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No ifs, no buts when it comes to teenage rape, says UK deputy PM

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Shanna McGoldrickWVoN co-editor 

Teenage rape prevention became the focus of a government campaign launched yesterday in the UK.

Called This Is ABUSE, it is part of an ongoing government action plan tackling violence against women and girls, published in March 2010.

This is ABUSE encourages teenagers to re-think their perception of what constitutes rape.

It follows research published by the children’s charity, NSPCC, last month which showed that four in five girls do not report being sexually assaulted by boys under 18.

Launching the campaign at a rape crisis centre in London yesterday, deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, said:

“What this ad campaign is seeking to achieve is to send an incredibly strong message to teenagers, and particularly to teenage boys, that, if you have sex with a girl who doesn’t want to and doesn’t consent, you’re committing rape – it’s a crime.

“When a girl says ‘no’, no means no, means no. There’s no ifs and buts.”

The campaign also aims to ‘empower young people to avoid, challenge and report sexually violent behaviour’.

The campaign website provides resources including how to spot someone who is being sexually controlling, real life stories, and a section entitled ‘Am I abusive?’.

It offers support and advice for anyone who feels they have been abused, with practical information on how to get help.

However the focal point of the campaign is undoubtedly a hard-hitting advert, to be shown on TV and in cinemas around the country, entitled ‘If you could see yourself, would you see rape?’.

It features a teenage couple enjoying themselves at a party, but which gets out of hand.

As Jon Brown, of the NSPCC, explained to the Daily Mail: “Many young people misguidedly accept this as part of a relationship and do nothing about it.”

There is concern among politicians that the pressure of living in an increasingly-sexualized society is affecting the confidence of young people who feel the need to conform to an ideal beyond their comfort zone.

As Clegg said yesterday, hopefully this campaign will go some way to ‘giving them the protection they need that when they say ‘no’ it means ‘no’ and the law is on their side.’

  1. vicki wharton says:

    I don’t think parents and schools are doing enough to counter educate boys against what they are readily accessing on porn websites where rape and coerced sex with girls and children is shown as cool and part of being a real man. It also shows girls and children enjoying being abused, hit, spat at, spunked over and worse – no wonder the biggest perpetrators of sexual violence are 18 and under.

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