“We hope it does not become another barrier to disclosure”: our statement on Ched Evans Trial
14th October 2016
Polly Neate, Chief Executive of Women’s Aid, said:
“We hope that this case and the publicity surrounding it does not prevent rape survivors from reporting their abuse. Whatever the outcome of any case, no woman should be criticised or blamed for saying she has been raped. With other crimes, we do not blame anyone when the accused is found not guilty. With rape this is even more important.
“A report this week from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary showed that in 1 in 4 rape cases the victim does not press ahead with prosecution. This is often because of victim-blaming pressures and the stigma attached to rape. In addition, today it has been reported that survivors face losing child tax credits if they do not disclose the child was the result of rape. Women who have experienced sexual abuse need support and understanding, but we are seeing more barriers to disclosure than ever. We hope this trial and its outcome does not become yet another barrier. A woman’s past sexual history bears no relevance on whether or not they have been a victim of rape. There is a need to challenge pervasive cultural assumptions that equate a woman’s former sexual history with her likelihood of being a victim of rape.”