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Don't blame the rape victims!
A POLICE poster campaign in Worcester has caused fury after allegedly suggesting women who get drunk could be to blame if they are raped.
Jocelyn Anderson, chief officer at Worcestershire Rape and Sexual Assault Support Centre (WRSASC), said they had not been consulted on the artwork for West Mercia Police ’s recent Safe Night Out campaign.
She wants the force to remove the posters, one aimed at women and the other at men, which both feature the warning ‘Don’t let a night full of promise turn into a morning full of regrets’.
However, West Mercia Police have defended the campaign, which was launched to cover three weekends identified as being an annual peak time for attacks during which alcohol had been consumed by the victim, attacker or both.
Campaigners, though, are outraged at one of the posters’ warning to women that excessive drinking could leave them vulnerable to regretful sex or rape while the male version said they ‘could’ be breaking the law and arrested if someone hasn’t given their consent for sex or touching.
Ms Anderson said: “There is no could be about it – that’s rape – and to put regretful sex and rape together is appalling. We are now in a really sad situation where we can’t support a police campaign. The posters need to come down.”
To support the campaign, police released a video featuring a female rape victim which it said was a bid to encourage women to cut down on how much they drink on a night out.
During the video the victim says she wishes to make others aware of the dangers of drinking too much, which she believes played a part in her attack.
Her account ends with her saying that she has now learnt to drink less and stay in control.
In response to the angry response, West Mercia released a statement, which said: “To claim that the force believes rape victims are to blame for what happens to them is to misunderstand the motives of the campaign: the only person to blame for someone being raped is the rapist.
“It is not true to claim that the campaign focuses solely on the behaviour of victims.”