Archive | December, 2012

Launch of “The way I see it”

6 Dec

(story told by an actress)

Rape prevention needs to focus on perpetrators

Belfast Feminist Network have launched an online campaign to call for a change in the way public safety messages about rape and sexual assault are delivered. The Network commissioned local film company Campaign Social to make the short film “The way I see it” that portrays a survivor of rape talking  about the experience and how she has come to terms with what happened. It also uses statistics from the Northern Ireland Crime Survey report on experiences of sexual violence and abuse to highlight the fact that 1 in 4 women are affected by this crime, with the vast majority of them having prior knowledge of their attacker.

A spokesperson for Belfast Feminist Network described the reason for making the film at this time:

“While there are increased incidents of rape and sexual assault over the Christmas period, the PSNI prevention campaigns in recent years have made the mistake of focusing on telling women how to avoid getting raped, rather than driving home the message that rape is never acceptable and the law places the burden of responsibility on men to seek clear consent. Teaching women to be more careful only serves to make excuses for rape, create a culture of shame for victims that makes it harder to report. This contributes to the very low conviction rates which do not deter attackers. Victim-focused campaigns don’t make women safer as they do nothing to challenge the attitudes and behaviour of men who rape.”

The film will be shared through social media in an attempt to make sure the voices of survivors of rape are heard. The film’s director, Matt Bonner of Campaign Social said:

“The challenge in filming this piece was to portray a side of this issue that campaign ads rarely portray accurately, that of the victim. Through filming in Belfast, I wanted this particular person’s story to have the look and feel of a short film, whilst grounding it locally. It should be something that anyone living here can connect with.”

The film is available to view at belfastfeministnetwork.com and through their Facebook and Twitter pages.  The Network will also be holding a candlelight vigil in Belfast City Centre on Friday at 5:30pm to mark the closing of the international “16 Days” campaign that highlights the issue of violence against women.

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Belfast Feminist Network commission anti-rape film

3 Dec

As a group of busy activists/students/carers/workers/volunteers/everything else in between, the folks at Belfast Feminist Network wanted to do something for the 16 days of action on violence against women that we could work on slowly over that period and produce something important that we wanted to say on the subject of sexual violence, rape culture and victim-blaming. We’ve been doing research, planning a public event and we commissioned local film company Campaign Social to make a short film that will take the messages about how to really stop rape, to the public through the internet.

For the last 2 years we’ve been frustrated by the victim-blaming campaigns trotted out by the PSNI and DHSSPS that do little more than feed into the idea that rape should be prevented by controlling women’s behaviour and encourage a culture that makes excuses for rapists. We challenged this directly and in the press but to no avail. So we decided we might have to do the job ourselves. Earlier this year we had a fundraiser where Rachel Austin and a host of other amazingly talented local female musicians gave their time to help us raise money to produce a campaign of our own.

On Thursday 6th Dec at 6pm you will be able to view the results – the film will be launched here on our website for you to share as widely as possible. We’ve had a sneak peak and Campaign Social have done an amazing job –  it’s pretty powerful so we’re very hopeful about the impact it can have. Consider the countdown started! Check back for updates in the new few days, and please consider joining us for the official launch on Thursday at 7pm  in the Women’s Resource and Development Agency, Belfast. There will also be a candlelight vigil in Corn Market, Belfast City Centre on Friday 7th Dec from 5:30 – 6:30 when we will stand in solidarity with everyone who has experienced sexual violence and give out flyers about the film to the public. Please come along.