Anorak | Women To Blame In Half Of All Rapes And Other Myths

Women To Blame In Half Of All Rapes And Other Myths

by | 15th, February 2010

barTHE Metro newspaper leads with the shocking news that “One in 4 women is rape victim”.

The report is based on a survey of 1061 Londoners aged 18-50, paid for by Haven, a jointly funded partnership between the Metropolitan Police, the Metropolitan Police Authority and the NHS.

In 2001, the story was also that one in 4 women had been raped.

In 2000, we learnt:

More than a quarter of a million women suffer rape or attempted rape each year, according to new Home Office figures – ten times the official total of 25,300.

Also in 2000:

Findings from the 2001 British Crime Survey (BCS) interpersonal violence module result in a prevalence rate of 0.3 per cent for rape of women over 16 in the year prior to interviews conducted in 2001, and this equates to an estimated annual incidence rate of 47,000 adult female victims of rape. Since the age of 16, 7 per cent of women had suffered a serious sexual assault at least once in their lifetime (5% had been raped). The same study confirms that women are most likely to be raped by men they know, and a considerable pro p o rtion re p o rted re p e a t incidents by the same perpetrator.

Back to the Metro headline, which is at odds with the latest data:

‘Wake up to Rape’, a report by London’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC), the Havens, found that one in five women wouldn’t report a rape to the police. Of these, more than half (53%) say it was because of shame or embarrassment.

If 20 per cent would not report a rape to police, then the police statistics are a fifth down on the actual figure.

But what of those other statistics?

Rape claims are being left off official crime records, the BBC has learned. Figures obtained following a Freedom of Information request showed some UK police forces were failing to record more than 40% of cases.

And this:

* The government estimates that as many as 95% of rapes are never reported to the police at all.

Back to the press release:

One in two women in the capital (54%) say rape victims must also be held accountable for their role in the crime, the research says.

Nearly a fifth of women (19%) believe the victim is partly responsible if they go back to their assailant’s house. One in eight (13%) think a victim who has been dancing in a provocative way at a nightclub or bar are also to blame for any consequences.

Meanwhile, almost one in ten (8%) say that simply accepting a drink deserves some blame, while two in five think women should take some responsibility if they had performed another sexual act on the person.

Which is… Well, meaningless. Rape is rape. Opinion does not come into it. Or at least it shouldn’t. But if you want more facts:

Experts feel this supports anecdotal evidence that a “blame culture” among women may have a serious impact on the confidence of rape victims to come forward.

Yeah, “experts feel”. As for one key fact to this front-page news:

The Havens ‘Wake Up To Rape’ report was commissioned to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the service. Having helped over 20,000 people over the past 10 years, the service is open to anyone who has been raped in the last 12 months, regardless of whether they have reported it to the police.

A valuable service, no doubt, for the women treated and cared for. But why spread the fear? Why make women feel even more self-conscious?And why give men who might rape the good news that half of all women think them less than guilty?

Posted: 15th, February 2010 | In: Reviews Comments (5) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink