Men Can Stop Rape event in Glasgow, Tuesday 1st September 2009

August 27, 2009

This free seminar is organised by Rape Crisis Scotland & the White Ribbon Scotland Campaign, and provides an opportunity to hear more about what men can do to stop violence against women. Speakers include Joe Samalin from the ground breaking American organisation Men Can Stop Rape , and John Watson from Amnesty International speaking about the White Ribbon Campaign in Scotland. There will also be a panel discussion which will provide an opportunity for you to ask any questions you may have about the important role that men can play in challenging issues such as rape.

Date: Tuesday 1st September 2009
Time: 6-8pm (Refreshments from 5.30pm. Seminar starts at 6pm).
Location: Centre for Contemporary Arts, 350 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow

The seminar is free but you should reserve a place:-
Phone: 0141 331 4180


Rape Crisis Scotland – Legal Conference – Glasgow, 4th March 2008

February 11, 2008

Rape Crisis Scotland will be holding a conference in Glasgow on 4th March 2008.

Entitled “Legal responses to Rape: Redressing the Balance“, the conference will examine the new draft legislation around rape and sexual assault, as well as related subjects such as prosecuting rape, sexual history and character evidence, and independent legal representation for rape complainers.

Speakers will include the Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill and Lord Advocate Elish Angiolini.

The full programme and booking form are available here in pdf format.
The booking form is also available here in Word format.

Launch of Rape Crisis Scotland national helpline

October 17, 2007

The launch of the new Rape Crisis Scotland National Helpline took place on Thursday 11th October 2007.

The National Helpline is for anyone affected by sexual violence, no matter when or how it happened. It is open from 6pm to midnight, 7 days a week, offers free and confidential initial and crisis support and information. The helpline can also put people in touch with local rape crisis centres or other services for ongoing support. The helpline offers a minicom service for Deaf or hard of hearing people, and can arrange for language interpreters for callers whose first language is not English.

The freephone National Helpline number (voice and minicom) is: 08088 01 03 02

STV report – watch video online
Glasgow Evening Times article

Rape Crisis Scotland national helpline poster

Scottish government commits to reform the law on rape

September 9, 2007

Excellent news – via Rape Crisis Scotland news with permission

On Wednesday 5th September 2007, the First Minister gave a commitment to prioritise reform of the law on rape, following on from the Scottish Law Commission’s review. In his speech, “Principles and Priorities: Programme for Government”, Mr Salmond says:

“In the area of criminal law, we’ll introduce our Rape and Sexual Offences Bill – to reform the law on rape and sexual offences in light of the Scottish Law Commission’s review.

Presiding Officer, if any member was ever in doubt about the need for action in this area, the figures published yesterday will have made the position clear.

At the same time as a 10% rise in sexual assaults, clear up rates for rape and indecent assault fell to 67% and 59% respectively.

Part of that is due to a lack of confidence from victims that the legal process will secure a conviction and it is therefore right that this Government and this Parliament acts.”

In response to questioning from Margaret Curran MSP, the First Minister also confirmed that he would match the previous administration’s record £3m funding for rape crisis services in Scotland. Mr Salmond further confirmed that he would reform the law in Scotland relating to the admission of sexual history evidence.

More on the Cosmo article

September 9, 2007

So I was at Luton Airport on Thursday and found myself browsing the magazines in WH Smith. It turns out they sell the US version of Cosmo so I bought it in the name of research (the article doesn’t appear in the UK version). The piece itself is as bad as has been reported – I plan to scan it as soon as I can and post the text here so that non-US readers can see it for themselves.

