It Happens Everywhere is our weekly newsletter where we take a look at what is happening in the world and try to start a conversation, a conversation that will make people think, and hopefully stand up against sexual violence.
This week’s newsletter will cover the past two weeks, hence it will be a bit longer.
It Happens Here, It Happens Everywhere.
CN: rape, sexual assault, sexual abuse against children
Four UK students stand trial for raping a woman at annual college ball
Tuesday began the trial of four students charged with raping a woman during a University Ball. Some of the event, which took place at the Royal Agricultural University end-of-year ball in May 2014, was filmed. All four students deny the charges.
Sexual violence in a University context, is not uncommon. It is also incredibly common for sexual violence cases to not reach a trial, despite the fact that the number of cases even being brought to the police are the minority. Hopefully the coverage of this trial will give survivors confidence in coming forward.
Siri now understands questions about sexual assault and can respond with appropriate resources
Earlier this month, a study by Stanford University and the University of California found that most smartphone personal assistants, including Apple’s Siri, cannot give consistent, complete or appropriate answers to questions about sexual violence- despite being programmed to assist in other situations where people may not be comfortable talking to those around them, such as mental health and abortion services.
However, Siri has now been updated to understand the phrases ‘I was raped’ and ‘I am being abused,’ before providing users with appropriate helplines and resources.
In the context of a society which often blames or doubts survivors of sexual violence, and where technology is becoming an increasingly important aspect of people’s lives, it is not surprising that many people, especially young people, would turn to their mobile assistant in this situation. Hence, this is fantastic news, and other mobile phone providers should follow suite.
Glasgow man jailed for 13 years for sex offences against two children
On Thursday John Myers was found guilty and sentenced to 13 years in jail for years of sexual abuse against two children. He was convicted of two charges of rape, one of attempted rape, sexual assault and indecent behaviour. He denied all charges.
One girl was abused from the age of 5 until 17, and the other was targeted when she was 11 or 12. The second girl told a friend, which led to the police investigation resulting in a trial. He will be on the sex offenders register for life. The judge described his behaviour as ‘sustained and calculated,’ and noted he seemed to show ‘no remorse.’
His actions will undoubtedly have a long and serious effect on those he abused. However, the fact that this case led to a conviction, as most sadly do not, will hopefully give encourage more survivors to come forward and speak out.
Rhiannon Thompson, Publicity Team