'I Just Froze' - The Campaign Challenging Misconceptions About Rape

Because there isn't a right way to react when assaulted

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What would you do if you got raped?

Well, hopefully, you don't know and you don't need have to think about it.

But arguable, it's actually important to think about our pre-conceptions of rape victims, because it seems that sometimes we expect them to have behaved a certain way in the moment, but also responded in a certain way after the fact.

Rape Crisis Scotland is trying to tackle exactly these sorts of pre-conceptions with its new campaign, 'I Just Froze'.

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On 6th March, the charity began its campaign with cartoons and some short videos, hoping to illustrate how rape is a crime that affects people differently and to explain that some people may not fight back, or even tell anyone.

This is an important thing to learn, since it affects how survivors are treated by family and friends, changes the likelihood the victim will report the crime and, if the case goes to court, changing these ideas could help cases be viewed on the merit of the evidence, and not the preconceptions of the jury.

Many rape survivors feel as though it will be themselves on trial if they take their attacker to court and this campaign is hoping to unpack misconceptions of how a surivivor 'should' and 'shouldn't' act, to ensure it is only the defendant on trial.

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Sandy Brindley, National Coordinator for Rape Crisis Scotland, told the Evening Times that, 'Survivors of rape often tell us that they just froze, that they couldn't move, or cry out. This is a normal response to trauma.'

We hope that the 'I just froze' campaign shows exactly why it's so important that everyone understands this; because one day someone, maybe a friend, partner or family member, might tell you that they have been raped. Or one day you might be on a jury listening to someone say that they thought they thought they'd fight back, but they just froze.

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Michael Matheson, Scotland's Justice Secretary, also told the newspaper, 'When I've spoken with victims of these types of crime it is clear that each will react and respond in a different way. This is a crucial campaign to educate us all about how survivors of rape can be better understood and supported to come forward, report their attack and get access to the help they deserve.'

So far, the campaign has had a really positive response on Twitter.

Many people, like Nicola Sturgeon, have Tweeted their support.

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Whilst others have opened up about their personal experiences.

Freezing is a completely natural biological response to being threatened or traumatised. As we know, rape is not about sex, it is a violent crime about power and more.

Suspicion and blame have no place in the treatment of a victim of a violent crime, hopefully this campaign will move the needle in how we treat victims of rape.

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