Nottinghamshire Police have been accused of trivialising rape with their recent ‘Nightmare before Christmas’ poem, in a campaign to raise awareness about sexual assaults.
The Police Force have adapted a version of ‘Twas the night before Christmas’ to involve the story of a woman being sexually attacked on Christmas Eve.
“Our message to men is that it’s not acceptable to take advantage of a woman because she has had a drink or is being sociable.”
The poem has suffered a heavy backlash from the public, particularly from the national charity Women’s Aid, who have urged the removal of the image from Police websites.
Cathy Saunders, of the Midlands Women’s Aid, said the poem trivialised sexual violence and was “quite appalled that the authorities thought this would have the desired effect on perpetrators.”
However, Helen Chamberlain, from Nottinghamshire Police, said the Police have been heavily criticised in the past for focussing on victims and this year decided to instead target perpetrators.
She added, “Our message to men is that it’s not acceptable to take advantage of a woman because she has had a drink or is being sociable. And women shouldn’t have to tolerate or be forced to guard themselves from predatory behaviour.”
The last line of the poem , “Don’t think you can take what you want because you want it” epitomises this.
“It has obviously received the attention wanted to at least make people think about the issue.”
Students from the University of Nottingham commented on the poem, with the majority of reactions disagreeing with the light-hearted nuance of such a serious crime.
A second year student stated, “Why are they going about mixing crimes such as rape with Christmas poems? It makes no sense.” Whilst another maintained that it was “confusing and wrong”.
Nevertheless, not all reactions were agianst the poem, as a third year student commented, “It has obviously received the attention wanted to at least make people think about the issue”.
Nottingham Police have denied the poem as offensive and despite admitting it had “caused a stir” they have decided not to remove the poem from its website.
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