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I Never Said Yes

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Pips Taylor Pips Taylor | 12:12 UK time, Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Nicole, Presenter Pips Taylor, Sarah

A few years ago whilst living in Mexico City, I narrowly escaped a violent attack by a taxi driver. Even though I got away, it still left a mark on me.  My experience made me wonder if I found it tough, then how do other victims cope with being attacked? Do they even cope at all?

As I was in a foreign country, I decided not to report what happened to me. But what happens when a victim does want to report an attack or rape here in the UK? Do victims have enough support to help them through their ordeal? What is it like to experience our justice system?

Meeting brave survivors who shared their story while making I Never Said Yes (Wednesday, 9pm) gave me an insight into some of these questions and to how our system works. It showed me that at each stage of the legal process the police, the CPS and juries don't always get it right.

I met five women, all of whom had very different experiences. Shockingly, all of the women I met knew their attackers. All of them have been deeply affected by being raped.

If a victim decides to report their attack, the police then decide whether to proceed with an investigation and gather evidence. I met people who work in different stages of the system and who admitted that it had flaws - so why isn’t anyone doing anything about it?

Two women I met did see their attackers get convicted, yet conviction rates are low in the UK. But a conviction is just the start, as victims then have to rebuild their lives. This can be very difficult, but all of the survivors I have met have taught me that victims become survivors and it is possible to fight back and regain power.

The problem that shocked me most of all was young peoples’ attitudes towards consent and what is and isn’t okay. Young people are the most vulnerable, yet it seems that there is a lack of communication amongst them.

I think we need to start talking about it. Let's face it, people don’t often talk about rape, but unfortunately in the UK it is a devastatingly common crime that most victims choose not to report, or even talk to a friend or family about. It seems that the myths and stereotypes that we hold in society can prevent people from coming forward.  Victims fear that they may be judged, or even blamed for something that was NOT their fault. This must change - we must feel that we can talk about it as a society and not let it be one of our society’s taboos.

So I started talking about it among my own friends, and I was shocked at how many women I knew had suffered an attack, but who had never felt that they could talk about it. How many other women feel they can't talk about it?

Although people regard rape to be a depressing subject, meeting the survivors has shown me a hopeful side - that victims can regain power.

I Never Said Yes is on Wednesday 28 March at 9pm.

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  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    Where are the stories for the men? I thought the BBC would give a good, groundbreaking documentary about rape, and how it affects anyone. The woman just said that they're trying to take away the prejudice about rape, but the programme is completely discriminatory. They keep referring to what 'women' need to do. I'm female, but I find it dispicable that it's all 'them and us'. Rape happens to men, women, children, teenagers, older adults...could be anyone.
    I see the host is talking to men about rape, but about what they think of it happening to women. I'd like to see a documentary that shows that men can be raped by men or by women, just as women can be.

  • Comment number 3.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 4.

    ive just been watching this show and i must say i am offended at the notion that the whole way through the program Pip was biased towards woman who have been raped and also biased towards the notion that all rape cases that go through the criminal justice and also those that don't actually did happen and not once did she touch on the subject that (like in my case) it did not happen and that the woman/victim that bring cases forward are actually doing it to get back at the male/accused for some unknown reason and that that experience for the accused is very traumatic (such as in my case). i am a male that was accused of a rape crime that i did not commit and your show should have seen things from the falsely accused side!

  • Comment number 5.

    As a general comment, I think the documentary was fairly superficial in the areas it did cover and it didn't really cover a large range. I echo the comments by RosiPossum relating to "them and us" and the lack of involvement of male victims. Her meeting with the men did not really ask the right questions and was not really concluded. While it may be true that there are situations that increase the risk of being raped, it is ludicrous to say that anyone should expect rape to occur. It is a complex issue and there may very well be times where allegations are made falsely, that does not lessen the seriousness of the crime, nor the importance of convicting the offenders who have genuinely commited the crime.

    As an addition to the things mentioned already, it seems that "minor sexual harrassment" (groping breasts, bums, physically picking someone up or pushing them up against a wall, comments) is an astoundingly frequent occurance and that there is no recourse for this. People see this as a minor thing and that if you can't put up with it you're just causing a fuss, this is often the case in both male and female opinion. I have not done any amount of research into this and would be interested in reading more about it.

  • Comment number 6.

