The Act Of Rape Is Mundane

8 Dec
Original caption states, "Dem. Rep. Congo...

Original caption states, “Dem. Rep. Congo: Meeting for Rape Victims Rape victims who have been successfully reintegrated into their communities assemble in a “peace hut” near Walungu, South Kivu in DRC. USAID-supported health programs have assisted rape victims with counseling, training, employment, and safe living environments.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



No one has the right to hurt me, but…a rape occurs every four minutes in the UK.  By the time you’ve finished reading this article, three women will have been raped. 


It is estimated that only 7% of rapes are reported to the police.  That means as many as 199,000 rapes occurred in 2009/2010.  Almost 200,000 women were traumatised in that period but less than 14,000 women felt able to report it.


A 2004 Home Office study found that of all women subjected to an act that met the legal definition of rape, only 43% thought of it as rape. 


A 2005 Home Office study found that less than 6% of reported rapes result in conviction – less than 1% of all rapes result in a conviction.


The British Crime Survey seldom asks people about sexual offences.


A 2005 ICM poll for Amnesty International found:


  • 34% of people in the UK believe a woman is partially or totally responsible for being raped if she has behaved in a flirtatious manner.
  • 26% believe a woman is partially or totally responsible if she was wearing sexy or revealing clothes.
  • 22% believe a woman is partially responsible if she has had many sexual partners. 
  • 8% believe a woman is totally responsible if she has had many sexual partners.


Attitudes need to change.



It’s not just rape and it’s not just the UK: it’s everywhere.  According to BlogHer:


  • 1 in 3 women will be in an abusive relationship in her lifetime.
  • On average, more than three women a day are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends in the United States.
  • Teenage girls are reporting dating abuse at rates higher than women, which makes them the most at-risk group for abuse in America.
  • One in five tweens—ages 11 to 14—say their friends are victims of emotional, physical or verbal dating violence.


Violence occurs in the home, against women and children and, sometimes, men.


Attitudes need to change.


That will take time, of course, so what can women do to protect themselves?


I live in social housing and I am fortunate to have an excellent landlord in Stockport Homes.  My landlord offered a Women’s Personal Safety Course free to all residents, run by Freedom Personal Safety.  I’ll be honest – my attitude needs to change as well: I went along because I thought it might be interesting, not because I had a burning desire to protect myself.  I came away feeling empowered.  Not invincible: there are no guarantees; every situation is different and some attackers are more determined than others.  But I now have some tools to deter would-be attackers, and that is liberating.


What can I do to reduce the risk of attack?  There are simple methods which are obvious when I think of them; but I haven’t always thought of them:


  • Walk tall.  I look less like a victim.
  • Carry my keys.  No fumbling around to get in my house or car, and they are a useful weapon.
  • Keep my mobile charged and accessible.
  • Stay alert to what’s going on around me.  Go another way if necessary.
  • If I think I’m being followed, get to the nearest public area or police station.
  • Never stop in an isolated area.
  • Sit near the driver on the bus.
  • Memorise the number of a trusted taxi firm.
  • Trust my instinct – get away from someone without apology or embarrassment if s/he makes me anxious or uncomfortable.  It’s better to feel foolish than to be physically hurt.


These are just a few of many strategies that FPS teaches, as well as physical self-defence.  FPS is affiliated to an American company called RAD Systems (Rape Aggression Defense Systems).  Both are not-for-profit organisations aiming to empower as many women and children as possible.  Check out their websites for details of available courses.  Or look at your local area’s websites for a course with other organisations.  I urge you to consider taking one.


Today is the Seventh Annual It’s Time To Talk Day.  Let’s start talking.  Violence doesn’t have to have happened to you for you to know how traumatising it is.


Various dictionaries define ‘mundane’ as ordinary, everyday, commonplace, characteristic of the world.  By ignoring the heinous crime of rape; by allowing it to continue, unreported and unprosecuted; by the very fact that it occurs 360 times a day, 365 days a year, rape is one of the most mundane acts committed by humankind.


