Sunday, October 21, 2007

Cosmo on Rape Crisis centres

Cosmo mag has an important article this month about the closures of Rape Crisis centres in the UK. Though rather blindingly thoughtless and piss-poor they had a article recently on this new phenomenon called "grey rape", "a situation in which they [a woman] never intended to have sex, but wound up forced into it because until that point, they’d been a willing participant".
It seemed to me that the glossy was capitulating to the that old adage of "woman blaming". But also diminishing and denigrating rape by continuing the myths that are attached to it. So a woman, by definition of "grey rape", has been a little bit raped but not totally. Grrrrrr! Give me strength!!!! Rape is rape. No means no!

Anyway, less of my ire and frothing at the mouth at right-wing Cosmo's insentivity, contradictory messages and rank stupidity (but hey, what can I expect at a glossy that champions the multiple orgasms, swanky top-notch jobs in the city...none of that low paid shit, latest skin care product that will set you back a month's salary, how to be a size zero and please your maaaan in the bedroom...but don't expect full support and solidarity over issues like rape)
And yet............Cosmo comes up with this article on the closure of rape crisis centres (you'll need to buy the mag to read the piece). In 1985 there were 84 centres now that has been reduced to 32. Half of these have been threatened with closure. One centre in High Wycombe has had to withdraw some of its services due to funding cuts. Around 200 women were helped last year.

"We can no longer offer counselling or help with court procedures or befriending".
And many of these women are desperate for someone to talk to regarding their experience of rape. Where can they go? Who can they speak to?
Milton Keynes and York no longer have centres. The organisation Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre for Women in Merseyside (RASA) is totally overstretched and can't cope with demand.

The government, meanwhile, is chucking cash at Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARC) that are police and health service led centres, which deal with the immediate aftermath of rape. The Havens in London does vital and important work for countless women yet..... there is still a place for Rape Crisis Centres as they support women for the long the term, independent, friendlier, less clinical (no matter how understanding health professionals and cops are) and many women who work for Rape Crisis centres are survivors of rape and sexual abuse. They kinda know what you are going through and show so much empathy.

Home Office minister Meg Hillier argues: "This year the government is investing around £3m into practical support for victims of these crimes"...

Absolute peanuts and a drop in the ocean financially. It is pathetic! Rape Crisis centres are a vital service in supporting women.

As Laura (a counsellor for Rape Crisis and rape survivor) says: "People assume we'll always be there and the thought that we might be able to help someone is too terrible to contemplate".