Yesterday I went to speak on This Morning about the need for the anonymity rules to remain as they are, following on from Cliff Richard’s campaign.

The comments that followed on from the programme highlighted just how much people feel for the “poor men” who may have been accused.  There seemed to be a mistaken view that false or malicious allegations are rife and that regretted or drunken sex is the only reason that people allege rape.

There seemed absolutely no understanding that the majority of rape victims have been raped. It is quite clear that people do not understand rape or the consequences of rape. So #Rapeis, on Twitter, followed by different feelings, reactions and consequences came about.

We got to number 5 in the trending, and as one (I assume man) said after posting a stupid comment “I was just making a dumb joke”. I hope that by being challenged to read the thread that the word “dumb” was a realisation of how inappropriate his comments were.

Changing people’s perceptions  and understanding of rape and the consequences it has will take a long time, but if we don’t try to make that change more people will suffer.

It is time to stand up and support the thousands of people raped each year, take them and their concerns seriously.




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Slightly amended Letter to the Lords

I am contacting you to express my concern about the forthcoming session that Cliff Richard (and others) are due to have with the House of Lords with regard to Anonymity for those being questioned in relation to sexual violence.


I have campaigned around many areas of sexual violence since becoming a victim of rape, buggery and sexual assault in 1986. As you are no doubt aware the law of anonymity was different then, with anonymity being given to the offender as well as the victim. In those days I was forbidden from knowing the name of my rapist until the morning that the trial began. This was a horrendous position to be in, and whilst at that time I when I was supposed to be preparing to give evidence, instead I had to come to terms with suddenly learning his name.  This was very unsettling, and yet the need to know his name was a very important factor. He did not become a real person without a name.  His name did become known locally by some people and there were 5 or 6 other girls who went forward to the police; but with a lack of DNA evidence there was insufficient evidence to carry any of those cases forward.  But there may have been more victims, who didn’t feel supported enough to make reports.    


Whilst I understand Cliff and others views, I feel it essential for the law to remain in place as it is. The way that Cliff’s case was handled was (without a doubt) horrendous. But this approach is not common place and despite a rise in celebrity cases hitting the headlines, the numbers compared to the numbers of victims, is very, very small.


I am aware of the physical and emotional cost to those who have been falsely accused of sexual violence.  I have been supporting a friend for over twenty years, who had a nervous breakdown a few years ago, as a result of false claims. I was also publically named on twitter, by a relative of a man who had recently been cleared; as someone she “had a hunch was a child rapist”. With the phrase, “I’ll just bandy your name around then check later, that’s okay with you right?”.*  I know that even as an act of total spite; the hideous feelings that can lead to.  Even when you as the accused has nothing to be ashamed of. However, that cannot prevent the ability to identify those accused of such crimes. Malicious allegations lead to a  different type of victim.  * That malicious incident was dealt with by the police.


I am also aware of the suicidal feelings that some of those maliciously accused have.  But I am also aware of the cost in terms of suicide of those who have been victims. There are many people whose  history of abuse is not widely known and suicide is their only way out, and their offenders will never face trial.  


Social media also creates a very difficult platform to control, when any questioning happens. Anonymity cannot be guaranteed and is currently being flouted to name and often harass victims, and often this is done by people operating outside the UK.  So keeping someone’s name out of the media becomes almost impossible. A private message to someone outside the UK gets names out there of accused or victim.


Every year between 75,000 – 96,000 people are victims of rape or sexual abuse in the UK. a small number of those who commit the crimes will be in positions of authority; or have some kind of celebrity status.  For victims, bringing a case forward is incredibly difficult.  They may or may not have support from Independent Sexual Advisors or other groups. But they may also have to contend with the lies that a well loved or respected  person puts forward. No one wants to be labelled as a” sex offender”; but by providing anonymity until “charge” protects the guilty and potentially creates more victims. It also raises the question of open justice – if an offender may have committed more than one crime, it then become very difficult to specify what is being reported and what isn’t, making justice a mess.


The approximate cost to the country of each victim currently stands at about £150,000. It can affect the victim’s ability to work; and there is a growing body of evidence that suggests the long term physical health of victims is also adversely affected. When you consider that many victim are under 25 when the offences occur that is a colossal cost to the nation in monetary terms to say nothing of the underlying effects of trauma.  


Please encourage your fellow members to consider that those who are asking for the law to change, to consider and reconsider the victims, who often don’t have a high public profile or a voice to challenge. It is imperative that those who are offending are brought to justice. That where there is an allegation that the potential offenders are named, to protect the public and then a proper case is brought forward and charges laid if appropriate.  We cannot go back to the 1980’s, or a mish mash of justice where some crimes can be revealed and others not.

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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.



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 – 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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