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Rape awareness campaign targets men

A campaign to raise awareness about rape and educate young men about the law has been launched by police.

The initiative challenges men to think about their actions and drive home the message that sex without consent is rape.

The month-long We Can Stop it campaign features posters, adverts and social media activity and will run across the country.

It is backed by groups including Rape Crisis Scotland, Assist, Scottish Women's Aid and White Ribbon Scotland.

New sexual offences laws including the first definition of consent to sex and a legal recognition of male rape come into force in 2010.

Assistant Chief Constable Malcolm Graham, of Major Crime and Public Protection, said: "Rape is a devastating crime which has a far-reaching impact on victims and families. Changes in the law meant that the definition of rape widened - the clear message being that sex without consent is rape.

"This campaign builds on awareness-raising work previously which challenges men to think about their actions - and the consequences. The campaign is supported by our partners who we work with to ensure victims have access to the assistance they need and that offenders are brought to justice.

"I hope this campaign encourages men not only to think about their own responsibilities but also challenge the behaviour of others.

"We deal with reports of rape across the country every day. There are a wide range of circumstances around each case - but the common factor is that where there is no consent, it is rape. I hope this campaign encourages men to think about their behaviour and through that help reduce offending which will mean fewer victims of this crime."

The posters feature statements from both heterosexual and homosexual men such as "I know when she's asleep it's a no. Do you?", "I'm the kind of guy who doesn't have sex with a girl when she's too drunk. Are you?" and "I listen when a guy says no. Do you?"

The campaign also aims to highlight that earlier reporting increases the chances of offenders being traced, boosting the confidence of anyone who thinks they have been the victim of a crime.

Police said that many of the cases they investigate are historic, with a third reported more than a year after the incident itself.

The force added that it detects almost 75% of rapes.

Sandie Barton, national co-coordinator of Rape Crisis Scotland, said: "This campaign plays a valuable role in helping people to understand what rape actually is, and in raising public awareness.

"The law is clear: sex without consent is rape, and we need to make sure the Scottish public understand that. We Can Stop It speaks directly to men and offers a very positive message - that rape is preventable, and men can play a positive role in making this happen."

As well as using conventional and social media, the campaign will feature targeted advertising in clubs and bars, online and on radio.

Women's Aid manager Lily Greenan said: "Rape and sexual assault are among the least reported crimes in Scotland today and this campaign to raise awareness of the issue is therefore very welcome.

"We think it is particularly important that the campaign involves men challenging other men in a positive way to make sure that their partner consents to sexual activity and commend Police Scotland for taking this approach."

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