Sexual assault is much more commonplace than many of us would like to admit. Even in spaces where we feel safe and around people we think we can trust. The likelihood of being assaulted is higher if you are part of an already systemically oppressed group, and higher and higher if you are part of more than one of these groups. Part of that systematic oppression means marginalised people are less likely to be listened or to be believed.
If someone tells you they have been harassed or sexual assaulted, the most productive thing to do is listen to them. Believe them. Take it seriously. Racism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, mental health stigmas can also play into the abuse, so don’t minimise this. Give the person time and space to speak. Trauma causes inconsistencies, focus on that person’s safety and let them decide how to proceed.
Conviction rates for rape are far lower than for other crimes, with crime statistics estimating the number of actual rapes is six times greater than what is reported. Of that small percentage who do recieve custodial sentences, less than 13% are BAME. While 27% of callers to Rape Crisis are BAME. White supremacy has a lot to answer for but we can’t let white supremacy and misogny further endanger WOC or any marginalised groups.
- 1 in 5 women aged 16 – 59 has experienced some form of sexual violence since the age of 16 *(A)
- Approximately 90% of those who are raped know the perpetrator prior to the offence*(A)
- 95 per cent of all Rape Crisis service users were female *(A)
- Where ethnicity is known, 27% of Rape Crisis services users were Black or Minority Ethnic, an increase from 23% in 2014-15 *(A)
- 23% of all service users identified as Disabled *(A)
- males accounted for the vast majority of offenders found guilty for sexual offences (99.0%) *(B)
- 1,487 (97.1%) Where ethnicity is known, sexual offenders cautioned were 4.7 per cent were Black (compared with 7.5%); 6.1 per cent were Asian (compared with 5.2%); 1.4 % were of ‘other’ ethnicity. *(B)
- Only around 15% of those who experience sexual violence choose to report to the police *(A)
- “It is widely recognised that rape is under-reported, with many more rapes committed than are reported to and recorded by the police.” Crime statisticians estimate that the number of actual rapes is about six times greater, which if true would mean that the proportion of people actually convicted for rape is tiny. *(C)
- Conviction rates for rape are far lower than other crimes, with only 5.7% of reported rape cases ending in a conviction for the perpetrator. (Kelly, Lovett and Regan, A gap or a chasm? Attrition in reported rape cases, 2005) *(A)
- July 2011, Crown Prosecution Services
For a period of 17 months there were 5,651 prosecutions for rape and 111,891 for domestic violence (117,542 total). 35 prosecutions for making false allegations of rape, 6 for false allegation of domestic violence and 3 for false allegations of both rape and domestic violence (44 total). The report shows that a significant number of these cases involved young, often vulnerable people. About half of the cases involved people aged 21 years old and under, and some involved people with mental health difficulties. In some cases, the person alleged to have made the false report had undoubtedly been the victim of some kind of offence, even if not the one which he or she had reported. *(D)
- 14% of population is BAME *(E)
- we don’t need to protect BAME men from rape accusations because they aren’t in danger of going to prison (the 13%)
we do need to protect BAME women because they are being assaulted at a higher rate than the whites (27%)
(A) Rape Crisis England & Wales headline statistics 2015-16
(B) An Overview of Sexual Offending in England and Wales
(C) The report (by Crown Prosecution Services released Oct 13 2016, https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/oct/13/reported-rapes-in-england-and-wales-double-in-five-years)
(D) Crown Prosecution Services