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Stop Rape Campaign Proposal December 11, 2006

Posted by Winter in rape, the adventures of mind the gap.

On the 25th November 2005, Mind the Gap took to the streets of Cardiff to raise awareness about violence against women and inspire people to sign our petition. On the 9th May 2006 we presented this petition with 243 signatures to Edwina Hart, Minister for Social Justice and Regeneration, at the National Assembly for Wales. The petition asked the Assembly to fund more campaigns in Wales to raise awareness about rape and violence against women, provide more funding for organizations dealing with these problems and also to improve the court systems.

Now we launch our campaign to Stop Rape.

At present rape is a relatively easy crime to commit. Around one in four women will experience rape or attempted rape, only one out of five rapes are reported to the Police and less than six percent of reported cases leads to a conviction. Public opinion clearly plays a role in perpetuating a society that tolerates rape on such a scale. In 2005 Amnesty International published research finding that a third of the people they questioned believed that women were at least partially responsible for being raped. We are all aware of many commonly held misconceptions and myths about rape still circulating widely in our society.

Building upon last year’s campaign against violence against women, we now propose to present the National Assembly for Wales with more specific and detailed recommendations in terms of:

Public awareness raising
Consent education
Service provision

Public Awareness

There is a need for comprehensive and well-funded public awareness campaigns about consent and rape. In 2006 the Home Office released a consent campaign featuring two posters aimed at men. While we welcomed the initiative, we found the message overly negative and problematic with its implicit emphasis upon not getting caught and its use of objectifying and suggestively homophobic imagery. You can view the images here.

Instead, we need campaigns that focus on respect, empowerment and full, active, consent. Such campaigns must depict women as real complex people rather than sexual objects and portray sexual consent as something that must be actively communicated between individuals and never simply assumed. The content could take various forms, from posters and leaflets, to getting public figures to speak on the subject on television and radio, to the production of short films to be shown in cinemas. We will also research other campaigns against rape from around the world.


Currently, there is no specific provision for education about consent and rape in schools. This we find genuinely shocking in a society with such high levels of sexual abuse occurring. That consent is an essential aspect of every relationship should be emphasized throughout personal and social education and sex education. In Welsh Assembly policy, the issue of consent is not explicitly raised, although it might be subsumed under the general heading of respectful behavior. In our view, this specific issue merits special attention, especially with regard to its significance to the later development of sexual relationships. We propose that consent education must be incorporated into the system both at primary and secondary level and the addition to the curriculum again lies in emphasizing the notion of full and active sexual consent. Although teachers need more training, we will recommend that much of this work should be taken out of the hands of teachers and conducted through visiting programmes run by people trained in the issues and also through more peer led educational programmes in the community.

Service Provision

In terms of services for people who have experienced rape, we will recommend the establishment of a S.A.R.C (Sexual Assault Referral Centre) in each local authority area in Wales. At the moment there is only one in Merthyr Tydfil. Cardiff has recently put in an application for another, which we are supporting. In centralizing all the services in one place, a S.A.R.C can make a real difference not only to the experience of the person who has suffered rape, but also to the probability of gaining a conviction.

More specific recommendations will be developed through further group discussion, research, and in consultation with people and organizations working with those who have experienced rape and those working with sex offenders.

We will invite relevant groups and organizations to sign on and support this campaign and would like to return to the National Assembly with a well-supported document by May 2007, a year after we submitted our first petition.

Further reading:

Truth About Rape
Men Can Stop Rape



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