Manchester Rape Crisis

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Myths and Facts about Rape

Myths about rape are all about shifting the responsibility for the crime from the perpetrator to the victim. Rape and sexual assault are about power and violence, not sex. The vast majority of sexual assaults are planned carefully and are not committed because of uncontrollable sexual urges.

Myth – A rapist is a stranger.
Fact – Over 50% of women know their attacker in some capacity, for example, friend, lover, colleague, husband, ex-partner, neighbour.

Myth – Rape only happens in dark alleys.
Fact – 60% of women are attacked inside a building, and for 31% of women rape occurs in their own home - the most common place of all.

Myth – Women get raped because they are dressed provocatively.
Fact – If a man decides to rape someone, it makes no difference what she is wearing.

Myth – Rapists are monsters/maniacs.
Fact – Rapists are ordinary men, many are highly respected members of the community and in 1980 in England and Wales, only 2% of convicted rapists were considered to be in need of psychiatric treatment.

Myth – Rape is a crime of sexual needs or uncontrollable urges.
Fact – Men can, and do, control their sexual urges. Rape is a crime of violence, control, degradation and intimidation - it is not about sex but about power. The vast majority of rapes are carefully planned.

Myth – Women say "no" but they mean "yes".
Fact – When women say no they mean no. Sex without consent is rape.

Myth – She didn't struggle so she was not raped.
Fact – Most women are too afraid to struggle because of threats of violence.

Myth – Women enjoy rape. Some women ask for it. Women lead the rapist on.
Fact – It is handy to be able to blame the woman in this way - it lets the attackers off the hook and it helps other people to feel safe. If you believe that women are to blame when they suffer rape, then you might imagine that you could protect yourself by being careful and sensible. The truth is that an attack can take place against any woman, at any time, and in any place. Suffering rape is a traumatic violation. The victim is often afraid that her attacker will kill her. She may try to calm the rapist down by pretending that she is enjoying herself. Rape is the sole responsibility of the rapist, regardless of anything a woman may do to survive.

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Date Rape

A concept which has reached us from the U.S. Rape perpetrated within the confines of a 'date' situation i.e. where the woman has willingly met the man, but then at some stage has been raped.

Acquaintance Rape

Rape perpetrated by a person known to the victim, but not a close friend. May be known through employment or general social contact.

Who Rapes on a Date?

Boyfriend, past or present, Ex-husband or partner, an online date, etc

Who Rapes an Acquaintance?

In summary - anyone

A perpetrator's usual defence is that there was consent, which amounts to her word against his. Date and acquaintance rape are notoriously difficult to prove without corroborative evidence, e.g. signs of struggle or neighbours overhearing, and even then convictions are rare.

In America, about 80% of rapists are known to the victims; often the rape has been carefully planned and15-20% of survivors said their attacker wore a condom to avoid being convicted by DNA testing. Some women also report being forced to bathe after the rape.

In our experience, date and acquaintance rape can be as traumatic for a survivor as rape by a stranger. Imagine how hard it would be to trust anyone after being raped by someone you thought was a friend

Imagine how difficult it would be to see your rapist at work every day because you thought no-one would believe you if you told.

Corrective Rape:

Corrective rape is a term used to denote incidents where lesbians are raped as a punishment for their sexuality and to "cure" them. It is therefore a direct and targeted attack against a person's sexuality and gender. According to an ActionAid report, women who have experienced "corrective rape" say that,
verbal abuse before and during the rape focused on being “taught a lesson” and being “shown how to be real women and what a real man tasted like”. In other words, women who choose not to identify as heterosexual are being victimised for being ‘abnormal’– for daring to step outside the boundaries of what their families, communities and wider society prescribe for them." (2009: 12)

This is a blatant and violent expression of homphobia and has consequences for women in the aftermath of the incident(s), for example, women may call into question her sexuality and her identity.

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Short and Long Term Effects of Rape and Sexual Abuse

The trauma experienced by women and girls following rape and/or sexual assault may manifest itself either immediately after the attack or, as is frequently the case, some long time afterwards. Attacks affect all individuals differently, but many of the following are common in survivors:

Short Term

Obviously, some of these can persist for a very long time. Some can also develop into longer term effects on behaviour and emotional well-being.

Long Term

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Reasons For and Advice on Self-Injury

Possible reasons for Self-Injury

Practical Advice on Self-Injury

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Ritual Abuse


Most sexual abuse of children is ritualised in some way. Abusers use repetition, routine and ritual to coerce children into patterns of behaviour in order to instil fear and ensure silence. Bath-times, nursery rhymes or bedtime stories, gifts, elaborate games, dressing up, taking photographs or exchanging secrets are all tactics which abusers use to gain the trust of a new victim. The sexual abuse of children is never a random act of lust - just as stranger rape is rarely a spontaneous, unplanned crime - it always involves thorough planning and preparation. A paedophile ring will often be geared up to record abuse on film and distribute the resulting photographs or videos. This 'pornography' is used by paedophiles for their own gratification and to prepare children for abuse. Some groups use elaborate rituals in order to terrify children into silence, by convincing them of the absolute power of their abusers. Religious practices and beliefs may be invoked - Christian or pagan Gods and demons can be enlisted to serve the abusers' ends. An animal may be tortured, killed, or 'brought back to life' to demonstrate the power of the group. When you consider how many adults believe in the power of good or evil, it is easy to see how easy it is to convince children that magic and illusion is reality. Children, after all, are generally taught to believe adults, and abusers exploit this trust and feed children's imaginations.

Ritual abuse is simply a form of group abuse of children - the use of religious chanting, imagery etc adds a powerful angle, and will often dominate the flashbacks and nightmares suffered by the children. Many ritual abuse survivors will have been given a trigger to control them when the abuser is not present - this trigger is usually an everyday object such as a clock, ornament or an everyday phrase which will constantly remind them of the abuse and the fact that something terrible will happen if they disclose it to anyone. It is not surprising that many survivors are frightened of speaking out. Child sexual abuse is always about power and secrecy. Until the early 1980's, childhood sexual abuse was not seen as widespread; but as more and more survivors spoke out, society has had to listen. Despite official reports concluding that satanic abuse is not occurring in the UK, survivors are speaking out, and it is clear that paedophile rings, often involving many members of the same family, do engage in this ritualised form of abuse.

Survivors will often talk of a number of differing experiences, but many elements of ritual abuse are common:
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Reproduced with the kind permission of Tyneside Rape Crisis Centre.

Flashbacks - What are they?

Many women who are survivors of any form of sexual violence experience flashbacks at one time or another. Flashbacks are temporary states of remembering something painful or traumatic which has been hidden for quite some time in the subconscious mind and during a flashback; you may feel as though aspects of the rape or sexual assault are actually happening to you now. The duration of a flashback differs and could last from a few seconds to a few hours.

When do flashbacks occur ?

Flashbacks can occur at unpredictable and unexpected times. They can be triggered by anything that serves as a reminder of the rape or assault or the perpetrator, for example they can occur if you're feeling any of the following: As this list shows, flashbacks can occur regardless of how you are feeling. The list is not intended to be exhaustive as there are so many ways you could be feeling when a flashback occurs. Many women have cited the following example as a trigger for flashbacks:
Someone who's physical appearance reminds you of the perpetrator, including: Flashbacks can be triggered at any time and can happen anywhere e.g. you could be watching a programme on T.V. or reading a magazine or out at the theatre or out for a meal etc. when a flashback occurs. Do flashbacks differ in any way ? Yes, flashbacks can be experienced in many forms and combinations which include some or all of the following: