Teen rape tackled in Home Office advertising campaign


Rape is not just about violent attacks by strangers, a campaign to raise sex abuse awareness among teenagers says.

The government fears too many teenagers have a false view of what constitutes rape, and are unaware of the risks of being raped by people their own age.

It is highlighting research suggesting that a third of teenage girls and about one in six boys have experienced some form of sexual violence from a partner.

The new campaign will include TV, cinema and online advertisements.

A 2009 survey by the children's charity NSPCC suggested that the highest proportion of sexual abuse experienced by teens (66%) was perpetrated by people under 18.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who is launching the campaign, said: "This hard-hitting campaign shows that rape is not just about violent attacks by strangers.

"We want to bring this issue out into the open and get young people talking about the importance of consent.

"The campaign will give teenagers the facts and support they need to recognise abuse and form healthy relationships."

One of the adverts - aimed at 13 to 18-year-olds - features a teenage girl being coerced into sex at a party.

The girl says "I don't want to", but the boy persists.

A double of the boy appears from behind an invisible wall, and the viewer is asked: "If you could see yourself, would you see rape?"

Jon Brown, head of the NSPCC's sexual abuse programme, said many young people misguidedly accepted rape or other sexual acts as part of a relationship and did nothing about it.

Research had shown as many as 250,000 teenage girls at any one time were suffering in this way but were too embarrassed or frightened to say anything about it, he added.

"They will report a sex assault if it's committed by an adult, but when another teenager carries out the offence the same alarm bells don't ring and they suffer in silence."

Holly Dustin, director of the End Violence Against Women Coalition, welcomed the campaign but said the Department for Education should be promoting it in schools, not just on Twitter and Facebook.

Lib Dem Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone, who is launching the campaign alongside Mr Clegg, said: "This campaign aims to dispel the myths that can lead to acceptance of rape in relationships.

"Bringing the issue out in the open will help teenagers feel confident about challenging abuse when they see it and ultimately protect potential victims."

This latest push for greater awareness builds on the government's wider This is Abuse campaign which aims to help teenagers develop healthy relationships.

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