Shining light on childhood’s dark days

Rape, with the exception of murder, is arguably the most heinous of crimes. And when the victims of this and other sex offences are young people or children, then public revulsion is even further heightened.

In a report in today’s Southern on Police Scotland’s “We Can Stop It” campaign, which aims to raise public awareness of what rape is and what consent really means, we reveal that the majority of women who contact the Scottish Borders Rape Crisis Centre are seeking support after suffering childhood sexual abuse. This is a startling, if not shocking, fact, particularly because we’re talking about this region, not some area of urban deprivation or state of affairs in a foreign land.

But there is a positive side to this. Increased media attention and growing awareness and understanding in society around issues related to rape and sexual assault has given victims more confidence to come forward.

The revelations surrounding serial sexual predator Jimmy Savile was undoubtedly the catalyst which persuaded many on the receiving end of such abuse to come forward after suffering in silence for many years – even decades.

It’s important they do this for society to fully appreciate the extent this evil has embedded itself among us so that it can be tackled not just by punishing the perpetrators, but through changing attitudes towards this type of crime.