G4S running rape support. Fuck that shit.

Content note: This post discusses rape and the aftermath

I have written before about why I never reported my rape to the police, and reams about the trail of disgusting fuck-ups the police have displayed in handling of rape. I know that many feel the same way, unable to trust this violent, patriarchal institution to help healing and justice. Yet some do, or at least see going to the police is the best option available. And for some, the police really are helpful. For the rest of us, we look at the police and plot revolution, plot for a day when they are the best option for none as we deal with the entrenched societal problem with rape and let go of models of retributive justice, doing away with this coercive arm of the state.

Getting rid of the police and their role in dealing with the aftermath of rape requires a revolution. It doesn’t require what the state are doing: outsourcing rape support services to G4S. It is reported in the Birmingham Mail that the private security company will be managing sexual assault referral centres in Walsall and Birmingham, where their staff will be present in the centres doing medical assessments and providing advice. The regurgitated press release informs us that survivors will not even have to speak to the police first. Under privatisation, this coded little phrase usually means “because the police will send them there anyway”.

In the context of the state’s continued programme of cutting literally everything that makes life a little more tolerable, they are presenting us with a choice: get nothing for rape support, or have G4S. In a conversation on Twitter last night, I idly wondered which was worse, my own personal thoughts drifting towards it being G4S. A reply from @gherkinette helped put my finger on a lot of the problem: “allowing people to trust you and then fucking up is in my experience worse than no help at all. Others may disagree.”

Once, I told a friend I trusted about the awful things that had happened to me in greater detail than I have ever told anyone else. I was rewarded with a complete lack of sensitivity and unhelpfulness, a nagging sense of not being believed. I am no longer friends with that person, and it was not at all conducive to my own healing process, throwing me into a deep depression and rendering it nearly impossible for me to talk about any of this stuff with reference to my own personal experience. I sometimes beat myself up for putting my trust in that person, even though on a level I know that the fault was theirs and not mine.

So I can only imagine how fucking awful it must be for a survivor to make the decision to report, and be lumbered with G4S and their enormous scope for fucking up enormously. As a private company, they are far less accountable for errors than the police–who have proved, time and time again to avoid accountability at all costs. What we know of G4S is that it was they who were responsible for a cock-up of such magnitude that the Army had to be called in. That they are famous for running prisons and detention centres for immigrants, hardly a sector known for its sensitivity. That they undertake similar work in Israel and Palestine. And now, that the responsibility for sensitively helping survivors of sexual violence is being placed in their incapable hands, all for the sake of a political agenda.

They have ruined many lives already, and the doors have been thrown open for them to ruin more lives in new, different ways.

It is a repugnant state of affairs that this task is being entrusted to G4S. We need that revolution more than ever.

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17 responses to “G4S running rape support. Fuck that shit.

  • PedroStephano

    Very sorry to hear of your story. Please be assured that there are some (dunno %) of fellas out here who would not never ever think of or do such a thing.

  • Ms Understand

    Rape as a commodity to be privatised and exploited. I despair. I just….

    So now victims of rape/sexual assault are seen as nothing more than a potential for profit extraction?

    *Screams*

  • cabrogal

    I used to work on restorative justice projects around sexual assault in Sydney (some, but not all, anarchist) and not only were they usually a lot less satisfying in terms of justice than I’d expected but they seemed to spread the trauma around (including to me) without lifting it from the victim (or community or the offender for that matter).

    The C.P.R. in your earlier post sure sounds better but somehow feels like it wouldn’t actually work properly in the real world – even without the risk of bystanders joining and turning it into a lynch mob.

    Fucking hard question.
    Don’t even know if I believe a workable answer is possible anymore.
    But yeah, G4S sure don’t sound like one.

  • Ms Understand

    Reblogged this on msunderstand and commented:
    Rape as a commodity to be privatised and exploited. I despair. I just….

    So now victims of rape/sexual assault are seen as nothing more than a potential for profit extraction?

    *Screams*

  • gherkinette

    I am SO angry about G4S even being allowed to supply the tea and coffee for Sexual Assault Referral Centres, but I think it’s important to clarify what a SARC is for people who don’t know.

    They are specialist centres, often sited in a hospital but separate, staffed by highly trained professionals who only deal with survivors of sexual violence. They work closely with the police and in most cases are partly funded by the police but remain totally independent. The main way they work with the police is to obtain evidence in a way that least damages the victim. They have no say on what the police do with that evidence once it is passed on.

    SARCs are open to anyone (check for men’s services at yours) within a year of assault. You can self refer, be referred by a doctor or org or by the police. You are under no obligation to involve the police or undergo an exam if the police are involved. You can opt to have a rape exam, collect samples and then not persue a case but still receive medical care and counselling.

    In my experience, the SARC was like an advocate for me. They defended me when the police treated me like an exhibit. They kept in touch and answered the questions that seemed too silly for everyone else. They gave me the morning after pill and hepatitis vaccines. They remembered my name when I came back 4 years to donate items to them. They could not however protect me from the incompetence of the Met.

