Teenager sex attack figures 'shocking' says Nick Clegg

 

Nick Clegg told a group of teenage girls today that he found it
"shocking" that a third of their peers have reported they have
experienced some form of sexual violence from a boyfriend.

Many young people dismiss the idea of "date-rape", believing the offence only occurs on rare occasions, and think that sexual attacks are more likely to occur at the hands of a stranger, according to the Government.

Visiting a rape crisis centre in Ealing, west London, the Deputy Prime Minister spoke to a group of 16, 17 and 18-year-old girls from a local school about the issues after they were shown a new Government-funded TV advert which aims to challenge the myths around sexual attacks.

He told the schoolgirls: "I think, for far too many people, they think rape is something that happens when you meet a stranger in a dark alley who inflicts physical violence on you.

"What we're trying to do with this advert is make sure that people know it's about, maybe, familiar relationships with people you've known for a long time, and maybe there's no violence involved at all.

"That's why it's so hard-hitting, because we really need to shift the way people think about this."

A cinema and online advertising campaign are also part of the coalition push to address the issue. Funded by the Home Office, it builds on the Government's wider This Is Abuse campaign, which aims to help teenagers develop healthy relationships.

Mr Clegg told reporters: "We've got such a highly sexualised culture at the moment and there are huge pressures.

"Any parent of a teenage girl will tell you there's huge pressures on teenage girls to conform to behave in a particular way, and I just think it's really important we give them the protection they need that when they say 'no' it means 'no' and the law is on their side.

"It's not normal, frankly, for governments to do things like this or for politicians to talk about it. But I think the scale of the problem now is big, and it's a really big problem for a lot of teenagers and we need to address it."

He added: "What this ad campaign is seeking to achieve is to send an incredibly strong message to teenagers, and particularly to teenage boys, that, if you have sex with a girl who doesn't want to and doesn't consent, you're committing rape - it's a crime.

"When a girl says 'no', no means no, means no. There's no ifs and buts.

"When you've got a situation where a third of teenage girls say they have been subject to sexual coercion and abuse, when lots of teenagers say in surveys that they think it's OK for a boy to expect to have sex with a girl they spend time with, something's going wrong and we need to challenge it, and this is a very hard-hitting advertisement which challenges all of that."

NSPCC research shows that the problem is not just confined to girls, with 16% of boys also reporting that they have experienced some form of sexual violence from a boyfriend or girlfriend.

It found that the highest proportion of sexual abuse - 66% - is perpetrated by young people under the age of 18.

The adverts are aimed at 13 to 18-year-olds and feature a teenage girl being coerced into sex by a boy as a party goes on downstairs.

The girl says "I don't want to", but the boy persists. A double of the boy then appears, watching the scene from behind an invisible wall.

The viewer is asked "If you could see yourself, would you see rape?"

The adverts will run for a month on youth TV channels, starting tonight, during programmes such as E4's Skins.

Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone, who also took part in the discussion with the youngsters, said: "Teenagers are inundated with information about relationships, from their friends, the internet and TV.

"This campaign aims to dispel the myths that can lead to acceptance of rape in relationships.

"Bringing the issue out in the open will help teenagers feel confident about challenging abuse when they see it and ultimately protect potential victims."

PA

News
people Biographer says cinema’s enduring sex symbol led a secret troubled life
News
newsGlobal index has ranked the quality of life for OAPs - but the UK didn't even make it into the top 10
News
people

Kirstie Allsopp has waded into the female fertility debate again

News
In 2006, Pluto was reclassified as a 'dwarf planet'
scienceBut will it be reinstated?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
people
News
Researchers say a diet of fatty foods could impede smell abilities
scienceMeasuring the sense may predict a person's lifespan
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
News
Gillian Anderson was paid less than her male co-star David Duchovny for three years while she was in the The X-Files until she protested and was given the same salary
people

Gillian Anderson lays into gender disparity in Hollywood

Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Life and Style
fashionThe Secret Angels all take home huge sums - but who earns the most?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsA Welsh town has changed its name - and a prize if you can notice how
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?