    I'm sorry but I have to disagree, to have been raped like I have I feel this program helped me to make me understand I was not alone the cases on there that was just like mine and I know how those women felt being 17 my friends boyfriend raped me while I was asleep on the couch I was in shock for nearly two weeks before finally having a break down. I was too scared to do anything about it plus I couldn't handle the fact of how much pain my family felt so I pretended it never happened so they didn't have to worry about me. I had to deal with it on my own which lead me into drugs coke, pills, weed and other party drugs. It took me until I was 27 to stop that life style, with no help as I was put on a waiting list which took over two years! To get any sort of therapy! Which I never took as I had choose to pay for physiotherapy as I needed help! I lost myself for over 10 years. I am sorry to hear there are women who may cry rape as not only do they hurt that person but they also make a joke out of the women who have been.

  • Comment number 7.

    A very informative documentary, however it was pathetically obvious that pip held a set of pre-framed views, with interviews that felt like they had a script. There was too many sweeping statements that just alienated much of the audience. Please redo the program and truly tackle misguided preconception of rape and problems in the legal system. Can we also have less angry walking used to break up interviews completely unprofessional.

  • Comment number 8.

    Well I thought there would be more of debate afterwards on the issues the program raised as opposed to what it missed obviously with limited time you can't cover everything so you have to focus on something and as the mother of Nicole who also featured I am proud that she and SAVI our charity has hopefully helped some people understand some of the prejudices held which stop convictions being made. Yes males get raped too and SAVI helps all children and young people male and female Nicole did talk about male rape in her interview but it would have opned up a whole new discussion and so program and so was cut to allow focus. Just as SAVI working with young victims of this crime in our local park was cut. And I think Pips done well to find a focus on issue so many others run from or drown in. But this program does not have to be the end it should be the start of opening this issue properly and helping to change the system in a way that protects the innocent (whether they be the complainer or the accused) and ensures true perpetrators are punished btw despite featuring us the beeb did not update their help page so for anyone who needs SAVI the charity Nicole and I started, who specialise in children, young people and their families our web is and our facebook page is

  • Comment number 9.

    Annmarie Campbell Well I thought there would be more of debate on the issues the program raised as opposed to what it missed obviously with limited time you can't cover everything so you have to focus on something and as the mother of Nicole who also featured I am proud that she and SAVI our charity has hopefully helped some people understand some of the prejudices held which stop convictions being made. Yes males get raped too and SAVI helps all children and young people male and female Nicole did talk about male rape in her interview but it would have opned up a whole new discussion and so program and so was cut to allow focus. Just as SAVI working with young victims of this crime in our local park was cut. And I think Pips done well to find a focus on issue so many others run from or drown in. But this program does not have to be the end it should be the start of opening this issue properly and helping to change the system in a way that protects the innocent (whether they be the complainer or the accused) and ensures true perpetrators are punished btw despite featuring us the beeb did not update their help page so for anyone who needs SAVI the charity Nicole and I started, who specialise in children, young people and their families we have a web and facebook page and helpline but beeb will not let me post them here due to house rules so the closest I can do is put savi in a search in fb and search for in a google search to find our site xx

  • Comment number 10.

    I was a juror on a rape case. We found the defendant not guilty. It seemed like the proper decision and the judge also said it was the right decision. I feel quite upset and pretty awful that this was the wrong decision. We all thought it was the right decision to make but the programme suggests that society has strange values. I detest rape and its most certainly the most evil of crimes. I feel so bad now.

  • Comment number 11.


    I was watching this show with great interest. I know there are time constraints and not all areas of rape could be dealt with in great detail. However, there was, in my view, no mention of ALL areas of rape. I want to make it clear that like any right-minded person I find rape of any kind abhorent. I have a major problem with people NOT taking 'no' as an answer and I detest with a passion anyone being tricked, forced, drugged, drunk etc into doing things they wouldnt normally do. However, Im very disappointed that the show concentrated only on women as victims. There is just as serious an issue called male rape and "cry rape". Not once, to my memory, was either of these issues even mentioned in any way. Plus, I felt very uncomfoprtable watching it. It made me sad that so many women get no recourse but also, as a man, it has me now thinking is rape on the mind of any woman I ask out on a date. Also, (my apologies I forget her name) the feminist writer, in my view, has other vested interests and she seemed quite animated at one point. In my view anybody (male or female) that rapes in anyway deserves what they get but this program fell very short of what rape is in all its guises. There is a person in my life (not me) who was accused of rape and he spent a few years fighting his innocence while being treated like an animal by the police. His name etc was in a local paper (long before the trial) while his "victim" changed her story on more than two occaisions. Her name was not published once. He was looking at a prison term but was rightfully found not guilty by a jury. It was finally dragged from her that she cried rape for fear of losing her boyfriend if he found out she cheated. Why was she not 'done' for wasting police time? Why does she walk free after making an innocent person suffer so much trauma? This girl almost ruined a life to safe her own relationship. I wonder how many men compared to women (and because of women) are in prison for something they didnt do or at the very least was made out to be worse than it actually was. People that cry rape in my view are probably the biggest hinderance to genuine cases being followed through.

