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Date rape drama: Oliver Milburn and Thandie Newton court controversy

As television highlights 'date rape' a new survey reveals Scottish women still fear attacks from strangers. Words. Stephen Naysmith WOileN'S SAFETY IN Edinburgh :s spotlighted in a new survey which reveals one in four women has experienced sexual abuse, and more than half have been physically assaulted

While the survey suggests women feel safer during

f the day and in or near their homes, the pzcture

changes at night, transport, public car parks and men walking in the streets

The findings were revealed .r‘ a new survey of women's experiences and fears carried out by the City of Edinburgh C(‘runcil and community safety Organisations

The study vvill help the council address women's concerns, a spokeswoman explained 'Women are flashed at, followed and, verbally abused as an everyday OCCUrrence,’ she said They feei partICUiarly vulnerable if they cannot easily leave the SIIUQIIOY‘. ~ for example while waiting for a bus or train

.uhen women aveid publi:

However, the debate over so-called 'date rape’ Wlll reopen when BBCZ airs the controversial film In Your Dreams llllS week, as part of its Love Bites season, Starring Thanclre Newton, it plays out an alleged sex attack, from the point of vrew of both vrctim and accused, against the background of the subsequent CCurl case

Date, or acquaintance rape is a significant issue, accordzng tt: June Strachan, outreach worker wrth Edinburgh Rape Ci!SI'~, which was also Involved in the research 'thle fears about 'apists lUlTlplng out from :iark afleys are S’.’O.".:_t, ‘.'.-::-.'.'t(‘:rt are much more at risk in the-r owrz home} She said On“; 7% of women who (ontatt us are attacked by a stranger. For the rest :t is sorrreone they know or are acquainted With

tl(‘\‘.'l?‘»(?f teirrts like 'date rape' are unhelpful, she argues ‘It is 'i'-:e sayznc; there are different kinds of rape It doesn't matter whether it is on a date, Within marriage, by a famin member or a stranger rape Is a horrendOLis, dim.nishing, traumatic experience

The survey ltighhohts the need for better sen/ices, argues Strachan' 'Women would like the freedom to live \‘xithr‘ut these fears. Secure, reliable public transport and better lighting would help enormously'


e lea women’s fears

When I woke up he was

on top—ofme' Edinburgh office worker Fay, 26, was raped two years ago by her colleague, Phil. On a staff evening out, both had a lot to drink. To save him the cab fare home Fay said he could stay at hers.

'Though we went to sleep in separate beds, I woke to find him on top of me,’ she says. She tried to prevent what was happening, but was handicapped by her own confusion.

'I was telling him to stop, but I didn't know how we had got in that situation,’ she explains. 'i couldn't remember what happened before we went to bed, but he couldn’t be doing this unless I had somehow invited it, could he?’

She is now sure it was rape, but still has feelings of guilt and says involving the police would have been futile. ’I was drunk, I invited him into my flat. When it was over he stayed the rest of the night. What would they have thought?’

Two years on, Fay is in a steady relationship and a new job, but says the incident has left her wary of those around her. 'It is absolutely true about being no safer in y0ur own home,’ she says. ‘You are just as at risk from those you know.’

The names of those involved have been changed.

A spokesman for the c0uncil's community safety unit said the survey would have practical results 'We \Nlll urgently consult wrth public transport providers ab0ut siting and lighting of bus stops. Public and private car parks also need to be improved'

However, he admitted safety in the home was harder to tackle. ‘We would like to see more public education, espeCially in schools, to help change athtudes,’ he said,

In Your Dreams is on BBC2, Sun 14 Dec, 10.15pm. See feature, page 12.

I I 10 Edinburgh women responded to the survey 2% felt unsafe at home during the day

61% felt unsafe in car parks at night

43% felt unsafe waiting for buses at night

43% had suffered rude comments/ verbal abuse 54% had been physically assaulted

28% had been made to take part in unwanted sexual activrty

illndfinally . .. time running out for ‘Braveheart’ bigots

A HISTORICAL PECULIARITY is that Labour governments usually bring with them a rise in racist activity. Usually, this is a reaction to lefty liberalism - who could ever forget the sloganeering of an enlightened Tory candidate in the 505 - 'if you want a nigger neighbour, vote Labour.’ Oddly, with this Government the opposite seems to be true as they endeavour to do as little as possible. Meanwhile,

rugby internationals which, according to an anonymous company spokesman, ’was good fun twenty years ago, but it’s not now.’

Anti-English sentiments are likely to provoke a ’Braveheart backlash' and affect sales down south, it is argued. Or could it be that the chips which have sat so neatly on Scots shoulders for years have found a new resting place.

HOUSING HAS ALWAYS been one area in which racism has thrived. The Bridgeton and Dalmarnock Housing

dismay of the locals whose council representatives have fired off a strongly-worded letter to the 88C. You would have thought their energies would be better directed towards those who, according to the programme-makers, harassed incoming families and taunted their children in a bid to drive them away.

YET, WHAT CHANCE is there for real progress when we have a Foreign Secretary who is doing his damnedest to make the previous post-holders seem like paragons of

evidence mounts that Scottish cities, towns and villages are as ravaged by intolerance as some of their southern neighbours.

THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY, for one, is worried about the effects bigotry could have on the economy. Leading lights have spoken out about the Murrayfield factor - a reference to anti-English chanting at

' Association has been condemned by

Scottish Ombudsman John Richards for failing to protect a Catholic family from harassment and leaving

them in a 'strongly Orange area.’

Still, the family were probably asking for it moving in to such an area as Bridgeton where name-calling and

F flute-playing are standard and a schoolboy is murdered for wearing : the wrong football strip. Rather puts

Braveheart backlash: should laws

protect the English? to bed the theory that sectarian abuse begins and ends in the stands at lbrox and Parkhead.

, AT LEAST THERE are murmurings of

laws to prevent the kind of anti-

' English behaviour which the recent

Front/ine Scotland sought to highlight in Brechin - much to the

egalitarianism. Robin Cook has been lobbying the far right vote with his recent statements about Czech gypsies seeking asylum, claiming that Britain will not adopt an 'open- door policy' or be a ’soft touch.‘ Little wonder then, that the BNP cannot keep their deposits, when their sentiments are being so well represented elsewhere.

(Brian Donaldson)

5—18 Dec 1997 THE llST25