An ICM poll in the UK reveals public attitudes about rape:
A new ICM opinion poll commissioned by Amnesty International indicates that a third (34%) of people in the UK believe that a woman is partially or totally responsible for being raped if she has behaved in a flirtatious manner.
The poll, â€˜Sexual Assault Researchâ€™, published today (21 November) as part of Amnesty Internationalâ€™s â€˜Stop Violence Against Womenâ€™ campaign, shows that similar â€œblame cultureâ€? attitudes exist over clothing, drinking, perceived promiscuity, personal safety and whether a woman has clearly said â€œnoâ€? to the man.
- 26% believe a woman is partially or totally responsible for being raped if she wears sexy or revealing clothing.
- 22% believe a woman is partially or totally responsible for being raped if she has had many sexual partners.
- 8% believe a woman is totally responsible for being raped if she has had many sexual partners.
- 30% believe a woman is totally or partially responsible for being raped if she gets drunk.
- 37% believe a woman is totally or partially responsible for being raped if she doesn't clearly say "no."
- 96% either underestimated or had no idea just how prevalent rape is (in the UK).
- Only 4% guessed as high as 1/4 of the actual numbers of rape each year.
- 6 out of 7 do not know that only 5.6% of reported rapes actually result in conviction. (Most guessed an average of a 26% conviction rate -- five times higher than the reality.)
Read the full report (.doc).
Until we dispell these myths about consent and victim responsibility, the rape conviction rate will not improve. And, aside from the media scrutiny of clear-up rates, the rape rate itself will not be affected; men who do not think what they do is rape, or even wrong, are not likely to question their own actions. A society that sees rape as the product of menâ€™s unrestrained and unrestrainable sexuality combined with womenâ€™s provocation, or as that of evil men preying on pure women, will never realise the link between sexism, the position of women socially, and rape.
And that's the point, because in all these hand-wringing discussions about rape what's never discussed is the tacit assumption that men rape, and it's the woman's responsibility to stay out of the way and not provoke the beast.
In other words, men rape. Period. So if it happens, it's often just because the woman crossed the line.
I wonder if that applies to other crimes. Guys, if you don't jam your wallet down the front of your jockey shorts, and you get pick-pocketed, are you responsible? If a robber shoots you for your watch, are you responsible? If your employer screws you over on your contracted retirement benefits, are you responsible?
Interesting, though, the assumptions about rape. --Especially the assumptions that rape is a crime about sex.
Rape is about control. Rape is about power. At the very least, rape is about selfishness, ownership of the other. The very definition of rape is that the victim does not have a choice. So if the woman has no choice in the matter, then why is she assumed to be responsible for it?