Rape Crisis Scotland have launched a hard-hitting new TV advertising campaign aimed at tackling the age-old rape myth that women who dress in a certain way are “asking for it.”

*Unfortunately, like Cara at The Curvature, I haven’t managed to find a way to embed the video here (pssst, RC Scotland – any chance of putting it up on YouTube so us bloggers can put it on our sites?), but you can view it at the Not Ever website – here, or on the Not Ever Facebook page – here.

You can also follow Not Ever on Twitter by clicking here

And read some of the media coverage of the campaign here, here, here and here.

Rape Crisis Scotland were of course also responsible for the superb This is Not an Invitation to Rape Me campaign, which I wrote about for CiF a couple of years ago. Great to see them keeping up their fantastic work.

South of the border meanwhile, Rape Crisis (England and Wales) are asking people to take action to help ensure that the new coalition government stands by its stated commitment to providing long-term sustainable funding for Rape Crisis services:

From the Facebook page:

Take action for Rape Crisis in England and Wales

Over the last decade, Rape Crisis (England and Wales) has been actively working to:
• Ensure that no more Rape Crisis centres are forced to close or reduce services
• Develop new Rape Crisis services
• Establish new Rape Crisis centres
• End sexual violence against women and girls
• Give a voice and choice to survivors/victims of sexual violence
• Ensure women and girls have access to justice
• Ensure women and girls have access to independent, specialised, culturally-appropriate sexual violence support, advocacy and counselling.

The Coalition Government’s commitment to sustainable funding for Rape Crisis services is a direct result of the publicly acknowledged critical situation that member groups of Rape Crisis (England and Wales) are in, as highlighted by ‘The Crisis in Rape Crisis’ and numerous other independent reports. It was also an outcome of sustained and consistent lobbying and campaigning by Rape Crisis (England and Wales) and its supporters, who are gravely concerned about the consequences of the historic neglect and lack of funding for Rape Crisis groups, which led to 10 centres closing in 5 years.

Independent research and survivors’/victims’ testimonies have told us time and again, and continue to tell us, that the majority of survivors/victims of sexual violence are women and girls who do not report to the police and who want women-only services. These findings are underlined by the evidence of thousands of survivors/victims who turn to their local Rape Crisis centre every year because it uniquely provides independent, specialist, women-centred services.

But lack of sustainable funding means that a huge number women and girls across England and Wales do not have access to these services, because Rape Crisis centres don’t exist in many areas, and because those that do are often under threat of closure. This restricts women’s and girls’ choices and opportunities and does not promote a ‘fair, just and Big Society’.
So Rape Crisis groups in England and Wales are now asking for reassurance from the Coalition Government that it will keep its sustainable funding commitment to Rape Crisis.

Please join us in insisting that they honour this commitment.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

• Join our supporters’ group on Facebook
• Publicise the group and this event page to all your Facebook friends and encourage others to join and do the same
• Send a letter to Theresa May MP, Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities, voicing your support for a specific, long-term, sustainable fund for Rape Crisis groups, so that the crisis in Rape Crisis ends once and for all. You can write your own, or use our template letter to urge David and Theresa to honour their commitment to Rape Crisis (England and Wales). Find the template on our group page here: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=6812316699&v=photos&ref=ts#!/group.php?gid=6812316699&v=info&ref=ts
• Ask your MP to support the right of sexual violence victims/survivors in your area to access vital Rape Crisis services. You can find out how to contact your local MP at: http://www.theyworkforyou.com
• Ask your MP and the Government for parity with the Scottish model of funding for Rape Crisis in England and Wales:
The National Co-ordinator of Rape Crisis Scotland describes the impact of having a Rape Crisis Specific Fund there:

‘Even though some centres are still struggling, the general funding situation has improved significantly over the past four years…Because the funding is restricted to Rape Crisis groups, centres no longer have to compete with one another; this has made a huge difference in terms of the service and support they can offer women. Four new centres have also opened in areas where previously there was little or no service provision. ‘

Along with the numerous verbal public and parliamentary statements promising sustainable funding for Rape Crisis from both the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties, the Coalition Government has told us that it will adopt a ‘common sense’ attitude to addressing the ‘needs of society by enabling funding to deliver innovative and personalised services to the community.’

They have committed to:
• Freedom
• Fairness
• Responsibility

Big Words …but when will they become a Big Reality? Support women and girls who’ve been affected by sexual violence to have their voices heard by insisting that the Government honours its commitment.

Don’t forget: Send our template letter to Theresa May MP, Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities, asking that she honours the Coalition Government’s commitment to provide long-term sustainable funding for Rape Crisis centres

And don’t forget there’s still time to lobby your MP to get them to sign the Early Day Motion, EDM 105, Anonymity for Defendants in Rape Cases:

“That this House believes that the Government’s proposal to grant anonymity to defendants in rape cases sends a message to juries and rape victims that the victim is not to be believed; fears that this could inhibit the effective prosecution of serial rapists; is further concerned that this will reverse the progress made on the prosecution of rape cases noted in the independent Stern Review; is further concerned that the Government has put forward the proposal without any research, evidence or examination of these issues; and calls on the Government to withdraw its proposal.”

Finally, Hannah Mudge over at We Mixed Our Drinks has done a great job trawling through the Daily Mail archives and has come up with this piece on the Mail’s heinous victim-blaming coverage of rape and sexual violence.

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*Yay, the video is up on YouTube. So Here it is: