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#ijustfroze Public Awareness Campaign

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‘Lanarkshire Rape Crisis Centre welcomes a new campaign to raise awareness of reactions to rape’

Rape survivors have welcomed a powerful new campaign designed to challenge misconceptions about how people react when attacked.

Funded by the Scottish Government and voiced by Daniela Nardini, ‘I just froze’ is centred on two creative animations (2). The online campaign emphasises that freezing is a common and natural response to rape, challenging prevalent beliefs that ‘fight or flight’ are the only valid responses to trauma. In doing so, ‘I just froze’ defies the idea that people are always able to fight back or report rape straight away and helps people to understand why this might be.

This understanding is vital to improving public attitudes and responses to survivors of sexual violence across Scotland.

Anne McGuire, Centre Manager at Lanarkshire Rape Crisis Centre said,

“LRCC welcomes Rape Crisis Scotland’s new campaign ‘I Just Froze’. Its central message – that there is no ‘right’ way to respond to rape is a vital one, and something that the public really needs to know. We regularly see survivors who tell us that they froze, and found themselves unable to move or fight back while someone was assaulting them.”

She went on:

“Survivors we support can find it very difficult to talk about what’s happened to them, even with people they are close to, so it can be difficult for them to get the support or help they need, or in fact to report to the police.  This is something that will not change until there is a far greater public awareness that there are many different responses to rape, and all of them are completely natural and normal.”

Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Justice, commented:

“What’s really important about the I just froze campaign is that we are trying to change public perceptions and understanding of the full impact that a heinous crime like rape can have on the victim.

“When I’ve spoken with victims of these types of crime it is clear that each will react and respond in a different way and this is such a crucial campaign to educate us all about how survivors of rape can be better understood and supported to come forward, report their attack and get access to the help they deserve.”

Phil Gormley, Chief Constable of Police Scotland, said:

“Rape is a traumatic event and no two reports are ever the same, every single person will react and engage with us differently. We recognise this and that we need to tailor our policing response to the needs of each individual. Trauma and exposure to criminality affects everyone differently and understanding this is fundamental to how we investigate and support victims.

“The I Just Froze campaign is extremely important in increasing public understanding of how and why people might react to the trauma of rape. People should be reassured when they report, we do understand, we will listen and we will investigate, whether the offence occurred yesterday or decades ago. And working with partners like Rape Crisis, we will ensure the right support is available when it is needed.

James Wolffe, QC, Lord Advocate, said:

“There are myths about sexual offences, and it is our duty as prosecutors to challenge them.

“Justice can only be served when victims of crime have the confidence to come forward and to speak up. I want anyone who has been the victim of rape, or indeed of any sexual offence, to know that prosecutors understand the wide variety of natural responses of victims to such offences. No one who has been the victim of such a crime should be deterred from reporting it.

“We will continue, both inside and outside the courtroom, to seek to educate the public – who go on to constitute our juries – about the reality of sexual offending. I am pleased to provide my support to Rape Crisis in this important campaign.”

Rape Crisis needs YOU to help ijustfroze become a campaign that really makes a difference: find out how, and view two powerful animations, plus further information and campaign resources here.