Blaming the victim? New Rape Study

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Bacchus
Blaming the victim? New Rape Study
Bacchus

As usual it is the comments that are the most disturbing tho there are a good number of well written rebuttals

Michelle

It sounds like a really interesting study.  I'm glad they did it - although of course, it's sobering to realize how many women, including ones who have been raped or whose family members have been raped, have internalized society's message that the victim is to blame.

Snert Snert's picture

I'm sure there's more to it than just this, but I think we've all been conditioned to internalize some sort of blame when we're the victim of a crime.  The biggest difference being that in the case of sexual assault, a considerable number of people have rightly said "fuck that, it's NEVER okay".

remind remind's picture

Not surprising, as women we are conditioned to believe everything is our fault, and some men love to kee p us believing that.

 

Plus it is part of the whole PTSD scenario.

 

Here is the link to the actual article not the comments

 

Quote:
Amnesty International's UK director Kate Allen said the new findings were "alarming but sadly not surprising".

"It is depressing that, nearly half a decade later, people are still quick to blame the victim of rape rather than placing the responsibility where it actually belongs - squarely on the shoulders of the perpetrator," she said.

Maysie Maysie's picture

This is fucking depressing, but like remind and the director of AI said, not hugely surprising.

Certainly in my work with women who've experienced violence, the reflections around blame and responsibility hold true.

And Snert, it's interesting, because in no other crime does everyone (victim, police, family, etc) look to blame the victim as readily as they do for violence (sexual or otherwise) against women.

Imagine getting one's car jacked, or being mugged, and the first, and majority of questions are about what you could have done to prevent it, and weren't you asking for it by carrying that expensive purse, driving that fancy car, etc. And that this is a regular part of the discourse when such a crime happens. 

But of course, property crimes have always been taken more seriously than violent crimes against women. Fuck. Don't get me started.

NDPP

Sexual Violence in the US Military:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8511010.stm

"In 2003, in a survey of female veterans conducted by the University of Iowa, funded by the US Department of Defense, 30% of the female veterans interviewed reported an attempted or completed rape."

G. Muffin

As a phrase, "blaming the victim" has lost all meaning.

We need something new.

How about "solving the problem"? 

G. Muffin

I don't think women should be in the military.

I don't think anybody should be in the military.

I think women make fine police officers.

And doctors.

And psych nurses.

And lawyers.

But not soldiers.

G. Muffin

Thank you for the post.

dgr_insurrection

Frankly, this isn't surprising given that we live in an abusive culture. Objectification runs deep in our way of thinking and (non) being in the world, and this is one example of that. Abusers always blame the victim. It's the same old dominator mindset. Silence the victim, blame her for the atrocities. And when the abusers' voices are the only ones being heard (discursive hegemony), it isn't really a surprise when other people in the culture think in the same way.

The rapist might say "You made me do it. If you hadn't been wearing that revealing top, I wouldn't have wanted to rape you." Abusers always have their actions fully rationalized in their own heads. They hardly ever do it because they hated the victim (consciously, that is). Just like slaveholders in the 19th century didn't enslave blacks because they hated them. They enslaved them because the bible said it was okay, or because they were genetically inferior, or because they needed to be "civilized", etc., etc. Never because they hated blacks. But of course we know that to be false. They hated them, they just couldn't own up to it. And we can talk about this in similar fashion with regard to colonialism/imperialism. Columbus and his ilk didn't massacre Indians because they hated them. They did so because the land and it's people needed to be "civilized". And in our relationship to the natural world we do a similar thing. Calling the murder of land for private profit "resource extraction" or "economic production" instead of what it is - murder, species extirpation, the conversion of living beings into dead consumer products. All of these examples have one thing in common, which is that they all are based on a hatred that the abuser cannot or will not consciously acknowledge, perhaps because it fits in with the unquestioned assumptions of the dominant culture.

(I'm totally stealing this from Derrick Jensen's book The Culture of Make Believe which is an exploration of hatred in various forms. Repeating it here because I think its accurate and relevant to the topic)

remind remind's picture

People who become victims, I believe are so used to victims being blammed, they do it to themselves too.

 

Women, especially are conditioned to believe this so we are accepting of the BS blame anyone wants to ascribe to us, when indeed common sense indicates otherwise.

