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The Unspeakable Crime: Rape

The Unspeakable Crime: Rape

Tue Jun 4, 10.35-11.35pm, BBC1

By Gabriel Tate
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A couple of weeks after C4’s extraordinary ‘The Murder Workers’ comes another chance to marvel at the courage of those affected by a profoundly traumatic event, and the consummate skill of the pioneering professionals who help them cope.

This time we’re in Manchester, where staff at St Mary’s, the UK’s first Sexual Assault Referral Unit, counsel and support victims of rape as they seek justice and try to move on. Juliet and Kellie are the focal points of the documentary: the former was attacked while drunk on New Year’s Eve, while the latter was a sex worker with a history of drug use. The work of organisations like St Mary’s has gone a long way towards ensuring that the days of these circumstances being deemed mitigating for attacks are in the past. But the need for forensic evidence is still paramount, and this can be as upsetting to gather as verbal testimony.

There’s no denying that this is harrowing and occasionally sickening viewing; but it performs the essential service of destigmatising the victims and championing the invaluable support work of some remarkable individuals.
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