Attitudes need to change.



Thanks to Freedom Personal Safety for permission to use their report on UK Facts and Statistics.  All opinions expressed are mine.


POSTSCRIPT: I recommend that you read the comments which follow; there is more excellent advice in them than I have included here.


70 Responses to “The Act Of Rape Is Mundane”

  1. jmgoyder December 8, 2011 at 15:36 #

    I wasn’t expecting something so serious – great job to draw attention to this appalling situation.


  2. alienhippy December 8, 2011 at 15:38 #

    Thank you for sharing this. Love and hugs my friend. Lisa. xx 🙂


    • scarlettruby December 8, 2011 at 16:09 #

      Great post Tilly – thank you for highlighting how we/society accept(s) violence – particularly against women and children. And for making us think about our attitudes. I have been reading you for a while now but haven’t commented before. Great blog!
      Don’t get the whole Malteser thing??? I made a Malteser birthday cake for a friend last week and the remnants of box number 3 – only used 2+ boxes so almost a full box left over – are still sitting on my kitchen worktop. Maltesers are my least liked – note not even ‘least favourite’ – sweet/chocolate. Pity you didn’t live near me, you could have had them.


      • Tilly Bud December 9, 2011 at 10:17 #

        Thanks for commenting at last 🙂

        ‘Don’t get the whole Malteser thing???’…Begone, foul fiend!

        I don’t mind; more for me 🙂

        Nice to meet you, anyway. Do you have a blog?


        • scarlettruby December 9, 2011 at 15:55 #

          I don’t blog. first tuned in to blogs by my friend Speccy who does. Got to you from her and got to Sarsm from you! Pity I do have to work otherwise I could become addicted to reading blogs! And it’s funny how quickly I begin to feel that I really know the people whose blogs I read! Is this usual?


  3. sanstorm December 8, 2011 at 15:42 #

    Great post!


  4. gigihawaii December 8, 2011 at 15:50 #

    Back in 1977, I foolishly walked home from a concert around 10 pm. A short, stocky man followed me and when I turned a corner to my street, he ran to me and placed his right hand on my mouth and his left arm around my waist. Fortunately, there were spaces between his fingers, and I managed to scream shrilly. He dropped his hands and fled. Terrible scene. Thank goodness, nothing worse happened!


    • Tilly Bud December 9, 2011 at 10:19 #

      Thank goodness indeed! It could have been truly appalling for you.


  5. McGuffyAnn December 8, 2011 at 15:55 #

    Thanks for such an important post!


  6. misswhiplash December 8, 2011 at 16:06 #

    Now this is serious stuff..nothing to smile about there. You are so right, nobody should become a victim….well done Tilly for writing about something that does not get talked about, something that causes fear

    well done mate!


  7. vivinfrance December 8, 2011 at 16:14 #

    Bravo. Could you adapt this piece and send it to a) a Women’s/Teen magazine and/or b) your local newspaper. It can do no harm to praise your caring landlord.


  8. slpmartin December 8, 2011 at 16:44 #

    An excellent post…I have seen little change in law enforcement’s and society’s attitudes over the course of my lifetime…but I still hope it will change.


    • Tilly Bud December 9, 2011 at 10:20 #

      These things move like glaciers, I’m afraid; but if they move at all, that’s something.


  9. Julie December 8, 2011 at 18:23 #

    My goodness, thank you so much for your powerful and uplifting article. As the instructor who ran your course, it was a pleasure and priviledge to work with you and your humour, spirit and determination to survive and thrive shone through. Thanks for helping us spread the word – together we are stronger.


    • Tilly Bud December 9, 2011 at 10:22 #

      It’s true, we are stronger together.

      Thank you for leaving me feeling empowered.


  10. Jodie December 8, 2011 at 18:39 #

    Great post! I will admit I was looking for a punch line at first (given how your other blogs are) but I was glad to see that you were tackling a serious issue. Thank you for that. I hope you don’t mind if I reblog this.



