Tag Archives: Violence and Abuse

Sorry For The Misunderstanding

6 Apr

I was surprised at the reaction to this photo yesterday, because it looks so obvious to me that it is make up, and I have a towel around me to protect my clothes. 

I promise the Hub never laid a hand on me.  I take violence against women seriously and I would never make light of it, nor stay with a man who thought it was okay to knock me about.

I was touched that you wanted reassurance.   I would never have used this photo if I thought it would be misunderstood.

If you’d like to know how I feel about attacks on women, read this post.

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.

 

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