    As for male rape; I've actually had someone say to me it's impossible cos of the obvious reaction a man gets to stimuli. First up, thsi reaction is involuntary...its cannot be switched on n off at will. Secondly rape can be done with fingers, oral etc. I have had an experience when I woke up to find a girl giving me oral. I didnt ask for it and I jumped up%

  • Comment number 12.

    i was watching the show last night and it upset me cause i have been through it i was raped and beaten by my partner through out the relationship and i went to the police for help they had all the evidence but didnt charge him i think it was cause we was in a relationship but i never know my partner could do that i heard he did it to two other women but i didnt believe it at first cause they was in a custody battle .
    he would rape me 2 to 4 times a week and used violence and weapons to stop me fighting back he had me under his control i was so scared of him and tried to end it but that resulted in me ending up in mau ward .
    now the last 6 weeks before i managed to escape i had help from doctors and everyone told me to go to the police i felt to scared to cause one of his mates was a police officer , then he raped me again and i was in so much pain i phoned the police they then arrested him and the investigation was on going for 3 months but it was dropped , they said lack of evidence but they had plenty of evidence then they turned against me saying i made it up to get back at him when i didnt i was raped by him for 10 months , the cps wont charge him cause i was going out with him during the 10 months i was with him i feel as if they have raped me all over again , i do have a solicitor who is dealing with the case and we hope to try get the case re opened as a witness is willing to come forward but also she will be taking on the police to find out why they are treating me like a suspect and not helping me as they have messed the whole case up and failing in a few things that they shouldnt of done

  • Comment number 13.

    A really interesting documentary. The requirement for 'beyond reasonable doubt' coupled with a bizarre presumption that the victim could be lying is a serious problem.

    In regard to some of the other comments. I don't know how you discredit the purpose of the documentary, to question how rape victims cope and are treated by the legal system, entirely because the it has only discussed female victims. I didn't see the focus of this documentary as a "boys against girls" issue at all. It was made by a woman who was attacked herself so she is just exploring the issue from where she understands it. No one thinks "woman rape bad, man rape ok"! Disregarding the issues raised because this documentary failed to discuss male victims too is a shame for society.

    I'm 27 and I see myself as a regular woman. I went to nightclubs as a teenage, have a masters degree and a good job, married now. When I was 18 I passed out drunk at a friends house on their sofa. There were 10 or so people there, including a couple I didn't really know. I woke up on the sofa a few hours later, lights off, friends gone and a guy I'd seen earlier, but not spoken, to now with his hands around my throat having sex with me and repeatedly calling me "a b****". Then I went to university and came home one evening to find a guy I hardly knew from my class in my bedroom, he pushed me onto my bed, git on top of me and tried to kiss me. A male flat mate came in after hearing me shouting and kicked the guy out. Then at 23 I was alone in a taxi abroad when I was in that dreadful situation of asking "where are we going?" as we pull into a clearing in the wood. At 25 I am followed by a stranger as I walk home from a night class at 10pm, with him telling me I'm gonna f*** you up, you b****" after he started a conversation, (asking me where I was going etc) at a pelican crossing and I politely told him I didn't want to talk to him. I hid in a petrol station for 2 hours until he went away and I ran home terrified. I didn't ever consider reporting any of these incidents to the police because I knew that I probably wouldn't be believed by the authorities or I would be interrogated in court for weeke, only for the guy to get off scott free.

    This is reality for women today and it is wrong (I cannot speak for men because I am not a man).

    I just wish people wouldn't disregard the issue of how victims are treated so quickly just because more people talk about the female victims.

    Male or female, I don't want my kids to go through what I've been through, or think that any of the things that happened to me were ok because I was drunk, or wearing a skirt, or I smiled at someone.

  • Comment number 14.

    P.S. Gypsie87, good luck to you. Stay strong.

  • Comment number 15.

    Brilliant programme. Amazing that so many women came forward to share their stories. Definitely touched a nerve with me and I'm sure many, many other women who watched this who have similar memories and incidents. Thank you Pips Taylor.

    The commenters who feel that it should have concentrated on men who are raped rather than women are missing the point.

