5th Dec 2013: Who Is Helping Survivors Of Sexual Violence? by Anne Byrne

Rape crisis

Come along to The Counting House at 7pm for a talk by Anne. Share a crust of bread, and learn more about these big issues.

Name of speaker and subject:
Anne Byrne
Rape culture and its impact on treatment and resources for survivors of sexual violence.
Title of talk:
Who is helping survivors of sexual violence?

Bullet points of what you would like to cover:
Between November 25th and December 10th is the international campaign, ‘16 days of activism against gender-based violence’. In keeping with this, members of the Save EWRASAC team will be delivering a talk on how rape and sexual assault are gendered crimes, and that currently sexual violence is at endemic levels. Recent high-profile cases such as Steubenville and Maryville, Missouri highlight the ignorance by government, media, legal system and general population about the complex nature of sexual violence, its impact on survivors and how best to support them.
This is best explained through the concept of a ‘rape culture’, which is often seen in victim-blaming attitudes. The talk will break down the complex nature of this problem, with a focus on how best to prevent assault and support survivors, and how EWRASAC is a vital service to the people of Edinburgh that should not be compromised.
Suggested you-tube links, websites and / or texts where further information may be found:
An example of media coverage surrounding the Steubenville trial. This is not unique to how the case was reported. What are the issues present? Who is the focus, the victim or the perpetrator?

A brief introductory analysis on Steubenville and rape culture.

A useful resource for an introduction into gender politics, and an emphasis on what practically can  be done in such blogs as ‘What can I do, right now today, to help stop sexual violence
Edinburgh Women’s Rape Crisis Centre
A few words about you and your passion:
Edinburgh Women’s Rape and Sexual Assault Centre (EWRASAC) offer free and confidential emotional and practical support, information and advocacy to women, girls aged 12 and over, and all members of the transgender community, who have experienced sexual violence from male or female abusers at any time in their lives. This includes rape, sexual assault, childhood sexual abuse and ritual abuse. They have been operating in Edinburgh for 35 years this November and are currently battling to find sustainable funding. Save EWRASAC is the fundraising group founded by Laura Mulcahy to support the vital work of this centre. It has 138 members who work together to directly fundraise for the centre and raise public awareness of their financial situation. Since the group’s creation at the beginning of this year, they have helped EWRASAC secure funding until May 2014. They have raised over £4000 directly, and helped the centre secure £40,000 in public donations through awareness. Their new aim is to raise funds to shorten the waiting list time which is currently nine months.
A few lines about the history of your subject:
Survivors of sexual violence have faced a long battle to be heard. Rape in marriage was only considered legally a crime in England and Wales in 1991. The first Rape Crisis Centre (RCC) in this country only opened in 1973, and was staffed entirely by volunteers. To this day, it is still acceptable to criticise the victims character as a defence in the courtroom. Feminists, RCC staff, and survivors’ family and friends have long pushed for greater resources, better legal clarity, easier prosecutions and a more welcoming atmosphere for survivors to report. RCC’s across the country are often a survivors’ first port of call, and they need to be sustainably funded to carry out this vital work.