 

 

G. Muffin

That's exactly what happens, Remind. Our "helplessness" is learned and insidious.

remind remind's picture

I believe not so much "learned" as indoctrinated, just as Pavlov indoctrinated his animal subjects to bells, buzzers and beeps.

Red Tory Tea Girl

remind wrote:

People who become victims, I believe are so used to victims being blammed, they do it to themselves too.

 

Women, especially are conditioned to believe this so we are accepting of the BS blame anyone wants to ascribe to us, when indeed common sense indicates otherwise.

 

 

First of all let me say this: Nobody should ever feel that the victim of any violence was somehow asking for it. Never. That anyone would perpetuate attitudes of victim blaming is utterly deplorable.

Though, I do have to differ with your assertion that women are especially conditioned to believe that we are to blame when attacked. I would mention this study that indicates that women are more likely when raped to report being raped than men are when raped; both are far less likely to report when their gender role appears to be violated. Further, evidence is quite conclusive that men are also far less likely to report being battered. That said, it's not as though there's no social sanction for a woman reminding people she's been through a violent act: This report indicates a much more negative reaction to women between one and six months after being victims of violent crime. Still, there must be some underlying social support if we, as women, are more likely to report violence against ourselves. Any thoughts on why?

Stargazer

One study does not support the assertion that women are more likely to report nor does it justify the leap that there must be some underlying social support women have over men.

Maysie Maysie's picture

Red Tory Girl. Since you're new here I will tell you that I've spent over 15 years working in the anti-violence against women (VAW) sector, and continue to as a consultant.

The reporting rates are somewhere in the range of 10% or less of all women who have been raped. That's one in ten women who've been raped will file a report. That's abysmal.

Don't get me started.

Yes, the rates for men reporting rape (by men or women) or physical abuse (by a female or a male partner) are far lower. The comparison matters, as you said, with understanding what violation of gender roles means for men, however, to make such comparisons to violence against women is not hugely helpful, given that VAW is not "socially supported" in any way.

VAW and violence against men in the situations you describe, Red Tory, do have a few things in common. But there's a reason that VAW is separated out from other sorts of violence in our society. Lumping them together, in terms of providing services, gaining allies and educating to change attitudes needs to be done strategically, so that different issues are highlighted, and that issues affecting women are not, as they often can be, shunted aside.

Tommy_Paine

And Snert, it's interesting, because in no other crime does everyone (victim, police, family, etc) look to blame the victim as readily as they do for violence (sexual or otherwise) against women.

 

I think you are right, Maysie, but I also think there's something to what Snert says.  When anything bad happens, (not neccessarily even crime)  I think there's a natural reflex for us to run through it to see if there was anything we could have done to prevent it, and it's a tiny step from that to blaming one's self.

Which is not to say this is THE big problem behind all this.  It's a factor.    I think another factor (again, not THE big factor) is that while there have been education programs to change this attitude, it's one thing to know something intellectually, but another to actually believe it when the time comes.    I ran into this myself recently where something I held to be true in my mind for many years did not come to the fore when put into practice when the issue came home personally.   That wasn't related to crime or anything, but it came as a shock.    And, I don't doubt that there are women, educated feminists even, that might know the victim isn't to blame, but when it happens to them, they fail to believe that.

The big problem, which the commentary bolsters in my mind, is clearly with the idea that at a certain point, men cannot, nor should be required to control themselves.   

That's the myth that has to be busted, and only men can do that.  

 

 

 

 

 

jas

Red Tory Tea Girl wrote:
I would mention this study that indicates that women are more likely when raped to report being raped than men are when raped; both are far less likely to report when their gender role appears to be violated. Further, evidence is quite conclusive that men are also far less likely to report being battered. 

Um, this is a comparative study. Women victims of rape are more likely to report the rape than men victims are.

[editing, because I really don't want to dis the study, but rather RTTG's inaccurate use of it to suggest that women have not been socially conditioned to internalize blame after sexual assault.]

Quote:
Still, there must be some underlying social support if we, as women, are more likely to report violence against ourselves. Any thoughts on why?

Yes, feminist activists have lobbied for that support for over forty years. I think feminism has also provided analyses of gender roles and expression that can also answer your question on why males would be less likely to report. Where have you been?

Also RTTG, does the study go into any detail about what kind of rape violates women's gender roles?

