Working For Survivors
Content Note: Contains screenshots of abusive tweets.
Rape Crisis Scotland is Scotland’s leading organisation working to transform attitudes, improve responses and ultimately to end rape and sexual violence in all its forms. Our helpline is open to anyone – including women, trans and non-binary people, men and boys – affected by sexual violence. Access it nightly from 6pm – midnight on 08088 01 03 02, text on 07537 410 027 or email email@example.com.
Accessing support is – for many survivors – a daunting and difficult thing to do. We think that all survivors should be supported to access specialist services when they are ready and that these should be available at the point of need.
Sexual violence is a gendered and has a disproportionate impact on women and girls; our services reflect that. Women only spaces are a core principle of the Rape Crisis movement and upheld through our National Service Standards (read these here). These spaces include women with a diverse range of lived experience and views, including trans women and girls.
Over the weekend we became aware of coordinated and harmful claims circulating about Rape Crisis services in Scotland, stemming from a twitter thread that questioned the provision of women-only spaces in Rape Crisis Centres.
Fuelling misinformation about what support looks like, and what can be expected from support services, is harmful and creates a barrier to accessing support. It is deeply regrettable that some see fit to do this. We hear often from survivors that engaging with Rape Crisis support saved their life, and we would urge people fearmongering about services to consider the impact that dissuading people from accessing support has on survivors. This is not compatible with our view of a feminist Scotland.
We engage, and will continue to do so, in good faith conversations about what support Rape Crisis offers, and what that support looks like in practice, because it helps survivors to know what to expect when they reach out. While we normally refrain from commenting on the abuse we receive on social media, to focus on our vital work, we are responding here to reiterate the principles that guide our work in supporting survivors.
- The core value that underpins all Rape Crisis support is of being non-judgemental. We meet every survivor who engages with us, whether through a one-off helpline call or continued local support, as an individual and work with them to establish their needs, and how best to work with them to come to terms with what has happened and move forward after sexual violence.
- Our services are trauma informed. This means that we work collaboratively and are non-directive – we won’t ever tell someone what to do, or what not to do – to restore a survivor’s sense of control over their own journey. Rape Crisis workers across Scotland understand trauma, the many ways in which it can manifest, and work with compassion and dedication to meet the needs of survivors. This is vital, life-saving work.
- We are feminist. Our work is underpinned by a feminist understanding of violence and inequality and our services are committed to being women-led and the provision of women only spaces and services. We are proudly diverse, intergenerational and inclusive and strive to ensure that all survivors in Scotland receive the response and support that they need and deserve.
For some time now Rape Crisis Scotland have been subject to targeted campaigns of mis and disinformation that distort the reality of specialist service provision. Oftentimes this has incited significant abuse, of which we offer examples at the bottom of this post.
We have invested significant capacity in trying to respond to these attacks – to offer reassurance about the reality of Rape Crisis provision, our ethos and values and commitment to supporting survivors. Our time and capacity is limited. Communications at Rape Crisis Scotland are handled by a tiny team who are also working daily to shift attitudes and public perceptions of sexual violence, improve media coverage, support local centres, and platform the voices and experiences of survivors. This is the work we should be focusing on.
Thank you, as ever, to those who continue to support our work with donations, volunteer hours, and solidarity. To any survivor looking to access Rape Crisis support, we will always do everything within our power to be here when you need us.
Call: 08088 01 03 02
Text: 07537 410 027