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`Rape victims are not blame', claims head of Whitechapel's Haven centre

PUBLISHED: 18:00 15 February 2010 | UPDATED: 15:36 05 October 2010

THE manager of an East End centre for rape victims spoke of her shock today after a report revealed half of women believe victims of sexual assaults are to blame for being attacked. Elizabeth Harrison who runs the Haven in Whitechapel stressed that ra

THE manager of an East End centre for rape victims spoke of her shock today after a report revealed half of women believe victims of sexual assaults are to blame for being attacked.

Elizabeth Harrison who runs the Haven in Whitechapel stressed that "rape can happen to anybody in any circumstances" after 71 per cent of women surveyed for the report thought a person should accept responsibility when getting into bed with someone.

The Wake up to Rape report, commissioned by London's three Havens, also found that 19 percent of women believe the victim is partly responsible if they go back to their attacker's house.

One in ten thought that dancing provocatively, accepting a drink, flirting or wearing revealing clothing made them partly to blame.

And a quarter of women said they would remain silent over the attack in case their family found out.

Ms Harrison said: "It is shocking that people think women should be held responsible.

"We know that these views do exist but it is not right. Women are not responsible for being raped.

"I think women can feel safe if they say other women who wear short skirts or dance provocatively could be raped and therefore not themselves.

"But we at the Haven are not in the business of judging and we want people to know they can come to the Haven for help."

The Haven in Whitechapel offers forensic examinations to around 60 men, women and children a month who have been victims of sexual assaults and referred to their centre by the police or their GP.

And it is the only centre in London to have a support worker specifically to help South Asian women.

Victims needing help, can text the number 64118 to find their nearest Haven.


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