New rape prevention campaign blames women for rape

Last month we wrote about a list of rape prevention tips that went viral after being shared by Sarah Silverman.

The twist was that these tips included pieces of advice such as "don't put drugs in women's drinks" and "if you are in an elevator and a woman gets in, don't rape her".

But the concept of a rape prevention campaign that targets perpetrators rather than victims still seems inconceivable for police in the UK (although this from Greater Manchester Police came close).

This is Sussex Police's new sexual violence prevention poster campaign:

Many people quickly pointed out that it appeared to blame women.

Sarah Green from the End Violence Against Women Coalition said: "We need to get beyond police campaigns giving instructions to women on how to behave to be safe. We need to talk to those who may perpetrate rape and deter them."

She told i100 there was no evidence that this approach works, and questioned why public money was being spent in this way.

In addition, Ms Green said that the posters could actually deter women who have been raped from coming forward, as they appear to place blame elsewhere than solely on the perpetrator.

Despite the backlash, Sussex Police told it had no plans to rethink the campaign.

Chief Inspector Katy Woolford said:

Rape is never a victim’s fault, but as with all crimes we can reduce the number of victims in several ways.

We would be failing in our response if, as with any other crime, we did not recognise that there are victims and urge them to take steps to minimise risks and help safeguard others from becoming victims.

It is vital to be aware of vulnerability so that steps can be taken to guard against it.

Friends and bystanders can play a key role in this, learning to recognise where their intervention may prevent a crime taking place.

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