Rape message is good start

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WHEN a woman is raped, who is to blame?

It sounds a facile question to answer – but it isn’t.

On too many occasions, victims of rape are confronted with accusations that they were in some way at fault.

Nationally, fewer than six out of 100 women who are raped see their attacker caught and punished in the courts.

And evidence from many sources and organisations point to the fact that this is due in large part to the stereotypical views too many people hold about women, particularly young women.

The phrase that is commonly used is victim blaming. Had the victim been drinking? Why was she scantily dressed? Had she said anything suggestive?

All these and many more are quoted as reasons why juries and indeed those in the criminal justice profession fail to convict or pursue investigations.

So the decision by South Yorkshire Police to launch a new campaign tackling those attitudes and targeting the rapists is welcome.

The Director of Public Prosecutions last year said: “A woman is never responsible for being raped or sexually assaulted but a culture of victim-blaming is still prevalent within our society – including with jurors.”

If we want to break the cycle that ends with a third of women being raped or sexually assaulted at some point during their lives, then these damning attitudes need to be challenged.

This poster campaign is a great start – but it is only a start.

Why it’s time to drop homes plan

BUILDING homes on green-field sites always causes concern, especially in a city like Sheffield which is renowned for its open spaces.

So when the city’s local plan revealed these cherished areas could be built on, the reaction was hostile. Residents in Worrall, Woodhouse and Norton were particularly vocal about the possibility of houses in their green and pleasant land.

We appreciated that their concerns were valid, but when the city’s population needed homes, all areas had to be considered. However, times have changed due to a fall in demand for new homes and planners must now rethink their priorities.

This means that 18 sites which had been earmarked for possible housing will now be reviewed.

This is a good example of the council adapting to changing circumstances and if there is no need for the homes, they should not be built.

Customer loyalty

AFTER all the gloomy predictions, South Yorkshire retailers reported a positive festive season.

While the national picture reported declining sales, many of the region’s local shopping centres are painting a different picture.

And it’s all down to their loyal customer base seeing them through difficult times. Crystal Peaks and Atkinsons were bouyant while Rotherham Parkgate and The Alhambra Shopping Centre in Barnsley remain confident.

All of which proves you cannot put a price on customer loyalty.