COMMENT: Brew’s up, but rape and consent is no laughing matter

This week Thames Valley Police launched a 
Consent Is Everything campaign - to educate people about rape and sexual assault.

At a first glance, the campaign’s cartoony YouTube video, which uses preparing a cup of tea for someone as an analogy could appear humorous, I certainly chuckled when I watched it yesterday.

But there is an incredibly serious message.

Rape is everywhere and the people who commit these crimes are not the ones you would expect.

For starters I have not yet met a woman who has not been or known a victim of unwanted sexual advances, sexual assault or rape itself.

Rape is far more common than you might imagine, 
and many people fear coming forward and saying what happened to them.

Men are victims too, and no one should suffer in silence, the police have come on leaps and bounds in the way they deal with these allegations. There is also support available from organisations such as Rape Crisis.

Sadly what that stick man YouTube video really means is that we live in a society where the powers-that-be have to remind the general public not to rape. How awful is that?

Senior reporter Hayley O'KeeffeSenior reporter Hayley O'Keeffe
Senior reporter Hayley O'Keeffe

That’s a reminder for men and women too.

We all have to be reminded, because some us still don’t realise that it’s not on, and some of us have a very good way of rationalising this kind of behaviour.

You wouldn’t force a cup of tea down someone’s throat, that goes without saying.

But some people can manipulate and charm their way out of the worst kind of behaviour, because it’s ‘What they wanted really’ or ‘We were both drunk’ or ‘I don’t remember’. At the end of the day, nobody really believes they are a rapist, no matter what they have done.

Every rape or sexual assault case that comes to court is judged individually on its own facts.

But there is plenty of victim blaming that still goes on, you might even have done it yourself.

So let’s all put the kettle on, and don’t forget, if the 
person you are making a cuppa for decides they don’t really want to drink it anymore, please don’t make them.

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