POLICE have launched a campaign to combat an increase in rape and sexual assaults in the run-up to Christmas.
Last year, 85 rapes were reported to Cheshire Police between October and December – double the amount reported in the same period in 2010.
Police officers dealing with the increase face real challenges and the new ‘Rape shatters lives – There is no excuse’ campaign was launched this week.
Cheshire Police assistant chief constable Ruth Purdie said: “Our message is clear – anyone who uses force to have sex with another person is committing a criminal offence.
“Everyone has the right to say no to sex – without consent, sex with another person is rape.
“We are warning potential offenders this Christmas that there is no excuse for rape and we want to reassure victims of rape that we are committed to getting justice for them.
“Rape shatters lives, it is a distressing act and officers, when they are investigating allegations of rape, will not accept appalling excuses from offenders for their actions. The law is clear – no means no.”
Many people find rape difficult to talk about as the images it conjures up are distressing.
The new campaign aims to spell out to potential offenders the impact rape has on the lives of victims.
Assistant chief constable Purdie added: “We need to remove the taboos and myths that surround rape and sexual violence and start to discuss it in the open.
“We need to make it socially unacceptable for people to think that they can offer an excuse as a means of mitigating their actions when they are charged with an offence of rape or sexual assault.
“There are no excuses for rape or sexual violence and those who normalise, deny or blame the victim for their own actions must understand that making excuses for themselves or their friends who have used force to get ‘what they wanted’ will not be tolerated.”