More than 200 people took to the streets of Cardiff today to protest against a culture of rape and victim blaming.
This was the first Slutwalk, a trend which started in Canada and the US in April, to take part in the UK.
Chants of “two, four six, eight, love sex, hate rape” and “Yes means yes and No means no” rang out as the march progressed from the city hall to St John’s church, where Cathy Owens of Amnesty International, Helen-Mary Jones of Plaid Cymru and Dr Emma Renold of Cardiff University made speeches.
Helen Mary Jones said:
“I thought we had done all this in the seventies and eighties, I thought we had got the message across. It breaks my heart as an old feminist to see a third of young Welsh people, including women think it is ok for a woman to be hurt or abused because of what she is wearing.
“No must mean no and we must get that message across. This is an issue for us all.”
A survey of Welsh students by NUS Wales and Amnesty International in 2008 revealed more than one third [36 per cent] of people questioned believed a woman is responsible for being raped or sexually assaulted if she had acted in a flirtatious manner, while a quarter [23 per cent] thought a woman is responsible if she is wearing sexy or revealing clothing.
In another survey by the Havens Sexual Assault Referral Centre, 23 per cent of men questioned thought even a women said “no” right from the start, sex from that point was not rape.
Here are some of the social media responses to today’s walk.
[View the story “Cardiff Slutwalk: 4th June 2011” on Storify]
Last week the Welsh Assembly Government [WAG] launched a campaign to tackle attitudes towards rape.
This comes after some a study by the havens last month revealed some shocking statistics:
- A third (34%) of people in the UK believe that a woman is partially or totally responsible for being raped if she has behaved in a flirtatious manner
- More than a quarter (26%) of people think a woman was partially or totally responsible for being raped if she was wearing sexy or revealing clothing
- Around one in 12 people (8%) believe a woman is totally responsible for being raped if she has many sexual partners
- Nearly a third of people (30%) say a woman was partially or totally responsible for being raped if she was drunk
The campaign is focused on stopping blaming victims of rape, and asks the key question
Is it possible that a woman who drinks, dances and flirts, ALL in a short skirt, is doing it for her own enjoyment?
The following video highlights how some men feel they have ‘earned’ sex if they do certain things.
The campaign focuses on trying to dispel myths that the way a woman dresses, behaves or drinks means she is “asking for it.” The campaign goals are to:
- Challenge the endemic culture of victim blame.
- Stop blaming the victim for rape and sexual assault committed against her.
- Stop handing the rapist – the assailant – excuses that serve to make his behaviour more socially acceptable.
The bottom line of the campaign:
Rape is a crime in every sense of the word- emotional, physical, psychological and legal; the most intimate violation imaginable. No woman is ever ‘asking for it’.
The term rape is increasingly being used out of the normal context on an everyday basis.
‘Fraping’, [Facebook raping] is just one example of how modern culture has trivialised a devastating and traumatic event that is a reality for thousands of women.
In 2009/2010 almost 14,000 women in the UK reported being raped to the police.
Online trader Etsy is following this trend by producing the following card, designed by ‘Youstupidbitch’:
The tag line on the card;
Get creeped on, get raped? Know someone that has? Then this card is for them
If this is tasteless and crass, what is it when you liken someone putting an unwanted comment on facebook to being sexually assaulted?
Completely different or a little bit the same?
Tell me what you think.
Picture of Justice at the Old Bailey, taken by John Linwood
Two weeks ago I wrote about a women from Powys who was gaoled after retracting a rape allegation, for “perverting the course of justice.”
To recap, have a look here.
Yesterday, she was released from prison after she successfully appealed against her sentence in the High Court.
The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge said a community sentence would have been a more compassionate punishment. He said:
“The difference between the culpability of the individual who instigates a false complaint against an innocent man and the complainant who retracts a truthful allegation against a guilty man will often be very marked.
“When a woman has been raped, and more than once, by her husband, the father of her children and the man she reposes her trust, this manifests dominance, power and control over her.
“This woman, so ill treated, then becomes extremely vulnerable.”
He added that there should be “a broad measure of compassion” for victimised women.