We Believe You campaign set up after survey finds many victims do not report attacks due to shame and low conviction rates
The parenting website Mumsnet has launched a campaign to support sex attack victims after one in 10 women responding to its poll said they had been raped.
The survey of 1,600 women found that a tenth of those who responded said they had been raped and a third sexually assaulted.
But more than four in five of the victims did not report the attack to police due to concerns over low conviction rates, embarrassment and shame, the figures showed.
A total of 1,609 women chose to complete the survey online between February and March.
Launching the We Believe You campaign, the site's co-founder Justine Roberts said society was less sympathetic to victims than it should be.
"We simply shouldn't accept that we live in a country where one in 10 women are raped and over one third sexually assaulted," she said.
"Things are made worse by the feeling among many women that they can't talk about these crimes for fear of being treated unsympathetically, denying them access to practical and emotional support when they need it most.
"The message from the men and women on Mumsnet is clear: we believe you ? and we want others in society to start believing you too."
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) welcomed the campaign, saying rape and sexual assault were dreadful crimes that were "often difficult for someone to report because of fear, shame and embarrassment".
Alison Saunders, the chief crown prosecutor for CPS London, said: "I support the message of the We Believe You campaign, its aim to raise awareness of the extent of these crimes, and to challenge preconceptions.
"As a society we need to be aware of the myths and stereotypes that members of the public who become jury members may hold and which have the potential to influence court outcomes and ultimately lives. We need to challenge these myths and stereotypes which prejudge victims and add to their ordeal."
She said prosecutors had done a lot of work to dispel the stereotypes, and the situation was improving. She added: "I am determined to ensure that victims are confident in coming forward and reporting these crimes and I believe the Mumsnet campaign will help us to achieve this."
Rape Crisis England and Wales, said in a statement: "Mumsnet's survey reflects what we know from decades of working directly with women, that rape and sexual violence is widespread and getting support to rebuild their lives is critical. In fact the vast majority of survivors who contact Rape Crisis do not report to the police. Despite improvements in police procedure, victims of sexual violence often lack confidence in the courts and legal system."
Holly Dustin, director of the End Violence Against Women coalition, said: "We fully support Mumsnet's We Believe You and applaud Mumsnetters for shining a spotlight on this issue. When women say they feel that society, the legal system and media are unsympathetic to rape survivors we should sit up and take notice.
"We want to see ongoing investment in public campaigns to tackle public attitudes ? similar to drink-driving campaigns ? as well as work with young people in schools on sexual consent, healthy relationships and gender stereotypes."