Summer

 

I have given much thought to the blame the victim reaction so prevalent in media and society.  What riles me is that many people who do it, don't actually realize they are blaming the victim.  They probably won't say that she was asking for it or how can you blame the guy in a situation like that.  They do it in a way similar to what Snert talks about I think: she could have prevented it, if only she hadn't _______   (fill in the blank: been out so late, been walking through a dangerous part of town, been out alone, worn that revealing outfit, drank so much, smiled at him, shared a cab with him, invited him up for a drink, gone to see his apartment, kissed him).  And I agree with Snert, it is human nature when something bad happens, to replay it in your mind and play the if only game to think of how you might have changed it.

 

BUT, that does not change the fact that the rapist is the only person responsible for the rape. 

 

I have talked about this with Mr. Summer at some length, because he used to engage in victim blaming of the type I describe above (she could have prevented it).  We would fight because he would say I wasn't being fair, he wasn't saying the guy should not get charged, he was just saying that the attack wouldn't have happened if only...

 

He gets it now.  He gets that by focusing on what the woman woulda/shoulda/coulda done differently, we are taking the focus of the rapist.  Why bother changing all these variables about clothing, demeanor, prior sexual history, alcohol, time of night, when all we need to change is one thing: it wouldn't have happened if he hadn't done it.  He could have asked first/listened when she said no/noticed that she was passed out from too much alcohol and left her alone. 

 

A guy can go home with a girl that he just met at a bar and maybe he'll be worried about the following:  is my apartment presentable/are my sheets clean/will she want to have sex with me/will it be awkward in the morning/what will I think with my beer goggles off/will my buddies razz me?

 

A girl should be able to go home with a guy and have only the same worries, but we know that's not the case. 

 When we hear about a sexual attack on the news, parents are probably at home telling their daughters to be careful, not to stay up late, not to drink too much, not to be alone on the street but are not telling their sons anything.   

jas

Summer wrote:

A girl should be able to go home with a guy and have only the same worries, but we know that's not the case.

Well said.

 

Red Tory Tea Girl

jas wrote:

Summer wrote:

A girl should be able to go home with a guy and have only the same worries, but we know that's not the case.

Well said.

 

Hear hear! (Or, for that matter, not intend to go home with a guy.)

remind remind's picture

Thank you summer and maysie

Maysie Maysie's picture

God DAMN I love you babblers, I really do.

This issue so pisses me off, as most of you know. And it just really helps me, doing the work that I do, with the clients I have, to read your words. Thanks. 

Doug
Bacchus

I would have liked to have seen the womans face if Cantor had replied " I just do what Satan tells me too, " as she shrugged and walked away.

lonewolfbunn lonewolfbunn's picture

Has anyone else heard of the case in Saskatchewan where the judge literally blamed the victim by letting three men walk free after sexually assaulting an 11 year old girl?

The judge claimed because she was molested as a child that she likely seduced the men.

I am accurately paraphrasing his words BTW.

Michelle

Yeah, I remember that! At the time we had a babble thread about it. Sickening.

lonewolfbunn lonewolfbunn's picture

Michelle wrote:
Yeah, I remember that! At the time we had a babble thread about it. Sickening.

Could you PM me the link or better yet post it if it is still in an archive.  For some reason things like that disappear.  Did it disappear here?  I am working on something somewhere else and there are skeptics that need evidence.

It would be greatly appreciated by more than myself.

remind remind's picture

Ya I remember that too Michelle and it was awhile back, and probably did not make the transfer here.

 

However lonewolf, here are some links below to what i believe is the story and another to a discussion here where something just like that occured in AU, too.

 

http://www.injusticebusters.com/05/Tisdale_Rape.shtml

 

http://enmasse.ca/forums/viewtopic.php?t=7516&sid=656c7c7a97ad80793ba017...

 

http://rabble.ca/babble/feminism/australian-prosecutor-calls-gang-rapist...

 

remind remind's picture

bumping for lonewolf

lonewolfbunn lonewolfbunn's picture

Thanks I'm going through them now.

lonewolfbunn lonewolfbunn's picture

Thanks again remind.  What's below has given me a lead to what I am looking for.

"Beyond Borders has also brought forward a complaint against Judge Kovatch before the Canadian Judicial Council which could lose him his job.

