Press Release: Staying Safe this Christmas

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

 

There were 1,834 calls to 1 800 77 88 88, the National 24 hour Helpline for Rape and Sexual Abuse over the Christmas period last year

Last year there were 1,834 calls to the National 24 hour helpline for rape and sexual abuse, during December and January.  During the same period 42 victims of recent rape and sexual assault were accompanied by trained volunteers to the Sexual Assault Treatment Unit in the Rotunda Hospital.               

Ellen O’Malley-Dunlop, CEO of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre said: “The increase in the numbers of victims, sisters, brothers, daughters, sons, wives and husbands, who were victims over the holiday period last year of sexual violence, is a very worrying trend in our society.

We must do everything in our power to try and stem the rise in the numbers of these heinous crimes, many of which go unreported. Unreported because victims more often than not feel so ashamed particularly if they were under the influence of alcohol and will expect not to be believed. However the perpetrators who may also have been under the influence of alcohol but will not feel any shame even though they behaved recklessly and did not get consent to sexual intercourse.

This year as well as targeting potential victims and reiterating our staying safe tips for the holiday period, we are also targeting the potential perpetrator. DON’T BE THAT GUY is a campaign which DRCC has supported with the students of Trinity College and we are repeating the message of the campaign as well as the STAYING SAFE TIPS. We would hope that in doing so that people will be able to have a happy and safe Christmas and be able to let their hair down but not their guard.”

Don’t be that guy who doesn’t take responsibility

Don’t be that guy who doesn’t make sure his partner is consenting.

Don’t be that guy who sexually assaults a man or a woman too drunk to consent to sex

Don’t be that guy who uses alcohol as a tool to sexually assault someone

Don’t be that guy who believes it’s not rape

Tips to keeping safe this Christmas

Always look out for each other and be part of a group·        

Try not to get separated from your group·        

Keep your drink in your hand at all times·        

Do not accept a drink from someone you have just met even if he/she is a friend of a friend·        

Ask someone you know and trust, to mind your drink if you have to leave it for any reason·        

Trust your instincts; if you feel uncomfortable in a place or with someone, leave as soon as possible·        

Nominate a Designated Minder for each group of 6 ·        

Share Taxis with friends·        

Make sure your mobile is charged at all times and keep the  helpline free phone number 1800 77 88 88 stored in it·        

If you have to travel alone, make sure you phone ahead to where you are going and give your estimated time of arrival.

Make sure your driver hears you phoning ahead·        

Remember 8 out of 10 victims are raped by someone known to them

Steps to be taken in the event of a rape or sexual assault:·        

Call the  National  24 hour Helpline if you need the help of a Rape Crisis Centre for a recent rape or childhood sexual abuse,·        

If you are a family member or a friend and don’t know what to do when someone close to you has disclosed that they have been raped or sexually assaulted call this number and you will get the help you need·        

Contact your parents or Guardian or a friend·        

You may choose to report the incident to the Gardai ·        

Get the medical support you need 

Some facts to keep in mind this Christmas and New Year Period     

The legal age of consent for having sex is 17·        

Under current Irish Law a person is guilty of raping another person, if they are reckless in their decision to pursue sexual contact without that person’s consent·        

If a person has sex with another person without their consent it is a crime·        

A person may not give  their consent freely if they are asleep, are unconscious or severely impaired due to alcohol, are mentally impaired , are under 17 or have been coerced in any other way that is deemed to be reckless ·        

When a person is taken advantage of in any of these circumstances whereby they have not given their consent freely, they suffer the huge trauma of the effects of being raped

Our aim is to offer a safe and confidential space where women and men of all ages can be listened to and supported without shame or self-blame

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