26 September 2017   |  Last Updated 28-04-2015 03:22

      St Mary's Centre backs 'This Doesn't Mean Yes' anti-rape campaign

      AN ANTI-RAPE campaign has been launched in an effort to stamp out victim blaming.

       

      The #ThisDoesntMeanYes campaign aims to tackle the myths of consent and the suggestion that a woman’s behaviour and clothing meant she was ‘asking for it’.

       

      St Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC), based at St Mary’s Hospital in Manchester, has shared their support for the campaign.

       

      Bernie Ryan, the centre manager at St Mary’s SARC, said: “There are many myths and stereotypes around rape and sexual violence and campaigns like this can help to raise awareness and encourage greater understanding of the issues among the general public.”

      St Mary’s SARC is based on Oxford Road and provides services to men, children and young people as well as women.

      Last year, the centre provided support to around 1,400 clients.

       

      Ms Ryan added: “What you were wearing, whether you had something to drink, where you were when it happened are all issues that seek to blame the victim for the assault.

       

      “Our experience and knowledge at St Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre tells us that rape and sexual assault can happen to anyone, at any time and often the assault is by someone known to the victim.

       

      “At St Mary’s Centre we see men, women and children who have experienced rape or sexual violence."

       

      The organisers of the initiative said: “Every woman has a right to freedom of expression.

       

      “No woman deserves to be raped for it - no one should be able to blame rape on a short skirt.”

       

      The movement was created by Rape Crisis London who provides specialist services to girls and women who have been victims of sexual violence.

       

      #ThisDoesntMeanRape featured a photoshoot with over 200 women in Shoreditch, with the option for more people across the country to get involved by using the hashtag.

      The photographs were taken by fashion photographer Perou, who has previously worked with Daniel Radcliffe.

      Followers of the campaign have took to Instagram and Twitter to show their support for #ThisDoesntMeanYes.

       

      I live in a pretty dodgy area so being harassed by men is a daily occurrence. It's not okay to make women feel uncomfortable wherever they walk especially young women who have come to university to find themselves and explore their freedom. I've had to ring a friend once to walk me home after being consistently harassed and followed. This had a pretty mean affect on me as I have anxiety and completely freaked out. I'm thankful for the people in my life who are protective over me. Wearing red lipstick, or exposing my skin, having blonde hair or an ass does not mean you have every right to hassle me #thisdoesntmeanyes tagged a few pretty ladies to help raise awareness â˜ÂðŸÂ¼ï¸Â

      A photo posted by carleypieterse (@carleypieterse) on

       

      So- @oldfashionedsus tagged me for the #thisdoesntmeanyes campaign. While I definitely support this whole #antirape campaign immensely, I was going back-and-forth as what to post regarding it. There's so much that you can say regarding how a woman dresses herself and the various levels of attention that she can get from society. Growing up I was never told how to dress by my parents, they always trusted my judgement no matter what I wore- often times my outfits being very revealing / questionable (hey, we all were teenagers). Yes, I have received ridicule in the past from my peers, in the occasional "but EVERYTHING she wears is tight…" or "her skirt is SO short, she must be asking for the attention" comment. But the truth is and always was- what I wore, what I do wear, and what I will wear, IS FOR ME. Now cue this image: Last night I wore this exact foundation outfit with a sheer black 1950's nylon dress over it and a fitted cropped leather jacket. With heels of course. I went for a mini-date/drink with my boyfriend to one of the nicest hotels in San Diego. As we were leaving, a group of middle-aged men were standing by the elevator and one of them caught glance of my bum through the dress. This sparked a frenzy of gawking and childish whispered remarks. In me, it sparked a feeling of vulnerability; their prying faces. And then I knew- that's exactly what the #thisdoesntmeanyes campaign is for. Just because I'm wearing something that you find revealing, or shocking, doesn't mean I'm asking for or welcoming your harassment. I wear what I wear for me. And yes, you may be able to see my bum- but that doesn't mean yes.

      A photo posted by Butch Wax Vintage (@butchwaxvintage) on



      By Rebekah Dewhurst

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