"During his charge to the jury, Justice Kovatch purposely and continually referred to Kindrat and Brown as 'the boys' and the victim as 'Ms', a feminist term usually describing women who are aware of their rights and ready to assert them."

lonewolfbunn lonewolfbunn's picture

http://www.firstnationsdrum.com/Spring%202004/CrimeSaskTrial.htm

"Judge Kovatch said that he couldn't ignore allegations by the defense that the girl was raised in an abusive home environment. Earlier testimony suggested the girl was frequently abused by her father. During the trial, the girl's underwear was submitted as evidence. Semen belonging to the girl's father was found on it. That evidence, said Kovatch, supported the defense theory that the girl may have been the sexual aggressor. "

 

...The Saskatchewan Action Committee for the Status of Women has been following the case.

"This is a travesty of justice," said Kripa Sekhar, executive director. "This is a verdict against all children in Canada. We should all be very concerned."

remind remind's picture

Ya, pretty damn sickening isn't it.....

lonewolfbunn lonewolfbunn's picture

Especially knowing he isn't the only one in a position of power that thinks like he does.

I didn't find anything about whether he was removed from the bench.  I wouldn't be surpised if he wasn't or was merely moved to another position of power, out of the public eye.

If anyone knows please post and let us know if a step has been taken toward protection of our children.

rework

Please forgive my profanity.

I am losing all respect for the [email protected]#$%^& law in this  country.

Read about too many cases like this.

What does it take to get maximum sentence(or anything close) ?

Does a body have to rape a judges daughter to get serious time ? I think so.

Let it be known, if you get caught you may have to stay home and play video games for a while.

This smacks of the Old Boys Club, looking out for the boys.

And to top it off, it takes a group like Beyond Borders to file a complaint.

Canadian Judicial Council (or whomever he answers to) should boot him for making them look bad.

According to these he is still on the bench.

http://www.sasklawcourts.ca/default.asp?pg=news_archive   (see last line)

Proof that incompetent judges keep their jobs. (Honorable my ass)

http://www.mjtimes.sk.ca/News/Local/2010-03-02/article-853009/MacDougall-must-wait-one-more-week-for-sentencing/1

lonewolfbunn lonewolfbunn's picture

rework wrote:
Does a body have to rape a judges daughter to get serious time ? I think so.

Let it be known, if you get caught you may have to stay home and play video games for a while.

This smacks of the Old Boys Club, looking out for the boys.

 

That sounds dead on.

And the second link from a 2010 article proves he is still on the bench.  That's phucked!

milo204

"Why bother changing all these variables about clothing, demeanor, prior sexual history, alcohol, time of night, when all we need to change is one thing: it wouldn't have happened if he hadn't done it.  He could have asked first/listened when she said no/noticed that she was passed out from too much alcohol and left her alone. "

i agree.  i think blaming the victim, as well as rape are both things that are encouraged by society as well.  we rape women, we rape the environment, we rape workers, we rape other countries resources etc.  we also tend to elevate, among males, highly competitive "take no prisoners", aggressive alpha males as "ideal".  and it's a mainstream view that if you have power you should use it to your advantage for personal gain at the expense of others, even violently.  and we're constantly blaming the victims of our aggression for the often degrading circumstances they find themselves in afterwards.    

sort of like how people can't understand why prostitution exists in a society that encourages every single one of us to prostitute ourselves to the highest bidder under our economic system.

that being said, i'm still going to take measures to protect myself in public such as not willingly hanging out with sketchy people or getting absolutely black out drunk in a public place by myself (or even with others for that matter).  those things are just common sense.

 

 

rework

http://www.sasklawcourts.ca/default.asp?pg=pc_judicial_council

After reading this, it appears to me far easier to become a judge than it is to be removed.

"What Type of Conduct is Improper? A high standard of personal conduct is expected of judges both on and off the bench. They are expected to make decisions impartially on the basis of the law and facts before them. "

Improper Conduct !  Clear as day to me.  Believing that a drugged, assaulted 12 yr old is an aggressor !

I am searching for the status of the complaints.  Buried no doubt, hoping he retires or quits so they don't have to act !

lonewolfbunn lonewolfbunn's picture

rework wrote:

http://www.sasklawcourts.ca/default.asp?pg=pc_judicial_council

After reading this, it appears to me far easier to become a judge than it is to be removed.

"What Type of Conduct is Improper? A high standard of personal conduct is expected of judges both on and off the bench. They are expected to make decisions impartially on the basis of the law and facts before them. "

Improper Conduct !  Clear as day to me.  Believing that a drugged, assaulted 12 yr old is an aggressor !

I am searching for the status of the complaints.  Buried no doubt, hoping he retires or quits so they don't have to act !

 

REALLY...

 

 

BTW Thanks rework for answering my question about whether that asshole was still warming the bench.

JMo

There is a great article from the Bust blog - "It's Spring Break, Try Not to Get Yourself Raped", http://www.bust.com/blog/2010/03/20/its-spring-break-dont-get-yourself-raped.html. In it, the author quotes some helpful tips from Colleen Jameson that should be beaten into our heads. If the personal responsibility of the rapist was valued as much as the personal responsibility of the victim our society would view rape in a totally different way. Here are the tips:

 

Sexual Assault Prevention Tips Guaranteed to Work!

1. Don’t put drugs in people’s drinks in order to control their behavior.

2. When you see someone walking by themselves, leave them alone!

3. If you pull over to help someone with car problems, remember not to assault them!

4. NEVER open an unlocked door or window uninvited.

5. If you are in an elevator and someone else gets in, DON’T ASSAULT THEM!

6. Remember, people go to laundry to do their laundry, do not attempt to molest someone who is alone in a laundry room.

7. USE THE BUDDY SYSTEM! If you are not able to stop yourself from assaulting people, ask a friend to stay with you while you are in public.

8. Always be honest with people! Don’t pretend to be a caring friend in order to gain the trust of someone you want to assault. Consider telling them you plan to assault them. If you don’t communicate your intentions, the other person may take that as a sign that you do not plan to rape them.

9. Don’t forget: you can’t have sex with someone unless they are awake!

10. Carry a whistle! If you are worried you might assault someone “on accident” you can hand it to the person you are with, so they can blow it if you do.

And, ALWAYS REMEMBER: if you didn’t ask permission and then respect the answer the first time, you are committing a crime- no matter how “into it” others appear to be.

 

oldgoat

Thanks JMo.  Someone posted that list here many months ago, but it can't be repeated too often.

writer writer's picture

This looks really interesting: http://whereisyourline.org/

writer writer's picture

Here' the latest in the UK campaign:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lyJIWA2QOPI&feature=player_embedded

Fantastic.

writer writer's picture
remind remind's picture

from writer's link

 

Quote:
Today in Canada, the struggle must focus on the Harper government, surely the most anti-women government in modern times. Stephen Harper refuses to support terrific programs at home or abroad that promote women's equality. Charity from above for the less-fortunate, sure; solidarity with equals, not a chance.

MATCH is defunded, Kairos is defunded, the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women is defunded, Status of Women funding is substantially cut, Sisters in Spirit aren't told if they're to be funded, the court challenges program is terminated, employment equity is to end, maternal health programs will rob women of their right to decide on their own best interests.

 

 

You know the sick feeling that I get as a women reading that article, which really is a must read for those who try to minimize the attacks against women by men, really is hard to handle,.

 

...after decades of fighting to get men to stop being abusive misogynists, to know that it is not so and in fact in some ways is worse, is sociopathic on their part IMV.

 

0 tolerance for men's short comings in this area, these days!

 

The sats in the article indicate much.

 

Thank you Mr Caplan

 

Maysie Maysie's picture

Thanks for the link, writer.

Quote:

We need a perspective here. Between 2002 and July 20, 2010, a total of 151 members of the Canadian Forces have been killed serving in Afghanistan. Each received respectful coverage in the media, as they should have. Yet more women are killed on average each year, often with no public attention at all, than the total of soldiers killed since we joined the Afghan war. Why has our government not declared war against the enemy at home who continues to murder so many women?

Violence against women doesn't always end in murder. In Canada in 2007, nearly 40,200 incidents of "spousal violence" (i.e., violence against legally married, common-law, separated and divorced partners) were reported to police. And yet the figures show that such reported incidents had actually decreased by 15 per cent between 1998 and 2007. Let's put that another away. Despite a 15 per cent decline in those years, more than 40,000 Canadian women still reported being subjected to violence by their partner in 2007.