This is my draft nomination for EVB. All criticism welcome (and needed). Do feel free to take this and change it to nominate EVB yourself!
Ending Victimisation and Blame are a campaign organisation which actively challenges victim blaming and myths about domestic and sexual violence and abuse in the media. Victim blaming and myths not only make it more difficult for women and children to report their abuse but it also results in the police, social workers, and criminal justice system from actually investigating the crimes of domestic and sexual violence and abuse to start with.
The media is a very powerful tool for transmitting myths and EVB’s work is essential in helping to change the discourse around domestic and sexual violence and abuse by demanding the media be held accountable for inaccurate reporting and misuse of legal terminology. EVB’s campaigning has resulted in numerous media outlets, from the Guardian to the BBCm changing headlines and rewriting articles.
EVB have also had success in campaigning to have the Attorney General review inappropriate sentencing of men convicted of sexual and domestic violence and abuse, including a case where a prosecutor labeled a 13 year old rape victim “predatory in all her actions” and therefore partially responsible for her own sexual assault.
Currently, 1 in 3 women experience sexual violence and 1 in 4 women experience domestic violence during their life time. A recent EU report suggests that these figures might be too positive and that many more women experience domestic and sexual violence and abuse. 2 women a week in the UK are murdered by their current or former partners. Domestic violence is on the increase in relationships among teenagers.
EVB is a small campaign which is only a year old but has already had a substantial impact on our culture. Their website hosts posts of personal experiences of victim blaming from survivors of domestic and sexual violence and abuse. For many, this is the first time they have been believed. That single act alone can change someone’s life.
Systemic victim blaming actively harms victims but so does media representation. We need the media to be held accountable for perpetuating damaging myths about domestic and sexual violence and abuse. We need victims to be able to report to the police knowing that they will be believed. We need to ensure that they can access support and medical attention without being treated as liars.
This is why EVB’s campaign is essential: no victim of domestic or sexual violence and abuse should ever think it is their fault. They should be able to access healthcare without being blamed. The police must be required to actively investigate every single incident of sexual violence reported to them and they must understand that domestic violence is a pattern of control and coercion not simply single incidents. Civil servants in front line services like housing, immigration, healthcare and education need to understand trauma so as to actively support victims and survivors. Teachers and social workers need mandatory training on victim awareness and trauma-informed practise.
EVB’s campaign demands a fundamental shift in our culture. They are a small campaign with big dreams and are already on the road to accomplishing them.