From the 24th of November to the 9th of January the Peoples History Museum will be highlighting the Greater Manchester rape crisis Centre banner.  

The banner was a collaboration between internationally acclaimed artist Ian Beesley and the Greater Manchester rape crisis Centre.  

The banner was created to raise awareness of the struggle many women face each year.  

With 2021 having the highest recorded number of rapes recorded in the UK.

The current rape crisis going on in the UK right now is more relevant than ever; after the surplus of protests that have occurred in the last few months surrounding the increase in women being spiked.  

Anne Stebbing, who works for the greater Manchester Rape crisis Centre explained the inspiration behind creating the banner as well as some of the services the greater Manchester rape crisis Centre provide.  

Greater Manchester Rape Crisis was set up by a small group of local women around 1977 in response to the lack of services and support for women who had experienced rape or sexual abuse. 

“We remain a locally based, feminist grassroots organisation. GMRC provides information and support to any woman over 18 who has experienced rape or sexual abuse, whether or not she has reported her experience to the police.

“Most of the women we support are adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse who have not reported their experience to the police, indeed for many, we may be the first people they have ever talked to about what happened.”

The banner was created during the 2021 COVID lockdown in the hope to reflect the work that the GMRC provide.  

“We wanted to show the positive impact the support GMRC provides has on the lives of survivors.  

“The motivation was to engage as a group in an activity that would enable us all to work together on something which was a joyful activity and to keep us in contact with each other during the lockdown. 

“We also wanted to illustrate that working in a Rape Crisis Centre can be an uplifting positive experience where staff and volunteers are honoured to walk with survivors on their road to recovery, whatever that means for them.”

The People’s History Museum was set up with the intention to display the past present and future of democracy in this country.  

Anne said “it is important that the banner is displayed in the PHM as violence against women is part of the experience of women and girls and it is often hidden from view.

“Sexual violence, in particular, is shrouded in shame and secrecy and having our banner on display brings this issue out in to the open and highlights the support available for survivors.”

The recent protest surrounding the increase in spiking have certainly put the discussion of the current UK rape crisis at the forefront of the public’s consciousness 

Photo Taken by Archie Richards

Anne explained her thoughts on the recent protests. “Any protest that empowers those involved in it and highlights issues which otherwise be overlooked so I think the protests around spiking are a positive thing.”

A wider understanding of the prevalence and impact of rape and sexual violence and a discussion around the myths which stigmatize survivors are vital. If we are to improve the outcomes for victims in the criminal justice system, we must address the systemic misogyny which pervades the investigation then the failure to prosecute and convict perpetrators.’ 

The greater Manchester rape Centre provide a crisis telephone line open Monday to Friday 10 am – 4 pm and Wednesdays and Thursday evenings 6 pm – 9 pm  A free face to face counselling service.  

A team of Independent Sexual Advisors can support a survivor if she wishes to make a report to the police and can support her through the criminal justice system. 

A specialist service for student women, a specialist service for women in prison and a specialist service for South Asian women, if you or someone you know need help do not be afraid to get in contact.  

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