RAPE: she was drunk so he’s not REALLY a rapist, right?

How many headlines have you seen altered by Twitter users when newspapers and websites describe victims of rape as ‘drunk’? Is this relevant? Is it victim-blaming? Is it about time we just stop?

A man was recently sentenced to eight years in prison after raping a teenager in a dark alley.

headlines
Headlines collected 17/07/2018

But, what did the papers read? ‘Married City worker ‘raped drunk clubber after dragging her to filthy alleyway’’ and ‘Married City worker who carried a drunken clubber, 18, down an alley and raped her before claiming she ‘begged him for sex’ is jailed for eight years after court is shown CCTV of victim unable to walk’. 

The eighteen year-old victim, who’s identity is protected by law, was raped by Sanjay Naker, a 28-year old married consultant. Or, if you want to shorten that, a rapist.

Naker was found guilty of three counts of oral rape, one count of attempted rape and one count of sexual assault.

Horrifying images were released of the 30-minute assault as Naker carried his nearly unconscious victim over his shoulders towards a deserted alleyway.

rapist
CCTV image courtesy of Daily Mail.

Though the reporting of the case sprawled across all the big papers emphasised the fact that the victim was “drunk”. This phrase is often used as a back-handed blaming tool to undermine assaults, blame victims and soften the crimes of rapists. The old tale of victims getting themselves so drunk that they cannot protect themselves. Right? Wrong.

Why are we so quick to teach women to wear longer skirts and looser tops, walk with one earphone out, stay in groups and not drink too much? Should the emphasis not be on not to rape rather than not to be raped.

Rapists attack for one reason: they are rapists.

In the UK, it is estimated that 85,000 women are raped every single year, but our conviction rates stay below 10%. It is predicted that only 15% of rapes even get reported to the police.

Public opinion towards intoxicated victims of rape may, and let’s be honest almost definitely do, contribute to low reporting rates. In 2015 the Office of National Statistics (ONS) published results from a survey which proved that atleast a quater of the public believe that drunk victims of rape are at least ‘partially responsible’ for what has happened to them.

This stigma gives a clear message to victims: if you’re raped and drunk then you will be blamed by 1 out of 4 of the people you tell. The same survey also showed that more than a third of those asked believed that victims of sex attacks should accept partial responsibility if they had been “heavily flirting” beforehand. When did consent get forgotten about?

These beliefs held by an alarmingly large portion of the public put sexist restrictions on women’s freedoms that are never applied to men. Men get drunk, flirt and walk home alone without being excessively blamed and shamed if they become a victim of a crime. They’ll also be believed. Just wanted to add that in too.

References included via hyperlinks throughout the article.

 

4 Comments

  1. Rhi Harris

    This is so so important! Thank you for writing such a relevant post, I can’t believe people still victim blame in todays world. Keep up the good work!! Much love ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Elephants Voice

      Thank you so much for reading and then commenting Rhi, honestly means so much! Comments drive more people to read!
      I think it’s SO important to discuss consent and the apparent ‘grey areas’ in some people’s eyes – there are NO grey areas, just consent and rape!

      ❣️

      Like

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