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sexual violence.

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Phone the free Rape Crisis Scotland Helpline
Every day, 6pm to midnight


Artemisia Gentileschi: transcendent survivor

Bridgeton lived up to its name last week as a unique presence took up Artemisiatemporary residence in one of its most treasured institutions, bringing together as she did so the culture of 17th century Italy with contemporary Scotland.

Since her painting ‘Self-portrait as St Catherine of Alexandria’ went on display last Wednesday, Artemisia Gentileschi has cast her quiet glance over the many visitors who have stopped by the Glasgow Women’s Library to see what all the fuss is about, and has generated many discussions about the significance of that glance, and much else.

2.8 wasted years and grief that I will carry forever

It’s been one month since the end of my rape trial and 2 years and 10 woman looks downmonths of me waiting for it to be over, however, it’s never really going to be over because, in the end, there was no resolve.
The end result was the Not Proven verdict.

[Photo by Aricka Lewis on Unsplash]

When I left the court room after the closing statements the only real update I could give to my friends and family is that if the man who did this did not end up in jail then really, no victims of sexual assault stand any sort of a chance in the justice system - and that means we continue to live in a broken society where sexual assault continues to be rife. I knew the chance of conviction was low but it was none the less traumatising to witness and experience first hand the level of impunity.

Corroborating lack of consent in rape cases

At Rape Crisis Scotland, we know that many people freeze during a traumatic Frozenexperience such a rape meaning that there is often little or no physical injury.

The Lord Advocate’s Reference in 2001
clarified that force was not required to prove rape (it also removed the peculiar anomaly that someone who was sleeping couldn’t be raped and would instead be prosecuted for clandestine injury). However, in a legal jurisdiction which requires corroboration of the key elements of a crime, there can be significant challenges in proving lack of consent in rape cases.

Since the Lord Advocate’s Reference, the law has developed to recognise the role of distress as a means of helping corroborate lack of consent. This is not, however, without its challenges. Reactions to rape can be counter intuitive: many people don’t display visible distress or disclose what has happened straight away.
It is not uncommon for survivors to tell no one who has happened, and to try to carry on their lives as normal, for hours, days, weeks or longer.

This creates an intrinsic difficulty in using complainer distress as a means of corroborating lack of consent.

Gillette: Changing the game

Anyone in any doubt as to the need for the new Gillette campaign need look Gillette no further than the foaming outrage which has greeted it all over the Twittersphere and other media platforms.

The reaction from many in its (clearly target) audience was instant and visceral, branding the ad part of the ‘current pathetic global assault on masculinity’ ‘cultural Marxism’, ‘belittling or emotionally manipulating men’ as they tossed their razors into the bin, like so many toys out of a pram. Yet a moment’s reflection on the actual content of the ad shows that the range of male behaviour it showcases is not confined to stereotypical displays of bullying, physical assault, groping, sexist mansplaining & demeaning language – also featured are thoughtful intervention, kindness, caring concern, peaceful resolution – bravery, in short, in the form of stepping in when it might be so much easier not to.

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