    This documentary began by stating it would investigate the rape of women and
    did what it set out to do very effectively. Women account for the overwhelming majority of victims of rape in the UK and around the world.

    Of course there could be a documentary investigating the rape of men and it warrants its own programme. Just as there could be a documentary investigating sex crimes against children and against animals. The fact that this documentary chose not to focus on all these does not in any way diminish its impact.

  • Comment number 16.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 17.

    i feel there is room for quite a number of series here. i thought the program was good and as a victim it helped to watch it. it however misses out an awful lot most probably due to the fact that the program was only for an hour. well done to the BBC and Pips taylor for bringing it to the publics attention. i think it needs to be brought forward to BBC1 to get more people's attention. being shown on BBC3 means the program was less likely to be spotted. i am happy to help the BBC but i am unsure who to email with my story/suggestions.

  • Comment number 18.

    BBC, what's the music played at 01:54 in the programme? Would really like to know, thanks!

  • Comment number 19.

    Dazsimpol, search YouTube: Gustavo Santaolalla - Iguazu

  • Comment number 20.

    Anyone know the music that plays at 13:45 please?

  • Comment number 21.

    I have just watched this and to be honest I am very disappointed that there was no stories about men. I am female survivor and I know men survivors. I really expected better from the bbc. At the end she said something along the lines of 'the system is letting women down' yes it is but its also letting men down to. Even if the bbc couldn't find a man to come forward it still could of been said that it can and does happen to them to.

  • Comment number 22.

    With the best will in the world, rape is not an equal opportunities crime.

    Rape disproportionately affects women, throughout history and around the world. The rape of women has been legal in this country until the end of the 19th century (in marriage) and remains legal in many countries around the world. Society has been arranged so that women are disproportionately raped, threatened with rape, worried about rape, not believed when they are raped, and blamed for their own rape as a "punishment" for bad behaviour all around the world.

    The reasons behind the rape of men are different from the above.

    The fact that the programme "did not have stories about men" is irrelevant.

    Men's rape deserves to have attention, deserves its own documentary. Tagging it along to the end of a TV show essentially about women's rape is derogatory to male victims of rape.

  • Comment number 23.

    To be fair, the numbers are that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men will be sexually abused so to suggest that it is a crime that effects 'significantly' more women than men would be wholly inaccurate.

    I am a male survivor myself and it isn't right that women victims and men victims are put into two separate groups. I cant' go to rape counselling because me being a man might intimidate women. How can that be fair? I'm just as much of a victim as anyone else.

    The reasons behind rape are almost always to do with power, whether it's rape of a child, of an adult male or female.

    I agree with those that say that rape is such a large subject that to cover all aspects in a one hour documentary would be too much, but simply saying 'people' instead of 'women' would make such a difference.

    In terms of the legal side of things, rape convictions are low for one obvious reason. There's no witnesses. It's often a crime committed without any witnesses, so is therefore one person's word against another and a lack of proof is therefore an almost accepted part of the case.

    In my own experience, my rapist walked free cos it was scientifically argued that I was gay (even though that was not true).

  • Comment number 24.

    Having watched the programme a few days ago, I felt that old anger returning and although work is tiring at present I cried my eyes out tonight and reckon that even after 17 years you never recover. I think that it may have been interesting to do it from a boys perspective, but all the comments were negative about the programme. It may have been selective but they only had 1 hour and Pip did a good job interviewing people. I am Irish and thought it was a fairly good programme although the fact that 3 days later I am still thinking about it is not such a bat thing. Sometimes it is good to think of the past rather than block up feelings and if a programme can generate discussion and dialogue then this is a good thing! I think she did a good job anyway. So there to the negativity!! I am going to bed since I have to be in work in 7 hours time!! Take care Pip and her team, and don't mind the comments!! Phew, wanted to get that off my chest for a few hours!!! Goodnight and Slan leat!!

  • Comment number 25.

    Come now ccarson34, if you are going to quote figures, take them in context. The 1 in 6 males figure is a lifetime prevalence including childhood. An estimated 3 % of men are sexually abused in adult life, when contrasted with 1 in 4 adult women who are subjected to the same crime. And as you yourself acknowledge, a discussion on childhood sexual abuse does not particularly benefit from being squeezed into the timeframe of this particular documentary.

    I do feel for you that as a man who was victimised, you could not have the treatment you needed next to women victims, and totally agree that more resources need to be allocated to this branch of health care. You should have got the care you needed.

  • Comment number 26.

