Our Mission Statement
Our work is underpinned by the following mission:
- To provide a range of services to support women who have experienced sexual violence.
- To raise awareness about sexual violence against women and to actively challenge the values, beliefs and behaviour which contribute to women’s oppression.
We have a strong strong set of values and principles that influence our work, they are that we:
- Are a feminist organisation run by and for women.
- Will ally with and support other feminist organisations.
- Have a women centred ethos.
We are a feminist organisation, feminism informs our ethos, activities and the way in which we deliver our services.
The following beliefs inform us:
- Sexual violence is not an individual event but a manifestation of a male dominated society.
- Sexual violence is a cause and consequence of gender inequality.
- The threat of sexual violence is a way of controlling women.
As a feminist organisation we:
- Believe women.
- Provide a women only space.
- Actively challenge myths and victim blaming throughout our work.
- Collectivise the experience/s of individual women to help women understand their own experiences of sexual violence.
Feminism informs RCTN’s practice in challenging and changing the social acceptance of sexual violence.
Rape Crisis Tyneside and Northumberland is a member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and work in accordance with the BACP Ethical Framework for the Counselling Professions. All counsellors receive regular supervision with an external supervisor in line with BACP regulations. We also adhere to the Rape Crisis National Standards.
Our statement on belief – #WeBelieveYou
At Rape Crisis Tyneside and Northumberland, we work from a woman-centred, feminist perspective. We draw on both our own understanding of sexual violence and the knowledge which has been gathered within the Rape Crisis movement from the women who have used our services over the last 40 years.
This means that when women speak to us about sexual violence, we start from the position of belief. We are aware that sexual violence is widespread in society, that the perpetrators are usually not brought to justice and that they use multiple tactics to silence their victims and ensure that we are not believed. We understand that when a woman speaks about sexual violence, the overwhelming likelihood is that she is telling the truth. This is a position that is supported by the body of research and professional knowledge, but more importantly we know it to be the case from our own experiences and those of the women we work with.
We are aware of the forces which undermine women’s truths. We know that both institutions and individuals in society have a long history of denying the reality of sexual violence by asserting that women lie. We are aware of several narratives which are used to try to silence us, for example the idea that women who talk about sexual violence against them are “jealous” seeking revenge, or “looking for compensation”, or have “false memories” of childhood sexual abuse as adults. We know that society often represses the truths women try to voice, and looks away rather than confronting the horror of our experiences. We reject this.
This is why we participate in hashtags such as #webelieveyou. We do not patronise women or simplify our response to their experiences by applying belief like a band-aid. We remain prepared to believe women in a meaningful way which reflects our trust in them and our understanding of the immense difficulty of speaking about sexual violence. We are also aware that sometimes as women we aren’t able or safe enough to share the full reality of our experiences of sexual violence. We may not be able to say that a perpetrator was our husband, or our father. We may feel too afraid or ashamed to speak about particular details of an assault. We may hide them even from ourselves. When supporting women our understanding of belief includes these complexities. It reverses the shameful position taken by much of society that a woman must ‘prove’ her experiences to an outsider before she can speak, but it is not simplistic or tokenistic.