Survey: Women, Rape and the Law

// 27 October 2009

The Campaign to End Rape coalition is conducting a survey on women’s attitudes to and experiences of rape and the law:

This questionnaire aims to collect some fresh information about what women think and know about rape. It is aimed at any woman, whether or not you have experienced rape, as we want to know what you think on this topic. We are using the word rape to mean unwanted sexual acts that you are willing to tell us about.

The information that we collect from this survey will be used to draw attention to women’s ideas about rape, what we want, whether we can find what we need after rape and what is happening in the law, from women’s perspectives.

You can find out more and take the survey here.

Comments From You

Gauntlet // Posted 27 October 2009 at 8:02 pm

On a related note, I’ve just listened to today’s Woman’s Hour and there wasa pice about jurors misconceptions about rape: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/womanshour/03/2009_43_tue.shtml

Claire // Posted 2 November 2009 at 2:29 pm

I have dutifully completed the survey. I do get so tired though of all these well meaning surveys that I have answered over the past few years. They focus almost entirely on criminal justice. I honestly believe, as a rape victim, that criminal justice is a tiny part of my healing. But even feminist surveys focus on it, like if rapists were locked up for an appropriate period, we’d all be living in a perfect world. What about my healing? Is that not worth running a survey on – or must we continue to focus on the role of men in this crime rather than on the needs of the victim?

Most victims’ suffering, even where a rapist is jailed, doesn’t end the day that sentence is passed. And we know that most rapes don’t end up with anything like criminal justice. Does that mean that the survey just sweeps them under the carpet?

There needs to be much more focus on caring for the needs of victims, than on criminal justice.

And I would like to see better, fuller surveys which cover how rape victims are cared for, rather than making some perpetrator-focussed assumption that punishment of the crime solves all our problems.

Especially in the light of recent convictions of women for false rape claims, criminal justice for rape victims is becoming like the toss of a coin on who is lying – tails he’s lying, heads she is – either way, one person has to go to jail for lying. There is no genuine care for the trauma that the rape victim goes through.

I feel that answering these surveys is just helping people to make political points about the inadequacy of the police and criminal justice system and fails to properly address my needs. I’m not saying don’t answer the surveys, but I am saying that it’s a bit like asking someone who was at the World Trade Center on 9/11 whether the experience has shaken their faith in airline security.

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