    • Tilly Bud December 9, 2011 at 10:24 #

      I’m grateful for any reblogs because we should all be talking about this.


  11. Lorna's Voice December 8, 2011 at 19:54 #

    Very well written, my friend. This is such an important topic. People must stop blaming the victim (especially the victim), and you have lots of ideas for self-empowerment, which is a good way for victims to feel like they are taking back some control over their lives.

    Bravo for you for posting this. Your audience is wide so this message will be far-reaching.


  12. Mike Patrick December 8, 2011 at 20:38 #

    Good information, Tilly. A potential rape victim’s best friend is noise—ideally, noise while running toward a populated area. Along with the keys you are carrying in your hand, have a whistle. No whistle? Scream. If it is available where you live, a key ring pepper mace is good to have too. The stuff the general public can buy is not as strong as what is issued to police, but it is much better than nothing.

    If you can’t run and the above strategies don’t discourage an attacker, then is the time to fight. Try to direct your attack to the eyes, throat, or groin. Don’t be nice. If you can take out an eye, do it (any blood, skin or eyeballs you come away with can be used for DNA to identify the attacker later). An elbow or punch to the solar plexus or a stomp on the foot can cause an attacker to turn loose long enough for you to run (while screaming) toward the nearest populated area.

    A thought on fighting: there are reasons why there are weight classes in boxing. A tiny woman doing a perfect jump-kick to a 230 pound man’s chest will bounce off while he laughs. Brute force usually trumps skill in anything other than movies, so don’t jump back in fighting if you can break away and run.

    One absolute rule: NEVER, never, never allow yourself to be taken away from where you are attacked. If an attacker is attempting to drag you into a car, it is better to fight to the death on the street in front of your house than to be taken to a secluded place where you can be raped, tortured, killed and have your body dumped where it won’t be found (think about all the “Have you seen this woman?” posters you’ve seen).

    If you decide to submit to an attacker, and sometimes that is the a better idea than being severely beaten and then raped, I would ask you to assist in the arrest and prosecution of the attacker. Think of it the same way you would any other crime. If someone assaulted one of your children, you would go to the gates of Hell to get even. Do the same thing if you are raped. Go to the hospital emergency room and tell them you have been raped. Do NOT take a bath, change clothes or get cleaned up before going to the emergency room. Allow the ER personnel to collect rape evidence so this animal can be caught. Have the hospital call the police (or call them yourself). Most police departments have someone specially trained to work with victims of sex crimes—ideally, it is a female officer, but that is not always possible.

    Rapists are usually serial offenders. If you do not report the crime or destroy the evidence he leaves on you, he will strike again. If you don’t go after him to get even, go after him to keep some friend from becoming his next victim.

    For those who don’t know me, I was a police officer for thirty-seven years. For four of those years, I was the detective assigned to handle all sex crimes, both adult and child. I received the special training, but I still carry the mental scars from some of those cases.


    • Tilly Bud December 9, 2011 at 10:31 #

      Great advice Mike, thank you.

      The current thinking is not to scream, but to shout ‘No’ over and over. People will often ignore a scream but will be curious about all those ‘no’s. But any noise is better than no noise, I think.


  13. laurieanichols December 8, 2011 at 21:02 #

    Tilly, this is such an excellent and socially aware post. I think that the stats that you listed could well apply world wide and the tips that you offer are worth committing to memory. I think that the biggest stumbling block that women face worldwide is the utterly false notion that a woman ever deserves or asked to be raped. It truly doesn’t matter what she wears or if she has had a few drinks, rape isn’t about sex anyway, it is about an aggressor hurting the victim in the most vile way possible.


    • Tilly Bud December 9, 2011 at 10:32 #

      That’s right; it’s never about sex. It’s about power, control.


  14. Big Al December 8, 2011 at 21:21 #

    Well said about a difficult topic. As a husband, father, grandfather who never stops worrying about his girls, I appreciate any and all efforts toward eliminating this horrible affront to women.


    • Tilly Bud December 9, 2011 at 10:33 #

      As the mother of boys, I have done my best to instil a respect for women and the feelings of others. If all parents did their bit, the world might be a little less terrible.


