Sexual Violence Awareness Week 2018: #itsnotok

6 Feb 2018 | Comment

This week commencing on 5 February 2018 is Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week, an initiative which aims to raise awareness of sexual abuse and encourage victims to come forward and talk about their experiences.

In light of this, I thought that I would write about my thoughts on the recently aired TV series, ‘liar’ and the relevant issues that this insightful drama raises.

Firstly, I wold like to say that this TV series is excellent and is well worth a watch if you have not done so already.

In a nutshell, ‘liar’ is about a man and a woman who end up sleeping together after going on a date. All seems fairly normal at this point, until the next morning when the woman accuses the man of raping her, whilst he remains adamant that she consented to the events of the night before. The series consequently tackles the aftermath of the accusations from both parties’ perspectives.

Most interestingly, the programme tackles the issue of the hardship that victims often face once they have been brave enough to come forward and tell someone what has happened. After making her disclosure to the police, the woman becomes frustrated with the lack of progress being made in the police investigations and posts publicly about the incident on social media. She soon receives a backlash of abuse from strangers, attacking her and discrediting her allegations, without knowing either party or knowing what has actually happened. To use the hashtag associated with the Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week, #THISISNOTOK.

The victim’s case in “Liar” demonstrates that it so important that you receive proper advice. This does not necessarily have to be the authorities as this situation applies to victims opening up to anyone, whether this be family, friends, anonymous helplines, anyone. However, should you wish to contact the authorities, the Police do have a variety of specialist units available that offer victim support, including units that offer help within specific communities, such as the LGBT community. Victims are encouraged to come forward and talk about what has happened to them. By doing so they are not only helping themselves but others too and in particular those who might be apprehensive about coming forward.

This problem does not just apply to women, but also applies to men as well.

A 2015 survey estimated about 96% of offences against males go unreported.

The figures, given to the BBC after a request, show that reports of sexual assaults against males went from 2,687 to 7,610 (+183%) and rape reports rose from 1,132 to 4,520 (+299%) between 2006-07 and 2016-17.

Over the same period, reports of sexual assaults against females rose from 21,128 to 38,186 (+80.7%) and rape reports went from 12,599 to 36,639 (+190%).

As Alan Collins, specialist solicitor in the field of child abuse litigation, so aptly put it ‘we are living in an “interesting time” with the barriers of prejudice falling away. But it would be complacent to think that it still does not exist, and there are no taboos still to be busted.’

This turning of the tide emphasises the need to continue to raise awareness and encourage victims to come forward and offer them the support that they need and deserve, following events that nobody ever deserves.

Hugh James can assist in making a compensation claim on behalf of those that have suffered abuse, and can act on a no win, no fee basis.

For more information on how we can help, click here.

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