Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

False rape allegations are rare – rape is not. Stop using the case of Jemma Beale to discredit all women

False allegations of rape are rare – rape itself is not. It’s understandable, then, that instances of the former are more likely to hit the headlines than the latter.

Why report on a phenomenon that is commonplace, affecting an estimated 85,000 women in England and Wales every year? Rape isn’t news. By contrast, criminal convictions for lying about rape, such as the 10-year sentence handed down to Jemma Beale, command our attention precisely because they are unusual.

Twenty five-year-old Beale, found guilty of four counts of perjury and four of perverting the course of justice, has made international news, with headlines describing her as “attention-seeking” and “a serial liar”. It’s hard not to detect the sense of relief that accompanies the sharing of reports on Beale’s crime. ...


This article first appeared in the Independent on 25.8.17. You can find the full text here.

Inspired by our participation with the Write to End Violence Against Women awards organised by Zero Tolerance, we are now collecting examples of good journalism about domestic and sexual violence and abuse to make it clear that it is possible to write about DSVA without resorting to myths, misrepresentations, minimisation and victim blaming.


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