Rape is Rape: A Brilliant New Campaign from CRASAC

Rape is Rape is a brilliant new campaign from Coventry Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre and Coventry City Council. I was privileged to view a preview copy of the video early this morning and it is absolutely spot-on. The campaign seeks to raise awareness of victim blaming and make it absolutely clear who is responsible for rape and other forms of sexual violence. In this, it is similar to Rape Crisis Scotland’s This is not an invitation to rape me campaign. 

I write a lot about victim blaming and rape culture and far too often we see campaigns about rape which focus on the victim rather than on the perpetrator; a recent example of extreme victim blaming can be seen in this campaign from the West Mercia Police.

I fully support the Rape is Rape campaign from CRASAC. The video shows just how damaging rape culture and victim blaming are. We need more campaigns to support victims of rape and hold perpetrators responsible for their crimes.

The video is available here*: Rape is Rape, in any language

Below is a section of the official press release:

‘Rape is rape in any language’

A joint initiative between Coventry City Council and the Coventry Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre (CRASAC) is being launched that will focus on the needs of survivors of rape and sexual abuse. 

It is a joint project between CRASAC and Coventry City Council which aims to speak to a broad audience, raising awareness that rape and sexual violence are never the victims fault. We wanted to deliver key messages that both dispel the myths and stereotypes around rape and sexual violence in our community and let people know that support is here if they want it.

The campaign, ‘Rape is Rape in any language’ is a ground-breaking project in Coventry and is the first of its kind to highlight the needs of survivors of rape and sexual abuse as well as the education of others.

The campaign can be followed on Twitter through the hashtag #rapeisrape

Key messages for CRASAC of ‘Rape is Rape’ are:

1. It is never the victims fault. The only person responsible for rape and sexual abuse is the person who commits the crime.

2. That rape can happen to anyone, woman, man, girl or boy and that the effects of rape can be devastating but that help is out there and to encourage victims and survivors to contact us.

Coventry Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre (CRASAC) has been established for 32 years, providing free services to women and girls, men and boys, aged 5 and above, in Coventry, who are victims or survivors of sexual violence and abuse either now or in the past. We provide a helpline, counselling service, therapy groups for adults and children, an outreach service for black and ethnic minority groups as well as young people, support and advocacy for those who choose to go through the criminal justice system and we address the effects of sexual violence in a safe environment.

CRASAC support over 5,000 victims of rape and abuse through all our services and the number increases every year.

Our helpline is open to women, men & children, their families & supporters on 02476 277777

Opening times: Mon-Fri 10-2pm & Mon & Thurs 6-8pm

*I will embed the video into my post tonight.

This isn’t “sexual harassment”: it’s a real threat of rape.

Aberystwyth University’s cricket team has had its funding withdrawn by the student union and has been banned from competing because of this photograph. A disciplinary panel ruled that the team had brought the university into disrepute by breaking the code of conduct.

I want to celebrate this as a moment when a university finally takes a clear stand on rape culture but I have too many little niggles. Firstly, the team has only been banned from taking part in one indoor competition. Withdrawing of funding will hamper their ability to play this year but not as much as banning the club from competing for twelve months would have. Secondly, there are references to other inappropriate slogans on t-shirts but media coverage  doesn’t state what these messages are. I want to know if the other t-shirts involved sexually explicit or abusive language. If more than one player was wearing a t-shirt making “jokes” about sexual violence, then I don’t see how banning for one match will change things. 

And, thirdly, this isn’t an example of “sexual harassment” as stated by activities officer Liv Prewett. It’s a real threat. Women and children live with the threat of rape everyday: in our homes, schools, churches, playgrounds and at work. Being in a bar with a man wearing a t-shirt minimising rape just feeds into our worries about sexual violence. This type of t-shirt is what makes it difficult for women to participate in public. It’s a direct threat of violence: maybe this man won’t rape you but one in five women over the age of 16 will be raped. This is our reality. 

Young men running about in t-shirts minimising rape are precisely the young men we need to be afraid of; these are the men who don’t believe rape culture exists. These are the men who ignore the reality of violence against women and children and make excuses for rapists. A spokesman for the cricket club may have said: ‘We understand the severity of the situation and steps are being undertaken to ensure no further offence is caused.” but we know they don’t. Wearing this t-shirt isn’t just about one man in a t-shirt, it’s about a whole culture which blames women for being raped.

If Aberystwyth University wants us to believe they are taking rape culture seriously, this young man should be prohibited from playing any sports for the university. The entire team should have been banned for playing for at least one year and this should go on their permanent records.

This is “boys just being boys” because we raising another generation of men to believe they have every right to sexually violate women. 

If we want to end rape culture, we need to start taking this type of violence seriously.