With the Christmas party season here it’s more important than ever to make sure we stay safe when we head out to celebrate. And let’s face it most of us will be enjoying a drink or two to see off the end of a hard year! But along with the festive fun comes a very real risk to us as women – and this is why the Police are launching a new annual rape awareness campaign.
Urging women to: ‘Let your hair down, not your guard’, while warning men: ‘Rape: short word, long sentence’, the campaign wants to raise awareness of the steps women can take to protect themselves from potential sex attacks and tell men of the need for consent during any sexual encounter.
With a rise in the number of reported sex attacks in December and January, police believe that this is directly linked with an increase in drinking and festivities.
‘A large proportion of reported rape cases feature alcohol as a factor – whether it is consumed by the victim or the offender,’ says Dave Whatton, Association of Chief Police Officers’ lead on rape issues.
He adds: ‘Ultimately we want to prevent rape from occurring in the first place, by arming potential victims with key advice on how to keep themselves safe.’
Asking us to be more drink-aware and more safety-savvy when we’re out and about, the campaign hopes to prevent sex attacks and protect women from potential harm.
The campaign advises
When heading out for a night out remember:
* Let your hair down, not your guard down
* No consent means no sex
* Take a taxi you can trust
Staying safe when out this Christmas
* Stay with the people you’ve gone out with and always tell someone if you have to leave the group
* Look out for each other and keep an eye on the people you’re out with
* Keep your drink in your hand at all times
* Don’t accept a drink from someone you’ve just met
* Don’t stay in any situation you feel uncomfortable with
* Make sure you’ve decided how you’re getting home – use licensed taxis and pre-book if necessary, share taxis with friends and you could even arrange to stay with a friend if it’s very late
* Make sure your mobile phone is fully charged before you go out and you’ve told someone where you’re going
* If you’re travelling alone have someone you can call on the journey or to tell when you should be home
Don’t be afraid to seek professional help
* Rape Crisis who offer a wide range of specialist support and information for women
* The Survivors Trust who offer a range of counselling, therapeutic and support services