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Groundhog Day

As we mark the second of the 16 Days of Action for 2018, we are honoured to Splashshare this searing account from the mother of a young woman who was raped, of the impact she and the rest of the family experienced in the days immediately following the assault.

This devastating diary communicates powerfully the terrible dislocation wrought by sexual violence on not only the young woman herself, but on everyone in her family. [Photo by Kai Dahms on Unsplash]

Rape Crisis Scotland’s national helpline supports anyone affected by sexual violence at any time in their lives. Call 08088 01 03 02 any evening between 6pm and midnight, or email us on support@rapecrisisscotland.org.uk

Scottish justice system places a higher value on Rolex watches than on raped women and children

Guest blog by @giantyellowbumblebee (Twitter) justice

The Gleneagles armed robbery case of two men stealing mo
re than £500,000 worth of luxury watches from a boutique at the five star hotel caught my attention due to the high sentences given: totalling 29 years between 2 men; 18 years and 11 years.

A Defence lawyer on Radio Scotland said this was due to the 'high value' of the crime and because it was 'violent in nature'. A discussion evolved with John Beattie citing rape case sentencing of five years for a perpetrator who raped a women who was sleeping, compared with the high sentencing given in this armed robbery. The Judge sentencing in this case stated the criminals carried out 'an act of serious premeditated criminality'.

Rape Crisis Scotland: supporting survivors & campaigning for change

It may seem strange to highlight the fact that Rape Crisis Scotland’s Stop Rapeprimary focus and central purpose is supporting survivors, yet some recent commentary, particularly online, has made this seem like an opportune moment to do just that.

For while we run a national helpline to offer support to anyone affected by sexual violence (to talk through with them the many painful struggles that can follow this experience, help them identify options for moving forward and, if they want to, take action or seek other practical assistance) our remit and what ‘supporting survivors’ actually means, extends well beyond a front-facing service for those in crisis and their friends and families.

‘Supporting survivors’ also means campaigning for change in their interests, to help them get proper access to the justice for what has happened to them, and to prevent survivors being further harmed or deterred from speaking out. It means challenging directly and campaigning to change societal structures, processes, and institutions which can act as barriers to people who have experienced sexual violence when they seek redress or justice – barriers which can all too often seriously compound the impact of that violence and make things very much worse.

Review of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme announced

Today saw the announcement of a long-awaited review of the Criminal JusticeInjuries Compensation Scheme.

A landmark case in July saw a woman challenge and successfully overturn an element of legislation relating to Criminal Injuries Compensation, which had previously barred victims of a crime from claiming compensation if they had lived under the same roof with the perpetrator of that crime prior to 1979. In the case of JT, the challenger in the case in July, this meant that in spite of the years of sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of her stepfather, she was not entitled to claim compensation until the ruling, because, in spite of the fact that as a child she had no control over the matter, she lived in the same house as her abuser. The UK government is not appealing against the decision, and will introduce secondary legislation to abolish the rule.

Speaking out - and speaking out

Moments like this, when so much media preoccupation (both mainstream and social) is centred on allegations of sexual harassment, offer a timely opportunity to highlight the impact of public statements on sexual violence, which all too often lose sight entirely of their very real impact on survivors.

Taking the step to report any sexual crime can be difficult, and it’s vital that when someone does, they know that they can do so with confidence that they will be both believed and supported, and that proper procedures will follow. [Image © Laura Dodsworth]