Can a rape victim ever be to blame for the crime?

   134 votes

  1. 1. Can a victim of rape ever be blamed for the perpetrators' actions?

    • Yes, if she was wearing revealing clothing
      5
    • Yes, if she was drunk and flirting with the perpetrator
      4
    • Yes, if she got in to bed with the perpetrator
      19
    • No, but women should still take care to dress modestly
      13
    • No, there is never any situation where blame can be apportioned to the victim
      93

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213 posts in this topic

I listened to this program on BBC Radio 4 earlier, The Moral Maze. After the results of a survey by the Havens service for rape victims were published that seems to show attitudes towards the subject of rape are hardening, (most surprisingly) from women.

Frankly, I think it's bullshit to even suggest that a man is incapable of controlling himself because a woman is wearing a short skirt, or even if she changes her mind in bed at the last minute, i'm also sceptical about the fact that all the respondents in the survey were from London, there are bound to be cultural factors at play that are not representative of the country as a whole.

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Oh no, Scottish children think it is ok to hit a woman if dinner is late.

 

 

about 80% of the children said a man had cause to slap his partner because she did not have the dinner ready on time.

Researcher Nancy Lombard described the findings as "worrying" because the youngsters had naturalised and normalised violent behaviour.

She said: "The children didn't agree with violence, but gave reasons to try to justify it if the woman had done something 'wrong'.

"The old saying of 'If he pulls your pigtails it means he likes you', translates into violence in adulthood which girls accept as normal."

 

The study also suggested that girls expected to modify their behaviour and narrow expectations once they were married and had children.

One of the girls said: "I want to be a dancer or a doctor."

But she added: "When I grow up I'm going to have two babies and work part-time in the shop down the road."

 

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It's almost a bullshit question - a crime is a crime is a crime. The question absolutely cannot be one of guilt or innocence. However, is it right for a judge to take it into account when sentencing. For example is a date rape where the guy forces himself upon his date whilst on the sofa having a coffee as bad as the one where the girl turns around, in bed, naked, and says no.

 

It's a very fine line indeed and I guess I have more sympathy for the second guy, but they're both rapists at the end of the day, and I think, crucially, it's about how the victim is affected - and I'm guessing that a real victim in either of those cases would feel just as badly as the other.

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Long ago, in a short term relationship, I had sex with my then boyfriend without a condom, letting him know that he needed to pull out. Well, he didn't, saying later that the orgasm was coming and he couldn't pull out. I was screaming no, when he was driving in deeper and deeper, and it wasn't without a number of pushes that he came. Well, I was worried about pregnancy, and he was worried about his orgasm.

 

Now, think of all the situations where you view things one way, and the person you are with views them another way, has another agenda.

 

Frankly, with experience, I wouldn't put myself in a lot of situations, expecting the other person to do the "right thing." As in the Hausmeister thread, there's always trying to get back what one has lost via a lawsuit, but what do you really want to risk losing beforehand?

 

The last time I was in England, I was absolutely shocked with what women were wearing in the pub, and the level of aggressiveness with which they were coming on to men. I would have easily been able to judge which woman was ripe for the picking that night, I thought. I thought there is no way you could not get lucky that night, if you really wanted to. I did think there was an "up for it" vibe and way of dress. That said, these women could have got very, very drunk, which accounted for their aggressive behavior. They could very well have sobered up by the time they were at a guy's place, or wherever, and would want to say "no."

 

Anyway, it would surprise me if I went home with some half dressed woman, who was aggressive/highly responsive and flashing her body,would then say no. Going with someone with the hormones that the former boyfriend had, I wouldn't be surprised that some of these women had sex when they didn't want to, once they had sobered up.

 

On the other hand, I remember wearing a sexy dress, although not hanging out anywhere, for another boyfriend and being stared at aggressively by a man at another table at the restaurant we were at. I wanted to look sexy and enjoy my boyfriend, and it was really annoying having to deal with a man who would not stop staring at me for a moment. It really killed the buzz. So, anyway, I can empathize with wanting to look good for one particular man, or just to feel pretty out with one's mates, and having some stranger get carried away anyway. The difference is, no way would I go out of the restaurant/pub whatever with that man...and I would have been careful about my drink.

 

Again, you sometimes want to let your hair down...all I can say is that with experience, I've learned to dress more modestly and watch the alcohol intake/degree of commitment of friends I'm out with.

 

You've just got to be careful. My two cents.

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SilentReader - Agreed - that said, however, I wonder if it's then a logical extension to say that a man who goes out with a knife and jumps a girl walking her dog is just as bad as the boyfriend or date who then goes further than he has permission. I'm not up-to-speed on the English law on rape these days, and I'd imagine that sentencing guidelines see date-rape as worthy of a lesser sentence, but I do think that a distinction between the two might perhaps be worth investigating.

 

It's a nightmare area though - emotions run very high and it's extremely hard to be objective. Of course, a savvy defence lawyer will always bring up things like what the victim was wearing, or perhaps her past history. Should that even be allowed? The question so far has almost been 'is rape acceptable if she was wearing a short skirt', whereas I think the real question, from a legal standpoint at least, is should things like the attire of the victim be fair game for a defence lawyer - rape is always wrong, of course it is, but how far can the defendant go in his defence. Tricky one.

 

I'm sorry to read SilentReader's story though - it's not easy to be objective when you read something like that, and your first emotion is simply to think how badly you'd like to beat the guy up...

