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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5 Responses to “Launch of “The way I see it””

  1. Lauren Arthur December 6, 2012 at 10:55 pm #

    Hey,

    I was wondering why you say that Rape prevention needs to focus on perpetrators but then you describe a film that is about the victim not the perpetrator?

    Also, why you only refer to women as victims of rape and only to men as perpetrators?

    Surely this is just creating more stigma for different groups by making it a crime only experienced by women and only perpetrated by men?

    Finally, why victims at all, why not targets?

    A film designed to prevent rape that used the perpetrator as its focus would surely tell the perpetrators story. Because of this it would resonate with people who were beginning to cultivate abusive relationships with people within their families/friendship circles/workplaces. It would look at the types of grooming behaviour that lead to these crimes and also the aftermath. It would look at the power struggles and terminology of justification that the perpetrators might use and would recognise if seen in a film such as the one proposed.

    It would look at consent and responsibility, violence, respect and self-respect.

    Thanks,

    Lauren

    Date: Thu, 6 Dec 2012 18:18:34 +0000 To: laurenarthur@hotmail.co.uk

    • soisaystoher December 7, 2012 at 11:33 pm #

      Hi Lauren, thanks for your response. The kind of approach you described (focusing more on the viewpoint of a perpetrator and what might be making them abusive) was one of the options we discussed in the planning stages so i totally take your point that it would be a very direct message to perpetrators. In the end, we really wanted to tell an empowering story from a survivors perspective that explores how the victim blaming messages made her feel but also shows how she overcame that and she basically challenges or calls bullshit on the idea that she in some way caused what happened to her. Why did we choose this? for one thing, it’s a true experience that women in our group had soit meant we had a chance to tell an honest story put together by people that had lived through it. if we’d tried t tell it from a perpetrator’s perspective we would be kind of guessing a little. But mostly we decided not to make something as focused on perpetrators as campaigns like “Don’t be that guy” or “Men can stop rape” as we’ve never had anything like that in northern ireland and we thought a good first step was to let women whove experienced this tell it from their perspective and say “we won’t put up with a culture that tries to silence us by making us ashamed”. It is certainly my hope that the authorities would take this issue on in the future, maybe take a lead from the work we’ve done and produce a more perpatrator focused campaign. i hope this answers the questions. thanks for getting in touch. Kellie

      • soisaystoher December 7, 2012 at 11:41 pm #

        I also just remembered you raised the issue of why we didn’t talk about the fact that men are victims of rape too. it is important and it’s probably just as under-reported as assault against women, if not moreso. we also discussed this. i think we went with the female character because we are looking at this issue as part of the wider problem of violence against women – we’re aware of the fact that the vast majority of people raped or sexually assaulted every year are women, it is clearly a crime that has a gender dynamic to it. 1 in 4 women have experienced it. in the northern ireland stats women are 5 times more likely than men to be sexually assaulted. so we’re looking at this as something that is connected to wider issues of sexism and the fact that there are clearly still a lot of men out there who don’t see women as fully equal human beings if so many are willing to abuse their physical power and treat women as objects. but i totally take your point about men also being affected.

  2. corkfeminista December 6, 2012 at 11:08 pm #

    Reblogged this on Cork Feminista and commented:
    Everyone – WATCH THIS!

  3. Squish January 6, 2013 at 4:22 pm #

    Hey, I’m having trouble viewing this, the vimeo wont play smoothly. I’ve tried searching for it elsewhere but can’t find it, is there a youtube or similar link?

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