BAFTA winning actress Georgina Campbell is helping Rape Crisis launch #BreakTheSilence
Rape Crisis England & Wales member Centre, Rape Crisis South London has launched #BreakTheSilence, a campaign aimed at helping explain and demystify the criminal justice system for teenage girls who have experienced rape, and empower them to speak out.
In the last 12 months, Rape Crisis Independent Sexual Violence Advocates (ISVAs) have witnessed a significant rise in referrals of young women and girls in their teens who have experienced sexual violence. This increase has also been confirmed by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which recently revealed that in the last year, 3 in 10 (30%) of rape victims were under the age of 16.
Increasingly, Rape Crisis ISVAs have found that young survivors who report rape are more likely to withdraw from the criminal justice system than others. Reasons behind this include fear of being ostracised at school, not being believed and being considered ‘soiled’ or ‘dirty’, and the fact that a stigma still surrounds sexual violence in society. Another main barrier is that the processes involved in the criminal justice system for rape cases, and the informative material available, can often be difficult to understand, intimidating and overwhelming, particularly for young survivors.
To help combat this, Rape Crisis South London has created a series of short films which follow the journey of Leila, a young survivor, as she goes through the system. Clarifying the support available, the films take survivors through Leila’s experience of speaking out; from seeking support from a Rape Crisis ISVA to reporting to the police and giving evidence in court.
Award-winning actress Georgina Campbell, who won a BAFTA for her appearance in the BBC seriesMurdered by My Boyfriend in 2015 makes an appearance in the films.
On her involvement in the #BreakTheSilence campaign, Georgina Campbell commented:
“Survivors of rape and sexual violence shouldn’t have to cope alone. Rape Crisis does such valuable work in providing specialist support which is why I am pleased to be supporting the Break the Silence campaign. It’s so important to keep challenging the myths people hold about sexual violence, and let young survivors know there is somewhere they can turn to.”
Through the #BreakTheSilence campaign, Rape Crisis South London aims to challenge the myths surrounding sexual violence and nurture an environment where survivors can speak out about rape without fear. Most importantly, they want to equip and empower young survivors to speak out and break the silence on their own experience.
Yvonne Traynor, CEO of Rape Crisis South London said:
“Rape Crisis South London is aware of how daunting reporting sexual violence to the police can be. We felt that survivors needed more information about the system and the support available to make it easier for them to make a more informed decision about what they wanted to do.”
“Our ongoing aim is to help survivors of all ages feel less isolated and unsure about the help available to them from specialists like our charity.”
To watch the #BreakTheSilence films in full, seek support from Rape Crisis or make a donation to help young survivors break the silence, visit the campaign page here.