My sister used to read Cosmo, but it’s been a long time since I’d looked at it. Reading through the magazine on the flight home (well I had to pass the time somehow) I was shocked by how poor the magazine was, and worried about the messages it sends to young women. Most of the articles seemed to be about ‘how to please your man’, and ‘how to keep your man’, with the underlying implication that he might just get bored and leave if you don’t pander to his every desire. I couldn’t help thinking that most of the articles read like they were written by a man (they’re not, AFAIK)! If it wasn’t for the gender stereotyping (makeup, fashion and dating VS cars, football and porn) then I’m afraid Cosmo’s portayal of women wasn’t much better than some lads mags. With one difference of course – Cosmo is all about how to satisfy your man, Zoo and Nuts ignore relationships and how to please your girlfriend, and suggests you wank over some porn star or go to a lap dance club instead. Let me be clear about this – I hate Lads Mags and the way they are now accepted as part of mainstream culture, and are openly sold on low shelves in WH Smiths. I hate the pornification of our culture and the impact this has on men’s attitudes to women. I suppose I naively expected Cosmo to be  a bit different, but the “gray rape” article was indicative of the magazine as a whole, and the journalistic bias to re-enforcing patriarchial systems.

Laura Session Stepp who wrote this article, also wrote Unhooked: How Young Women Pursue Sex, Delay Love and Lose at Both, where she first used the term.

If you want to send a letter to Cosmopolitan follow this link to the The NYC Media Response Project Letter Writing Campaign, “There’s No Such Thing as Gray Rape.”

For more discussion on this topic check out these other blog posts:

White Ribbon Canada

Cosmo and the “gray rape” article

September 5, 2007

There is a great piece today on Feministing about Cosmopolitan’s (non) response to the “gray rape” article in their most recent edition. I suspect the article is only in the North American print magazine and not the UK version – I must check that up. Does anyone know?

“Gray rape” is a stupid and offensive idea – these are supposedly situations in which the existence of consent can be contested and thus women are not entirely sure whether or not their rape was, in fact, a rape at all! This is dangerous journalism and yet again focuses blame on victims rather than perpetrators of sexual violence.

Richard McCadam of the White Ribbon Campaign in Canada has also written about the article on his blog. He posts a challenge which I have seen several times before but which I think is worth repeating here

‘A lot has been said about how to prevent rape. Women should learn self-defense. Women should lock themselves in their houses after dark. Women shouldn’t have long hair and women shouldn’t wear short skirts. Women shouldn’t leave drinks unattended. Hell, they shouldn’t dare to get drunk at all. Instead of that bullshit, how about:

If a woman is drunk, don’t rape her.
If a woman is walking alone at night, don’t rape her.
If a woman is drugged and unconscious, don’t rape her.
If a woman is wearing a short skirt, don’t rape her.
If a woman is jogging in a park at 5 am, don’t rape her.
If a woman looks like your ex-girlfriend you’re still hung up on, don’t rape her.
If a woman is asleep in her bed, don’t rape her.
If a woman is asleep in your bed, don’t rape her.
If a woman is doing her laundry, don’t rape her.
If a woman is in a coma, don’t rape her.
If a woman changes her mind in the middle of or about a particular activity, don’t rape her.
If a woman has repeatedly refused a certain activity, don’t rape her.
If a woman is not yet a woman, but a child, don’t rape her.
If your girlfriend or wife is not in the mood, don’t rape her.
If your step-daughter is watching TV, don’t rape her.If you break into a house and find a woman there, don’t rape her.
If your friend thinks it’s okay to rape someone, tell him it’s not, and that he’s not your friend.
If your “friend” tells you he raped someone, report him to the police.
If your frat-brother or another guy at the party tells you there’s an unconscious woman upstairs and it’s your turn, don’t rape her, call the police and tell the guy he’s a rapist.
Tell your sons, god-sons, nephews, grandsons, sons of friends it’s not okay to rape someone.
Don’t tell your women friends how to be safe and avoid rape.
Don’t imply that she could have avoided it if she’d only done/not done x.
Don’t imply that it’s in any way her fault.
Don’t let silence imply agreement when someone tells you he “got some” with the drunk girl.
Don’t perpetuate a culture that tells you that you have no control over or responsibility for your actions. You can, too, help yourself’

(emphasis from RGM)