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New Poster Campaign to Challenge Rape Myths

A striking new campaign has been launched by partner agencies including The Hampton Trust, across the Isle of Wight to raise awareness of rape and serious sexual offences and to challenge rape myths.

A series of posters have been designed to raise awareness of the realities of rape with the aim of giving victims more confidence to seek help and support.

Fleur Gardiner, domestic abuse coordinator for the Isle of Wight Council, said: “No matter how someone dresses, how much they have drunk, or what their relationship is to the perpetrator, sex without consent is rape – and rape is never the victim’s fault.

“Rape is an emotive topic and one that many people will have an opinion on but there is still a lot of misunderstanding around rape and the nature of consent within our society. This is why it is so important to raise awareness of these issues through this campaign.’’

The campaign aims to improve knowledge around consent and rape and to expose rape ‘myths’. For example, there is a myth that most rapes are perpetrated by strangers in dark alleys, when the reality is that most victims are raped by someone they know.

The images chosen for the campaign reflect the fact that the majority of rapes and sexual assaults on the Island (as nationally) are between young people aged 16 to 25 and those in relationships. The council and partner agencies will be working with various organisations to ensure the posters are displayed in areas suitable for each of the target audiences.

In 2013, 146 rapes/sexual offences were reported to the police on the Island (including historic reporting). Although in reality it is thought many more rapes took place but went unreported as victims didn’t have the confidence to come forward for fear of being blamed for what had happened. It is hoped that this campaign will play a part in changing attitudes to rape.

Councillor Phil Jordan, Executive member for public protection, said: “We need people to understand that there are no ‘grey areas’ when it comes to rape – for example, if you think someone might be too drunk to consent to sex, don’t have sex. If you do, and consent was not given, it is rape.

“These posters have been carefully designed to target key audiences and to get people talking about a subject which is often swept under the carpet.”

Chantal Hughes, Chief Executive of The Hampton Trust said:

“Through the support we give to victims as part of our Independent Sexual Violence Advisor Programme, we know how important it is that victims feel able to report sexual violence, that they are supported in the weeks and months after an assault, as well as through the court process. Key to this is the knowledge that they will not be adversely judged because of someone else’s actions against them. The poster plays an important part in raising awareness of this.”

Please look out for the posters, beer mats and stickers that will start appearing across the Island to raise awareness of the campaign, as well as information on Facebook and Twitter and be aware that you can contact us directly on 02380 00 1061.