Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Responsibility and Rape

Rape is a terrible crime and I abhor it , lets take that as read.This is a Poll on attitudes to violence against women . This is the most thought provoking part which concerns when a woman may be held responsible for her own rape ( at the end ) .These are examples of the % of the sample who said a woman was partially responsible .
If she is drunk 25 % .If she does not clearly say NO to the man 39 % .If she is flirting heavily with the man beforehand 33 %. If she works as a prostitute 30 %
The sample is weighted to the population, it says I assume then that women are fairly represented in all views expressed and it lacks a base line for risk / “responsibility “ which distorts the results.

If I leave a pile of nice crisp twenty pound notes on the seat of my unlocked car many people would say I was partially responsible for the inevitable theft. None of those people would by implication approve of theft or excuse the thief .If a woman is drunk , advertises herself as sexually available and leaves the question of consent vague until ..some very late stage is that not like leaving valuables in the Street ?No-one condones the thief but its unrealistic for people to take so little responsibility for their own safety and not be said to be “Partially responsible “ , the answer refers to 'risk' not morality .
If you remove this neutral 'risk' based view of ‘responsibility ‘ you would be left with figures showing less apparent sexism. Nonetheless I cannot say such figures do not concern me but what do we do ?
Suppose a young man becomes involved in gangs , carries a gun and involves himself in violent confrontation on a regular basis immerse himself in a culture of violence . Should he be murdered would we not say he was partially responsible ? This hardly represents an approval of murder which I hope you will agree is a similarly serious crime to rape .
Now there are young women who adopt a life style in which sex is devalued just the way 'life' is in gang culture . A may have consented to sex on numerous occasions with numerous partners ,perhaps her assailant . These transactions may be related to drugs , her relationships often involves degrees of violence and . In this context it might be possible for those around her to view rape as no worse than theft if the women herself treats her body as no more than tradeable currency . I know such a person and there are many in the UK living precisely this sort of life usually in welfare slums created by New Labour. What do you tell this woman . Its never your fault , ,or get out of there and change your high risk life . I say the latter , the fact that there is no excuse for rape is no help to her .
I think we need a dual message , yes maintain the absolute condemnation of rape but admit the responsibility of the woman for risk . Not the act , but the risk.

4 comments:

dmc said...

Yes,I fuly agree,very well argued,but they want their cake and eat it too.

Auntie Flo' said...

"If a woman is drunk , advertises herself as sexually available and leaves the question of consent vague until ..some very late stage is that not like leaving valuables in the Street?"


If a man is drunk (let's say because his wife just died of something bl**dy awful) and he advertises himself as middle class (by the clothes he wears and the way he speaks) and he makes himself available by leaving the question of consent to a late stage when someone starts moving in on him (say, because he's scared that saying no might provoke a violent reaction)...


Does he asked to be mugged or even sort of collude with the woman who mugs him? Does he sort of ask for it?

No. I'[m not even going to ask the next question.

Newmania said...

Flo if you wander around drunk ina dangerous area you do increase the risk of being mugged and you would be wise not to . It has happened to me .

I was trying to draw a distinction between , reposnisble for the risks you create as opposed to "Collusion".

I think the reason the figues in this survey are so high is that people just roll it up into one

Croydonian said...

And what if a man is drunk / wearing athletic garb / etc and finds himself in the vicinity of sexual-violence minded homsosexuals?

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