setting? Or opposition teams & staff don’t want Oldham at their grounds?

Football is a family game, watched and supported by generations together, and subsequently, this is something that Oldham should think very carefully about before they take this step.

Sometimes, and on this occasion, a short term greed, and desire for publicity may be the first or final nails in the coffin.

 

Update:

It appears that Oldham have bowed to whatever, and walked away from the deal.  Whilst it would be great that they took the moral stance, it may have been down to legal/safety issues that caused the change of heart.  Whatever it is, I hope that for the victim’s benefit, that this is the end to it.

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Great News for Men

The Government recently announced that it was providing more money for male victims of rape and abuse. This is great news for male victims. But it is still not enough. The centres are quite widespread, but it is a long way off if you don’t live close enough. A few women’s centres also got some funding, but most are still fighting for their survival. Almost every Rape Crisis group is currently fundraising to try and sustain their services.

Many DV centres have also been fighting funding cuts. This is totally unacceptable. The numbers of people needing support keeps rising, yet support is always a struggle, wasting time and energy that should be spent supporting victims.

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Donkeys

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Donkeys – it is nearly Christmas and a time when the donkey plays a part. As a nation we love donkeys. We give thousands of pounds a year to support donkeys at home and abroad. We also like visiting donkey sanctuaries. And whilst donkeys are nice, we treat them with more care and respect than many  rape victims.

Having been tweeting for days asking for support for a petition, the moment I put a donkey picture up the retweets started (in more than just the feminist sector).

How sad that we care more about donkeys, than we do about rape victims?

We have known in the SV (sexual violence world) that this was true for a long time. We need to care for victims – just as much as donkeys, if not more so. But at the moment victims are way down the list.

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Pineapples

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Many people believe that pineapples grow on trees.  They believe this because at some point they have either assumed it or someone told them so.  They have probably accepted it as fact for many years and never bothered to do any research about it, because if they had, one thing would be very clear.  Pineapples don’t grow on trees, they grow on the ground, or on bushes.  Google “do pineapples grow on trees?” – you won’t be alone.

But why are pineapples relevant?  There is a very simple reason, the pineapple can be an analogy of rape.

Many people think that they know about rape – where it happens, who it happens to, and why it happens.  They think they know the frequency, the levels of violence and the levels and consequences of trauma.  But have they done the research, or are they just assuming?

Whilst the growing habits of pineapples doesn’t really have an impact on most of us, the lack of knowledge of rape can be devastating.  It leads to blame, it leads to guilt, it leads to lack of care, lack of convictions and often more crime.

Learn about the pineapple if you like, but first learn about rape.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Perfect Victims?

There seems to be a growing trend of slighting what some view as the “perfect victim”.  This is particularly nasty as it often comes from other victims and campaigners.

No one asks to the  victim of rape or sexual violence!

But playing victims off against each other helps no-one, but the rapists.  Men, women and children are raped; some by people they know, some by people that they have had previous relationships with; some by strangers; some by soldiers; some by trusted relatives; some by officials – but all have one thing in common – they are all violated, and they all have to cope with how that feels.

In the UK it is estimated that about 10% – 12% are raped by strangers and 88% – 90% are raped by known offenders.  It is also accepted that many people will not report the rape that happens to them, so the actual figures will never be fully known.  However, the assumption is that these figures would reflect the unreported cases too.

There are many myths that everyone needs to understand are myths.  One of these is about the “perfect victim”.  There is no such thing as a perfect victim, no one should be a victim.  There are victims for whom it may be easier to secure a prosecution, but even then that is not always a given.  No victim can ever be given a water tight guarantee that their rapist will be found guilty.  And giving evidence and going through the criminal justice process is not an easy process or experience.  There will always be people who doubt victims.

There may be more doubt about some cases  (in some people’s eyes) but that is not any victim’s fault. The fault lies with those who categorise who is deserving of rape and who isn’t.  But, no one deserves to be raped.  Making any definition, can also foster and promote the myth.

Rape is vile, Rape is evil, and we need to move away from blaming any victim for rape.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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