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Sexual Abuse & Sexual Violence Awareness Week #ItsNotOk


This week has marked sexual abuse and sexual violence awareness week, using the popular hashtag above. Every year, organisations come together to show support for survivors, and to demand an end to sexual abuse and sexual violence. As this is a mission we work for year round, it is always important to spread as much information as we can during this week.

During the past week, we have been doing some mythbusting around sexual violence. Although it’s positive to see the stigma around talking about sexual violence reduce, there are messages in society that make this process much harder. These messages are called rape myths, and they can be anywhere! We are going to break down some of the most common rape myths below:

Myth: If someone gets really drunk, it’s their own fault if they end up getting raped.

Reality: People have the right to drink alcohol without experiencing sexual violence and it is always the pepertrators fault. Having sex with someone who is very drunk, drugged or unconscious is rape. If you need to learn more about consent here’s a really useful resource from Rape Crisis England and Wales: Sexual consent | Rape Crisis England & Wales

Myth: The freeze response! This is often used to suggest that women didn’t try to fight off the perpetrator and can lead to feelings of guilt and self blame!

Reality: However, freezing is a really common response! When we sense danger our bodies respond in a variety of ways, including tightening our muscles, and increasing cortisol and adrenaline- it is an instinctive survival response to avoid fights and potential further harm! It does not mean consent. 

Myth:  The media can often perpetuate the myth that women lie about sexual violence to get attention! In reality, less than 4% of allegations are false, which is similar across any other criminal offence! 

Reality: Most people who have experienced sexual violence or abuse never tell the police. We believe all survivors. We hear you, we see you, we believe you. we are here to stand in solidarity with you and fight beside you to help end sexual violence. 

Rape myths need to be busted, because they shift the blame for sexual violence onto the victim-survivor and take it away from the perpertrator. This is incredibly damaging because it leads to self blame and guilt, which can prevent people from feeling able to report their experiences. If you are looking for some support around those feelings, then you can find lots of resources here: Self-blame | Rape Crisis England & Wales, but please do get in touch with us via our Helpline. 

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