Falkirk East MSP Cathy Peattie has welcomed the launch of a new public awareness campaign on rape.
“The campaign is intended to create debate about attitudes to rape,” said Cathy, who is Convener of the Scottish Parliament Cross Party Group on Men’s Violence against Women and Children.
“The campaign challenges attitudes that blame women for rape where they have been drinking, dressed in revealing clothing or flirting, and also addresses the issue of rape within marriages and relationships.
“I congratulate Rape Crisis on the striking images that they have used to focus attention on these issues, and I am pleased to see that the motion I have tabled in the Scottish Parliament is attracting cross party support.”
“This is an extremely important campaign to tackle society’s attitudes towards women who are raped. Even though we often don’t realise it, people do make assumptions about a woman depending on the way she dresses, how she behaves and how much she has had to drink. But nobody deserves to experience rape, no matter what she is wearing or whether she has been flirting.
“The purpose of this campaign is to make people think, and to check the judgements they make about people. We want to create debate about this issue as too many women are experiencing the harrowing ordeal of rape without getting the justice they deserve. I urge everyone to take the messages from this campaign on board.”
Sandy Brindley, National Co-ordinator for Rape Crisis Scotland, said, “This is the missing part of the jigsaw as we need to tackle the issue of rape by changing attitudes towards women who are raped.
“Major in-roads have been made recently with the establishment of a national rape helpline, the current reform of the law on sexual offences which is going through parliament and the police and Crown Office reviews of their procedures in relation to the investigation and prosecution of rape and sexual offences. However, the biggest hurdle we face is changing people’s attitudes towards rape.
“It beggars belief that people genuinely think that the way a woman dresses, how she behaves or whether she is drunk, contribute to being raped. These are not justifiable reasons. If a woman says no, then that means no.”
The campaign follows on from a number of surveys which have found that a significant proportion of the population blame women at least in part for rape in such circumstances, and aims to broaden the public’s understanding of the range of circumstances in which rape can happen.
It comes at a time where significant legal change is underway in relation to the law on rape, with the Justice Committee about to begin taking evidence on the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Bill, which reforms the law on sexual offences.
A dedicated campaign website – www.thisisnotaninvitationtorapeme.co.uk – will provide further information about the campaign, downloadable copies of campaign materials, as well as interactive facilities to promote public involvement on the issues raised by the campaign.
Cathy’s motion, with signatories to date:
S3M-02725 Cathy Peattie (Falkirk East) (Scottish Labour): This is Not an Invitation to Rape Me – That the Parliament welcomes Rape Crisis Scotland’s new campaign, This is Not an Invitation to Rape Me, which aims to tackle women-blaming attitudes towards rape in a nationwide advertising campaign; notes that many Scots still believe that women are in some way responsible for being raped if they are dressed in revealing clothing, are drunk, are flirting, or are known to have had many sexual partners; further notes that although rape within marriage was made a crime in Scotland from 1989, the myth persists that women are only raped by strangers and not their partners; believes that social attitudes continue to play a significant role in limiting justice for women who have experienced rape, with a Scottish conviction rate of only 2.9%, and in central Scotland as low as one conviction from seven prosecutions and 45 allegations, with an estimated 40% of rapes unreported, and congratulates the campaign for its use of distinctive images featuring women in everyday settings, challenging people’s attitudes towards rape and tackling the myths and prejudices that undermine women’s right to say no.
Supported by: Jackie Baillie, Dr Alasdair Allan, James Kelly, Rob Gibson, Claire Baker, Patrick Harvie, Dr Richard Simpson, Bill Butler, Angela Constance, Shirley-Anne Somerville, Bashir Ahmad, Marilyn Livingstone, Margaret Curran, Sandra White, Ross Finnie, Robin Harper, Michael McMahon, Dr Elaine Murray, Cathie Craigie, Trish Godman, Karen Whitefield, Alex Neil, Bill Kidd, Elaine Smith, Marlyn Glen, Ken Macintosh, Bob Doris, Mary Mulligan, Stuart McMillan, Jamie Hepburn, Christina McKelvie