Friday, March 28, 2008

Widespread Survivor Blaming

A national poll in Ireland shows that a large percentage of people believe that rape survivors bear some or all of the blame for their attack.

More than 30% think a victim is some way responsible if she flirts with a man or fails to say no clearly.

10% of people think the victim is entirely at fault if she has had a number of sexual partners.

37% think a woman who flirts extensively is at least complicit, if not completely in the wrong, if she is the victim of a sex crime.

One in three think a woman is either partly or fully to blame if she wears revealing clothes.

38% believe a woman must share some of the blame if she walks through a deserted area.

Cliona Saidlear, policy officer at Rape Crisis Network Ireland, told the press that the results of this study account for the fact that Ireland has the lowest rape conviction rate in Europe.
“We as a society need to have this discussion. It is not just about what other people can do, these are attitudes we can change ourselves because this is not acceptable. If people are thinking somehow because you are drunk or wear certain clothes you are inviting rape then it makes it even harder for a woman to report what happened. You can see this in the massive levels of under-reporting by the victims of rape.”
This statement could just as well have been directed at an American audience. In a nation where this passes for journalism, and this passes for a harmless prank, we can't deny a serious problem of victim blaming with regard to violence against women. Fortunately, the study did show some hope in the fact that younger people were much more likely to place the blame solely on the perpetrator.

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