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Mumsnet Launches 'We believe You' Campaign

Mumsnet ‘We Believe You’ campaign, is highlighting the results of one of the biggest survey's of its kind which shows the hidden scale of rape and sexual assault in the UK. The survey (completed by over 1,600 women) reveals that of respondents:

  • One in ten had been raped (10%)
  • Over one-third (35%) had been sexually assaulted
  • Almost one-quarter (23%) reported being raped or sexually assaulted four or more times
  • In two-thirds (66%) of cases the women knew the person responsible
  • Many women felt unable to report rape or sexual assault
  • Over four-fifths (83%) of respondents who had been raped or sexually assaulted did not report to the police
  • Over one-quarter (29%) didn’t tell anyone at all, including friends or family
  • Over two-thirds (68%) said they would hesitate reporting to the police due to low conviction rates
  • And over half (53%) would not report due to embarrassment or shame.

The results also reveal that most women feel that rape victims are treated poorly:

  • Nearly three-quarters (70%) of respondents feel the media is unsympathetic to women who report
  • Over half (53%) feel the legal system is unsympathetic
  • And over half (55%) feel society at large is unsympathetic 

In response to these results, Mumsnet is today launching a week-long ‘We Believe You’ campaign. Backed by Rape Crisis, Barnardo’s and the End Violence Against Women coalition. The campaign aims to support women who have suffered rape and sexual assault by raising awareness of how common these crimes are, and challenge the myths that stop people reporting them. Justine Roberts, Mumsnet Co-Founder and CEO, said:

‘The results of our survey are really shocking. We simply shouldn’t accept that we live in a country where one in ten women are raped and over one-third sexually assaulted. Things are made worse by the feeling among many women that they can’t talk about these crimes for fear of being treated unsympathetically, denying them access to practical and emotional support when they need it most. The message from the men and women on Mumsnet is clear: ‘We believe you – and we want others in society to start believing you too.’

Rape Crisis (England and Wales) is pleased to support Mumsnet in its ‘We Believe You’campaign. The findings of the Mumsnet survey reflect the front-line experience of our member Rape Crisis Centres across the country, and we welcome this campaign's determination to dispel the negative myths and misconceptions that often prevent women and girls from accessing the support they want, need and deserve.

Holly Dustin, Director of the End Violence Against Women Coalition (EVAW) said; We fully support Mumsnet’s ‘We Believe You’ campaign and applaud Mumsnetters for shining a spotlight on this issue. When women say they feel that society, the legal system and media are unsympathetic to rape survivors we should sit up and take notice.

We want to see ongoing investment in public campaigns to tackle public attitudes – similar to drink-driving campaigns – as well as work with young people in schools on sexual consent, healthy relationships and gender stereotypes. It is vital that there is proper funding for the National Sexual Violence helpline to support women and girls who are abused.

Rape Crisis, in partnership with Mumsnet and EVAW, are raising awareness of the National Sexual Violence helpline which is a lifeline for thousands of women and girls. Due to lack of dedicated funding, the helpline can only answer around a quarter of calls and has never received central government funding, unlike other helplines.

Rape Crisis aims to expand the helpline to support thousands more women and girls and need to raise funds to do so. To make a donation to the helpline please go to: https://localgiving.com/charity/rasasc