  15. SchmidleysScribbling December 8, 2011 at 21:27 #

    Timely and important message. As the days grow shorter and the dark hours are longer, the rate of assault picks up. Unfortunately, this is a hate crime…men against women. 95 percent of ALL crimes are committed by men and rape is a big proportion of those crimes. You are correct, it is underreported.

    Even as I write this, David and I are watching the shootout at Virginia Tech University here in the States. 3 of our children are Tech grads, and one granddaughter has applied to attend there next fall. Dianne


    • Tilly Bud December 9, 2011 at 10:34 #

      It’s dreadful, isn’t it? You must be so anxious for her.


  16. nrhatch December 8, 2011 at 21:36 #

    How one group of women in an Indian neighborhood handled a “repeat offender”:


    • Katherine Gordy Levine December 8, 2011 at 22:37 #

      Posted this on my facebook page.

      I am a ranter for women’s rights. Last night watched the movie Kandalar.about the status of women in Afghan. Not about rape, but about the problem of power abused and religions linking to power as a tool of control. Another of my frequent rants. Hard time sleeping.

      Thank you. Love laughing, but there are also things that are no laughing matter.


    • Tilly Bud December 9, 2011 at 10:35 #

      Nancy: I read it. A terrible revenge but you can’t help feeling he had it coming.

      Emotifit: Thanks for sharing it. Getting the message out there is important.


  17. barb19 December 8, 2011 at 22:45 #

    Wow – powerful stuff Tilly, and so well written on a very difficult subject. This kind of information needs to be spread far and wide – let’s hope it is.


  18. Tom (Aquatom1968) December 8, 2011 at 23:56 #

    Shocking statistics, Tilly.


  19. Piglet in PortugalPiP December 9, 2011 at 00:19 #

    These are amazing figures and rape is not just confined to women. Men rape men and young boys.


    • Tilly Bud December 9, 2011 at 10:36 #

      It’s true. That’s why FPS offers courses for children as well.

      I always told my own boys that it was okay to say ‘no’ to an adult if the adult made them uncomfortable.


  20. bluebee December 9, 2011 at 00:30 #

    Well said, Tilly.

    And always, always trust your instinct – if you feel threatened in any way, remove yourself from a situation without apology and without worrying about appearing foolish. This is the best piece of advice my mother has ever given me.


    • Tilly Bud December 9, 2011 at 10:37 #

      It’s excellent advice. The FPS instructor told us that and I forgot to include it. I’ll do it now.


  21. sarsm December 9, 2011 at 01:05 #

    Both you and Mike have presented good information here. I didn’t think about the keys. I more kept them in my bag in case someone snatched them and stole my car. But it’s a very good point.

    A study in America also showed that people respond more to shouts of ‘FIRE’ than ‘HELP’ or other commonly used terms.

    If you’re grabbed from behind and wear heels, you should stamp really hard on your attacker’s foot is another good tip I remember after doing a self defence class years ago (while still at school).

    It’s something I worry about constantly, having three daughters.

    With regard to the statistics:

    Most people who are raped, are raped by someone they know. A family friend, a neighbour, a family member, a partner.

    To report that is very difficult. That person is supposed to be someone you trust. Love perhaps.

    Then there’s the shock. Disbelief… If you can’t believe it, how can anyone else?

    It’s not about what you wear or about how you behave. It’s about someone else having power and control over you.

    Discussions, classes, tips are all good. Well done, Tilly.


    • Tilly Bud December 9, 2011 at 10:40 #

      Yes; they use what you’re wearing or your behaviour as the justification for what they do to you.


  22. Sharp Little Pencil December 9, 2011 at 01:51 #

    Mike, great advice. I lived in NYC and in a seedy part of Puerto Rico for years, had my share of close calls. For me, walking confidently (even at 5′ 4″ it helps), not just HOLDING my keys but grasping them in a grip so all keys point outward – a possible attacker will look at that and think twice. Never going anyplace with anyone you don’t know; always meet and part with first, even third dates AT the meeting place, in public.