    In my view, the advert campaign that is mentioned in the episode with the boy behind a screen seeing that he is in fact raping the girl, is as poignent as the entire episode was. The episode was good for hearing individual stories and empowering survivors as viewers were able to see that it is something that needs to be dealt with and that it is a horribly common occurrance. My point is that rape is not only rape if it involves violence, rape can come from pressure, emotional manipulation and so on. In personal experience, at 12 I was forced by my boyfriend - I said no and I tried to push him away, and cried but he held me down; I could have fought him and risked being hurt, and going through what felt like more trauma, but I didn't fight more because he was boyfriend and I felt small, stupid and weak. We stayed going out for months and it happened repeatedly, and he had, I later found out, been to court for similar offences of other girls who did speak up. He was found not guilty. I didn't go to the police at the time, and have no since, because I knew it would be more horrific to drag it out and have absolutely no confidence that it would go anywhere. Over my life I have experienced many unwated gropings and so on which seem to be just accepted and you're supposed to just "laugh it off" as "harmless", on these occasions I have no felt scared that the person was going to rape me - people have groped me in the street in plain view and walked on, as if it is something that just happens. I see these things as different issues. One is a clear desire, on the rapist's part, to gain power over someone, the other is an attitude that women just have to put up with it.

  • Comment number 27.

    Thank you to the team for this informative programme. I would like to see another focusing on the rape/abuse of the vulnerable because as you rightly highlight the odds are against a conviction for rape in this country even when the victim can give a clear and concise account of events.
    The statistics held by the Ministry of Justice and the Home Office highlight the fact that if you are vulnerable due to a disability then even when you report serious sexual assaults including rape and buggery then the cases are NOT persued-what an inditement of our society when we fail to protect even our most vuilnerable.
    I know from experience that despite circumstancial proof the case will not even be pursued to the CPS because the current criteria is not a balance of probabilities and that before a case now gets to the CPS it must satisfy the statement of 'beyond reasonable suspicion'.
    My daughter was the victim of numerous rapes within a 17 day period committed by someone in a position of trust who we have since discovered has convictions and yet she has been denied the opportunity to tell her story or for any attempt of justice to be persued its far more convienient and cost effective to label the matter as inconclusive!.
    I am trying to champion the equal right of disabled victims who should be able to expect the law to afford them protection,even in relation to counselling for her we encountered difficulties getting help and still do.As a direct result of her ordeal she is now prescibed anti depressants.
    Her ability to cope as been magnificent and it has given me the strength to face prejudice and courage to fight for justice, but what happens to the vulnerable that cant cope?

  • Comment number 28.

    i thought id share my experiences as i thought this program helped me understand what i went through, it left a scar on me that has made me fearful of men.
    i had become aggrophobic, i wouldnt let strangers brush pass me in the street, train etc and i wouldnt even walk up the shops by myself and by this time i was 16yrs. i had then began avoiding cracks in the pavement, not giving eye contact and swearing at myself if i tripped over in the street and people saw me. i had the mind set that i was a slag, slapper nothing else.
    i was 14yrs old when i was sexually assaulted i was at school in the girls bathroom i told the head teacher but they ignored it and did nothing, i found out my friend had the same thing happen to her 15mins after me but we wasnt in the same class. i felt dirty and unclean, i told my mum and to this day i can still see the look on her face, the guilt look of why couldnt i protect her ! couple of days later still distraught i saw him and he told me it was my fault.
    by the time i got to 18yrs old i had lost a lot of weight and i started self harming wishing myself dead. i decided enough was enough and i went to the homeopathic hospital in london for relaxation sessions and also counselling. it didnt cure me fully as they might say but it gave me that hope. hope i had taken away.
    i am now a nursing student in my final year.
    i still cant have a relationship properly with a man, i feel they only want me for one thing and thats it. i will have to build up on my confidence and also i cannot talk to men in the street.
    but after this programme i thought it was brilliant as these women that are raped and dont get a fair hearing had their say their voice was finally heard.

    but i did feel there should have been a section of where it was about men who are raped aswell, as there is a lack of evidence of men who report rape. and some people do not realise they have been raped until shown the facts.

    thanks xx

  • Comment number 29.

    Thanks to all the people who made this excellent programme. It's important to hear the viewpoint of victims.

    Rape is a global problem. Networks to support victims (such as counselling, and legal advice) would help. But how can rape be prevented in future? One approach is to use role models to change attitudes, in concerts like 'Live Aid'. Website has some ideas.

    Any reasonable person (male or female) would find rape unacceptable. If the UK criminal justice system doesn't help rape victims, we need to change it for a system which works properly: the justice system must punish rapists.



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