BBC3 are continuing to ‘Break the Mould’ and inform about the realities of Rape
Rape. It is a heavy word that comes with heavy implications and can destroy lives.
A recent programme broadcast on the BBC revealed there is still uncertainty as to what constitutes as rape and what does not.
The show, entitled ‘Sex on Trial: Is this rape?’ saw 24 British teenagers being shown a specially constructed drama about a sexual encounter and they were asked to decide whether they felt that it was consensual and whether the perpetrator in question had actually done anything wrong.
Watching the footage presented, it was clear to see that the young man in question had forced himself upon a sleeping girl without her consent.
He begins by climbing into bed with her and kissing her face as she is sleeping.
He then moves himself on top of her and continues to touch her body and kiss her face with more force.
Immediately at this point alarm bells should have started ringing. It then becomes more uncomfortable to watch as he performs a sex act.
At that point the drama stopped and the audience was asked whether the girl in the drama consented or not.
The views were totally divided, with some saying it appeared the girl had flirted with the boy, leading him on and that she didn’t actually verbalise the words “no” or “stop”, which would have clearly indicated she was not consenting.
The other side was that there was no way she could have stopped this as he was very forceful and began the acts as she was sleeping.
There were also those that sat on the fence and did not want to comment on whether or not the girl had consented.
The remainder of the drama focused on the court case after viewing the girl and the boy giving evidence in front of a judge.
The worrying findings at the end of the show were that still not every teenager could call the crime committed rape – they felt it too harsh a term for what had actually happened from the defendant’s point of view.
However, is it fair to say he isn’t a rapist because he did not have full sex with the girl? Of course not. What was missed here was how the crime affected the girl’s life later on. It is not something a victim can just easily get over.
Amanda (name changed for anonymity) has spoken out about a sexual assault that happened to her as a child. She was just three- years- old when she was assaulted by a friend, who at the time was only five.
The 21-year-old described how throughout childhood she didn’t even know what a sexual assault was and so was unable to deal with it until a few years ago.
She said: “Before I processed what had happened, I just thought rape was bad. It shouldn’t happen. I’m glad that rape is being brought up as more of a massive issue, but personally, they [the media] make it seem like only females are the victim.”
She later went on to discuss the controversial way that she began to deal with the knowledge that she was in fact a victim herself.
“Well personally, I made a mockery of what happened to me,” She said.
“There are just some people who love to laugh at the darkest of things and that’s not going to change. It’s up to whoever hears it whether they get offended or not.”
No matter how much of a mockery she tried to make of the situation, it was still apparent that it had affected her much more than she was letting on.
Her demeanour changed slightly as she explored the emotions she felt when she first understood that as a child, she was raped.
She began by talking about how hearing or reading about sexual assaults and rapes does not necessarily trigger any memories or emotions.
She said: “Some [people] are stronger than others, and others are still affected by the mention of it. Personally it does not bother me one bit. But whilst I was dealing with the realisation that I was raped, it was difficult to hear the word rape.”
Amanda believes she has now come to terms with what happened to her.
In embracing what happened to her as a child and speaking out about it, she has been able to take the control back that was stripped away from her as she was assaulted at such a young age.
No matter how much Amanda was able to laugh at herself it is still key to remember that she is a victim of a very serious crime. As are many other men and women out there.
Rape can be life-ruining and is not something to be taken lightly. Although the majority of young people do seem to understand the serious implications of rape, it would appear that there is still room for a shift in attitudes if the BBC3 study is anything to go by.
If you, or someone you know has been affected by the issues raised in this article you can visit http://ift.tt/1DO5NQn for help and support.