    Women are often born with a sixth sense. TRUST IT. Your gut says this guy’s a player or whatever, or this is the wrong subway car, listen. And always sit in a car with an announcer in it – also, if you are on the platform alone at night, go back up on the street until you see another woman going down the stairs. Pepper spray is only as good as its availability – if you aren’t carrying it in your hand, you won’t have time to dig for it. And cover your eyes after you aim. Don’t try half-assed karate moves you saw Cameron Diaz do if you’ve never taken a class.

    One woman I know started to pee very hard so it got on her potential attacker. He ran away in disgust. Another vomited from sheer terror.

    If all that fails and you are raped. DON;T go home in shame and shower. The nearest E.R., get a rape kit done, get the bastard’s dna. If he used a condom and drops it, pick it up and take it with you (although that’s not usually the case). Go to a counselor and get into a group ASAP. And tell trusted friends – they WILL be there for you. Get PTSD short-term meds from your doctor if you have anxiety attacks. Most of all, know there are many of us who’ve been luckier who are praying on your behalf. Love and peace, Amy


  23. Gabrielle Bryden December 9, 2011 at 05:41 #

    Applause! You’ve done a great thing writing about this – a topic which is often not talked about – and started a conversation as well.


    • Tilly Bud December 9, 2011 at 10:44 #

      I hope it will continue elsewhere. It’s when we don’t talk that attitudes harden.


  24. Cindy December 9, 2011 at 06:09 #

    There’s a breaking news story here; two women – sisters – were raped by police officers yesterday 😦


    • Tilly Bud December 9, 2011 at 10:46 #

      Sigh. Fortunately, most policemen are good men, doing their best to make a sordid world a little better.


  25. cliffjim7 December 9, 2011 at 10:17 #

    Good post. one of the things that gets me upset and annoyed about.
    well done. have a Malteser yourself. just one


    • Tilly Bud December 9, 2011 at 10:46 #

      Thanks Jim 🙂 Will I see you Sunday? Remember it’s the Christmas social.


  26. Jesse Jaca December 9, 2011 at 13:46 #

    timing! i just saw a day before this documentary titled “Exposed Groomed For Sex”. feel bad hearing about this.


  27. colonialist December 9, 2011 at 17:33 #

    As you say, attitudes need to change, and it is parents and educators and media that can help. It needs to be drummed into boys that if they resort to violence of any kind against a woman, they are something pathetically less than a man. Women need to have a deep sense of self-worth instilled, and at the same time learn not to abuse the more ‘gentlemanly’ attitudes where these are found. I mean, if women started bashing men just because they knew there was a conditioning against retaliation …


  28. RoryBore December 9, 2011 at 17:36 #

    truly great and informative post Tilly!
    You know what I find interesting?
    That while the overall public – as supported by your statistics – still has these awful lingering attitudes towards the victims of rape. Yet, within the prison walls, where supposedly the worst of humanity is housed: they hate rapists and abusers of children. lowest of the low on the prison totem pole. you will die if they discover your crime is one of these.
    It’s true. I worked in a male prison – a prison that just happened to have a Sex Offender Treatment program (operated in secret to protect those vile men); which meant while I was walking around the prison, unarmed except for a personal alarm, on any given day, going about my job — if a group of 5 male inmates were approaching me; odds are several of them were imprisoned for a sex related offence. Was I scared? Nope.
    Because one day in the prison gym, a riot broke out in the middle of a basketball game. There was me, another girl and 2 male guards. They quickly locked the 2 male guards in the equipment room – which left me and her all alone in the gym – whose doors were now locked and “guarded” by inmates – with about 25 dangerous male offenders. I knew several present were “in” because they were bikers hired hitmen. They were murderers – cold blooded. And do you know what they did?
    They surrounded me and her: but to protect us from the ones who would have taken advantage of the riot. These murderers, who aren’t supposed to care about anyone – they took beatings in order to protect us from certain rape. They got us safely to the office and stood guard, fighting for their own lives now – until the riot squad arrived.
    So even if they in their blackest of hearts, know that treating women like that is wrong — what does it say about us on the “outside” who still cling to such drivel?
    Isn’t it ironic that the safest place I’ve ever been, safer even then the university dorm I lived in for years, was a prison?
    Thank you so much for sharing this. I have seen the destruction caused by these crimes, heard the most horrible victim stories. But far worse than the damage inflicted by the crime, is often returning to a world of little empathy. Why would anyone want to tell their tale to such a world?


