During my five years campaigning, I have come to the conclusion that the most important thing that needs to happen is a shift in our cultural attitudes toward women and sex. Improved laws, better university policies, all of these things can help, but without broader changes in culture, we will always be fighting a losing battle.
Considering that most rapists walk free from court, or never even make it to court in the first place, what is off-putting, what is frightening, and what is silencing, is the hysterical, gleeful, response from men and women, denigrating the complainant with a level of passion about rape which I never see in response to an actual rape conviction.
I am at a loss. The Evans court case has filled me with such unease. Mostly, I am worried that this will put other women off from reporting their rape cases. Who on earth would want to put their past sex life up to such intense scrutiny? It just feels so wrong, on so many levels that I can't get my head round it all.
Nick raped Ellie. It is irrelevant that she kissed him, or invited him into her bedroom. She couldn't stand up, she was talking nonsense about pandas, she turned away from him. The next day, she couldn't remember what had happened. If someone is not enthusiastically demonstrating with their words, their body language, their actions, that they are consenting to sex, then they are not consenting to sex.
The media needs to stop normalising rape and pushing blame onto the victim. Secret survivors of rape are everywhere. This burden will always be with them. We need to make it easier for survivors of rape to talk about what has happened; we need to make it easier for survivors to come forward. The media needs to stop with its crude reporting of rape.
Rape is still one of the lowest reported, and convicted crimes, and in order to change that, we need to come forward and break our silence. We need to stand together, not just as rape survivors, but as communities, and shout that we will not accept the objectification and abuse of our bodies - male or female.