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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 November 2005, 01:38 GMT
'Police disbelieve women on rape'
A poll has found one third of people think a woman is at least partly to blame for being raped if she is flirtatious, and a quarter if she is drunk or wears revealing clothing.

One woman, raped at the age of 20, told the BBC News website she never reported it for fear it would not be taken seriously.

This is a shocking statistic but I was not surprised.

Public perception is affected by the way rape is treated by the justice system. You see it in the press, you hear it from other people.

I didn't hold much hope that it would be taken seriously

One third of people think that and that includes the judges and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

If the figures there were different, we would see that in the conviction rate.

I just felt it would be too much of an ordeal to go through. I wouldn't have wanted to talk to the police, I didn't have any faith that they would take me seriously.

I also knew the conviction rate was low and it's lower now. I didn't hold much hope that it would be taken seriously. A lot of people don't get past that stage.

'I knew him'

It was someone I knew, we had had a drink. He was a friend. We had been out, all of us together. I had been drinking, I had kissed him as well.

That was as far as I wanted it to go.

The sexism in the justice system needs to be tackled

I was studying at the time. I was 20. A lot of women for one reason or another are vulnerable and that's something that the police should take into consideration.

It wasn't what I would have thought rape was. I know now that most people are raped by someone they know. It's not the 'stranger danger' that people think happens, bushes and knives.

I didn't know that - it's not something that was ever covered at any stage of my life, there's no education at school. I didn't know the statistics.

Record considered

I few years down the line I wondered if it was worth saying something, to have it on file. I just really didn't have any faith that I wouldn't be laughed out of that police station.

The more I look at it and the way they don't bother to gather evidence or treat it as a crime, it really wasn't an option.

I didn't feel that I could tell anyone, never mind going to what I think was a very unsympathetic police force.

A friend was kind enough to take me to a doctor and I went along to get some therapy. She felt she had supported me as much as she could but I needed professional support.

I just wasn't coping at that point. I wasn't sleeping, I was suffering terrible nightmares, couldn't cope with crowds, getting panic attacks, flashbacks.

Blame each other

The sexism in the justice system needs to be tackled. As long as the police are getting away with not taking it seriously things are not going to improve.

They need to be held accountable, for the way they treat women when they report rape, and do their job properly, gather evidence and make sure the resources are going into that area.

The police and CPS seem to blame each other all the time but nobody does anything about it. Still a lot of things happen that aren't meant to - women being questioned on their sexual history in court.

The CPS drop a lot of cases for what seems like no good reason. It seems they are on the side of the man and they don't want to push it through and take it seriously; they disbelieve women.




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