    My experience with The Haven in London was the only thing that kept me going after my rape. I would honestly wouldn’t have made it without them. Had I known they were making money from my desperation and the existence of sexual violence, I couldn’t have gone. My rape would have become currency. Some one would have benefitted from my brutalisation.

    I feel physically sick just thinking about that guy with the big cuffs who got hauled up in front of the Parliamentary committee over the Olympics recouping his bonus because people have been raped and asked for help.

  • cabrogal

    How butting into other people’s rapes can fuck with your head – and your relationships.
    http://neurodrooling.wordpress.com/2013/04/30/after-the-concert/

  • mandasiefert39

    Reblogged this on starfire8me and commented:
    I totally agree, I was molested by my dad when I was younger. He always lived in a different place, though. When I did get the chance, though I called my Mom and she said she didn’t know where I was. Nothing was done. Finally, I told an x-friend of mine at school because she could tell something was wrong. So, she talked me into telling the teacher. Dept. of family,child service came out, took a report, and I went through all steps, and STILL nothing was done. A year or two later he died from a brain aneurism. I am so sorry to hear about you xoxo Amanda

  • jemima101

    I wonder if it is someone proposing the Australian model, and as normal when it gets into the hands of the condems it turns into a total fuck up?
    (In australia u can go to a center where details, forensics ect are taken without having to make a police report, This evidence is kept so that there is a record of the rape should u feel strong enough at a later date to go to the police, it has raised conviction rates)

    • Caroline Holding (@carolineholding)

      A friend of mine was raped recently in the UK and she was offered a similar option

    • cabrogal

      Maybe its changed in the last five years but last I took a look the forensics weren’t having much impact on conviction rates in NSW on account of nearly all the defences being argued on consent.

      But I was really talking about options for people who don’t want to go to the cops and courts, not the support services. I never had anything to do with that side.

  • Caroline Holding (@carolineholding)

    My first experiance of G4S was when I was an anti road protester at Twyford Down and they were doing the security. They were called Group 4 then, we used to call them ‘Grope 4′.

  • Nile

    It’s not for a political agenda, it’s for private profit.

    And, of course, for personal profit: have a look at the careers of ministers – Labour and Conservative – after they leave the Commons.

    It’s not about savings for the taxpayer: all such arrangements are more costly than public bodies providing public services with people on the public-sector payroll.

    It definitely isn’t about improving the quality of services provided to the public.

    The ‘politics’ is a smokescreen: this is about money, and selling the public for rent.

  • Creise

    Whilst I do not wish suggest anything negative about your report of your experience with the Police, I’m not sure you should cast the whole institution with a bad brush or assume that they cannot evolve.

    After growing up in Manchester in the 80s and as a young working-class guy receiving the unwanted attention of them on several occasions my natural inclination to the institution is probably the same as yours.

    And yet, living with a senior social worker and strong feminist directly responsible for managing the DV service in her area, from what I hear they are very concerned to take any form of sexual violence extremely seriously and to go to great lengths to support victims. My partner is very supportive of what they police do and positive on the services they provide and how they treat victims, and from the few occasions I’ve seem them close up in relation to this – albeit it only on a few white ribbon marches – their commitment does seem to be there: to the level of chief and deputy chief constables making a point of turning up year on year and emphasising their commitment.

    As I say, I do not want to cast one iota of doubt on your own experience of the service, but the police are not necessarily the bad guys. As one said to me, he had a teenage daughter himself.

    • cabrogal

      I know quite a few cops and ex-cops and count a couple among my friends.

      There’s a few a-grade arseholes among them but mostly they’re just regular folk like everyone else and when they can they take pains to help people out and minimise the misery that comes with being involved in a criminal offence.

      But the institution is abusive (not least to the cops themselves) and there is just no way it can deal with many people’s experience of sexual assault.

      One reason is because not all victims *want* the cops to deal with it – and I’m not just talking ideological anarchists.

      And one reason for that is that not every victim wants the offender imprisoned.

      Keep in mind that in the overwhelming majority of cases, victim and offender have a pre-existing relationship. Ex-partner, “friend”, family member …

      Others are less scared of the rapist going free now than of him being set free after years of bastardisation in prison with a grudge against the person he blames for putting him there.

      And others just don’t think the revenge/retribution trip is useful for their own recovery.

      And even if you get violently raped by a near stranger, going to the police is just as likely to lead to you standing in a witness box while some bloke in a horsehair wig tries to imply that you’re actually into rough sex and didn’t really mind it at all – no matter how sensitive the cops might be about it. (Yeah, I know lawyers aren’t *supposed* to pull that kind of shit, but they’re very good at getting around rules and regulations).

      The system is well and truly broken.

      And I wouldn’t have a clue how it might be fixed.

    • cabrogal

      I don’t know what its like in the UK, but here in Aus there have been big cuts in legal aid recently.

      The result?

      An increasing number of rape victims are now being cross-examined by their unrepresented rapist.

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