    • Tilly Bud December 10, 2011 at 11:04 #

      That’s an amazing story, Rory. You must have been so frightened.


  29. BeckySefton December 9, 2011 at 18:41 #

    I’ve liked your blog post today but not because it’s your usual funny type but because of the issues you’ve highlighted and addressed. I try not to walk alone in the dark or dodgy areas but if I do, I have my mobile readily accessible and I *never* walk around with earphones in my ears. I also make sure someone knows where and how I’m travelling and that if it’s dark, I phone that person when I return etc.


    • Tilly Bud December 10, 2011 at 11:05 #

      A good precaution is never wasted. Good girl!


  30. Pseu December 9, 2011 at 18:59 #

    I started to read this this morning, but had to leave it. I’m glad I came back. We all hate to think that it could happen to us.

    I remember once being quite cocky about my strength and the boyfriend at the time was a lovely gentle soul, but one day he held me down with one arm as he wanted to show me that he was so much stronger, just so I’d realise that if I was ever attacked by anyone I should get away, not stay and fight. It taught me a serious lesson: however strong you are as a woman, in most cases a man will be stronger.


    • Tilly Bud December 10, 2011 at 11:06 #

      What a good boyfriend he was.

      There are strategies on the FPS course that you can use to free yourself even when pinned down. I was surprised.


  31. The Background Story December 11, 2011 at 07:22 #

    This is a very informative post. Thanks for taking the time out to talk about this topic.

    The attitude of victim blaming is what I dislike the most when the topic of rape is brought up. No wonder women don’t report it.

    I’ve enrolled in some Krav Maga classes. Though men will always be stronger, there are techniques women can use to free themselves if they are already cornered and/or pinned.


    • Tilly Bud December 12, 2011 at 10:24 #

      Yes, there are similar techniques on the course I attended. Anything that gives you a fighting chance is worth trying.

      I agree about the culture of victim-blaming. Attitudes really do need to change.

      Thanks for commenting.


  32. speccy December 12, 2011 at 11:54 #

    Excellent, Tilly. Good to see the discussion.


  33. ElizOF December 18, 2011 at 04:22 #

    Excellent post and a topic that brings ups a lot of anger and frustration; especially for women whose case aren’t heard or taken seriously. Rape is a serious problem globally and more ought to be done…


  34. judithatwood December 20, 2011 at 15:47 #

    Thanks so much, Tilly. I wish I’d been told these words before or after my incident at age 13. I was so embarrassed, I didn’t tell anyone until I was 32. Thanks to you and to your readers for the valuable advice. I do find it a little hard to imagine that anyone, seeing the title of this post, would think there might be a punchline! Thanks for all you do — you are bookmarked at the top of my blogger files.


    • Tilly Bud December 20, 2011 at 15:50 #

      I’m glad you were able to talk about it eventually. I hope you received good support.


  35. colonialist December 29, 2011 at 16:24 #

    The thing that needs to change most is the view of so many men that rape is OK. There needs to be a constant message from a young age that only pathetic losers would ever dream of committing violence against a woman or forcing themselves upon one.
    Then, too, women need to be brought up to believe that such acts are utterly wrong and that all perpetrators must be brought to book at all costs. They should be conditioned to be propelled by a feeling of outrage and a need to exact retribution.


    • Tilly Bud December 31, 2011 at 13:50 #

      You are absolutely right. It is shocking that in the 21st Century our attitudes are so First Millennium.



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