 

Just my two cents.

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Oh Jesus, what a question!! Just remember that rape is not exclusively a vagina issue, there are enough men and boys who have been ass-raped and will never be the same again either....How can one portion blame on a victim of any crime? the only possibility is if you adhere to a system of an eye for an eye, then you can clear your conscience while committing any act....who decides what is a fair retribution...that`s another matter.

I just hope this post doesn`t turn into vagina rights against penis wielding male oppressors!!!

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If all a man was interested in was getting off, then he could do that all by himself. No, rape is all about control.

 

Her clothes are irrelevent, as women completely covered get raped and women have no control over what happens in a man's mind.

 

There is never a circumstance that "the woman had it coming". Never.

 

EDIT: And yes, that same principle aplies to any victim, male or female-

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Anytime a deadly weapon is used the crime has multiplied in my mind. That is true for ANY crime, not just rape.

 

In the case against my attacker where I was FORCED by the state to testify, the defense attorney said announced in front of a courtroom full of people that I was not wearing panties underneath my slacks that night. The conclusion that she was trying to push is that I was obviously a sex crazed maniac that couldn't take the time to pull a pair of panties off while out on the prowl. It could have been that, or maybe it was because I didn't want panty-lines...hmmm. Either way, it was stricken from the record, which really served to do nothing but block the prosecutor from the defense attorney's implications.

 

No. In answer to your question. I think that I should be allowed to show up at a bar wearing nothing but a pair of fishnets, drink myself into a sloppy mess and not have to worry about a man forcing himself on me. It may not be the way the world works, but it should be. And suggesting that the man who rapes be in my fishnets is any better than a rapist who jumps out from behind a dumpster in an alley is simply blaming the victim for her perpetrators actions.

 

EDIT: I just want to make it clear that I am not a man hater. I love men, one in particular. :) Man does not equal rapist. It is rapists that I am less then fond of. And the rape of a man is just as awful.

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Rape is more extreme than being a control issue, it`s about power through domination and humiliation, hence its use in some societies as a tool of torture and punishment where sexual gratification is not the primary issue.

Sick,hard,but unfortunately true!

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I'm not sure you can generalise that much. There seem to be many different reasons.

 

It's a sickening crime in that the victims can be traumatised for life and yet it's very hard to get a conviction because it's one word against another. Justice seems to come all too rarely.

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She is never "to blame", but that doesn't mean there are situations where victims should have taken more responsibility for their own safety.

 

Just like, when I got shitfaced and wandered into the "bad" (relatively speaking) part of the reeperbahn and got mugged. I wasn't to blame, per se, but I certainly shouldn't have been dumb enough to get that pissed and stumble around alone.

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What percentage of rapes do you think fall into that category? I'd wager not too many.

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@ lilplatinum - being pissed and stumbling around alone is absolutely no reason for you to have been attacked in any way, shape or form!

I guess you were lucky to have "only" been mugged!

As has been said before, rape is all about control - some men find it more ofa turn-on if the person they are about to have sex with is terrified and struggling like mad to get away. It´s sad but true.

For me there is never an excuse for rape - a woman should be able to wear whatever she likes, go wherever she likes and do whatever she likes without having to be afraid of being attacked!

And men who are convicted of rape should have their "little friend" chopped off so that they can NEVER repeat their crime!

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Which category do you mean Pas? I imagine that the vast majority of rapes are of people who know each other well enough. Much more common than being dragged off of a street or drugged in a club. In fact many of the victims of rape are wives and girlfriends.

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But it is all too easy to pick up a pissd up lass, get her home...

 

Get her all juiced up and slip her a length, then in the Morning she regrets it and calls rape!!

 

You wouldnt get many Blokes doing that!

 

SP

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@ lilplatinum - being pissed and stumbling around alone is absolutely no reason for you to have been attacked in any way, shape or form!

I guess you were lucky to have "only" been mugged!

As has been said before, rape is all about control - some men find it more ofa turn-on if the person they are about to have sex with is terrified and struggling like mad to get away. It´s sad but true.

For me there is never an excuse for rape - a woman should be able to wear whatever she likes, go wherever she likes and do whatever she likes without having to be afraid of being attacked!

And men who are convicted of rape should have their "little friend" chopped off so that they can NEVER repeat their crime!

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utopia

 

And women who falsely accuse men of rape should have?

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Oh I don't know SpiderPig, if a man picked me up while I was blind drunk, took me home and 'slipped me a length' I might wake up and regret it.

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Could have been worded better, but that is just the kind of scenario where it's difficult to pin blame on the perpetrator if there is no evidence of physical assault.

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I had sex with my then boyfriend without a condom

 

Way too much information for this time of the morning...

 

Anyway I listened to the same program and thought the most telling argument was the simple one that if you replace 'rape' with 'robbery', or any other crime for that matter, in your argument then ask yourself if it still makes sense. It's an interesting program and worth half an hour of background attention and I guess the arguments are more coherent and informed than what we'll get here.

 

Also the thread title doesn't accurately reflect the sense of the BBC program - the main question is should the possible or perceived blurring of responsibilities that may occur under some situations ever be reflected in the criminal justice system. For example: If a woman, walking down the street minding her own business, is raped by someone who is hiding in the bushes waiting for her and another woman goes out, gets blind drunk, flirts with a man, goes to his house, gets in his bed, then says no to sex but he carries on anyway have the two women become victims of the same crime in the eyes of the law?

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