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Why Women Blame Women For Rape

Why So Many Women Hold Rape Victims Accountable

Early this week a UK survey found that more than 50 percent of women believe rape victims should accept at least partial responsibility for being raped. Even more shocking is that 72 percent of women said this was true if a woman got into bed with a man while "only" 57 percent of men agreed. Every sex-ed class I ever sat through drilled "no means no" into our heads like it was a state-mandated mantra, so why the women-on-women blame?

It's reassuring, safe, and easy, says Dr. Roxanne Agnew-Davies, a clinical psychologist and sexual-violence expert. The rationale is if women tell themselves other women are to blame for rape, then it cannot happen to them. "It is easier and safer to blame the actions of the victims," she says, "than to have to admit that there are more than a handful of men who chose to commit this crime."

Another problem is women actually blame themselves, which comes as no surprise to Elizabeth Harrison, the manager of a rape-crisis center in London. "I am sure if I asked men, 'Have you ever raped someone?', most would say certainly not," she says. Society actually thinks that being too drunk to consent is not rape, and unfortunately many women buy into this myth.


Source: Flickr User Stuck in Customs

ECULeah ECULeah 7 years
Its horrible to me that in 2010 in America, women still have to modify their actions and dress in order to not be sexually assaulted. I don't know if there is a day I don't have to think about this and at almost 25, I'm exhausted. We need to focus more on teaching the men in America about consent and what is right or wrong, instead of just putting all this weight on the women's shoulders.
Pistil Pistil 7 years
To me it is completely unethical to take advantage of someone who is weaker than you, vulnerable, or inebriated. It's just that when you say the victim was at fault, it's like your excusing the behaviour of the perpetrator.
cotedazur cotedazur 7 years
Wow... for all of you who have shared, I'm so sorry for what happened to you. I think anyone would agree that what happened was not at all your fault. However, I do think that there are some situations (many situations, even) where women DO contribute. I had a friend from high school who got really sexually adventurous in college. One night we were out at a bar and she was heavily flirting with a guy - sexy dancing, kissing his neck, running her tongue up and down the straw of her drink, etc. The two of them go off to a corner together and start making out. About a half hour later, she stumbles over to me in tears and asks me to take her home. I asked her what was wrong and couldn't get a straight answer out of her, so I just assumed she had had too much to drink and took her back to our apartment building. The next morning she comes over and says, "last night, that guy I was with raped me." I was completely shocked, asked her if she was OK, if she wanted to go to the hospital, what had happened, etc. She explained: they were making out, and she had proposed to give him oral sex in the bathroom. They went in the bathroom together, she unzipped his pants, but when she saw that he was uncircumcised, she changed her mind. He, though, didn't want to stop, held the back of her head, and forced her to give him oral sex. She finished her story with: "... at least, I think that's what happened. I was pretty drunk." She wanted to report the guy to the police. I told her I would support her in her decision, but that she really had to think about the consequences that it would have on this guy's life - especially since she wasn't even sure what had happened. She didn't suspect that she had been drugged at all, nor did she have any evidence of being forced (bruises, red marks, etc.). I KNOW that this is not what happens every time. I know that there are a lot of women who are nothing but victims, and I also know that wearing a miniskirt or dancing sexily is not an invitation for a man to have sex with you. But I think the word "rape" gets thrown around a lot at colleges and universities in situations where it is not always applicable. If a girl gets into a guy's bed, drunk and naked, I think that is pretty much the definition of "asking for it." (As one girl in my sorority did, then claimed that she was "too scared to say no" to the guy. If you got in someone's bed, of your own volition, took off all your clothes, and then didn't say no to his advances... how is he supposed to know that you don't want to?)
danakscully64 danakscully64 7 years
*hugs* for Yoga. A lot of cases I've read about have been the "popular guy who could get any girl, why would they rape someone" scenario. Some people really (I stress really) don't get that rape has nothing to do with sex. I can't believe more than 50 percent say the women is to blame partially, that's sick. I think a lot of people, when they think of rape scenarios, they think of a girl in a club rubbing up on every guy and leading them on. Absolutely wrong and ridiculous.
Yogaforlife Yogaforlife 7 years
He blamed it on not knowing what he wanted. He was torn about breaking up with his girlfriend who had a bad coke problem and had cheated on him. But being with her for so long, he didn't want to throw all those years away. So instead, he took an attraction he had for me and felt confused and guilty for being attracted to me and said he doesn't know what came over him. He never gave an actual reason for it, just excuses about how confused he was and how much was going on in his life. As far as I am concerned it was complete and utter bullshit. It fucked with me - made me distrust all my guy friends for quite awhile that they were all just waiting for their chance to try something.
Yogaforlife Yogaforlife 7 years
SKG - at first when people noticed we were no longer friends and I wouldn't even stay at a bar if he walked in, he told people that we got drunk one night, and we slept together and that I had just laid there and was awful in bed. Luckily I was moving up to PSU and just left that mess behind me. Later, after my undergrad when I came back home, he tried contacting me several times, saying he wanted to explain what happened. He sent me emails saying he was overcome with emotions and how sorry he was. I never responded or gave him the satisfaction of even knowing if I had read them or not. He then tried buying me drinks if he saw me out at the bar, but I always told the waittress I didn't want them and to give them to somebody else. He eventually stopped trying to contact me.
Yogaforlife Yogaforlife 7 years
Back when I was 22, I was young and insecure. And even though I was really athletic then, my 95 lbs was not going to throw off a 180 lb man. It's funny, I remember thinking the self defense class we had in highschool really failed me. That whole hip thrust thing to try and throw them off did not work! The closest I got to throwing him off was when I went into a panic because I thought he was trying to suffocate me - adrenaline really does kick in and he had trouble holding me down then.
Yogaforlife Yogaforlife 7 years
SKG - the guy was way more popular than me and everyone in town knew him. When I told my bestfriend, she just flat out didn't believe me. She was friends with both the guy and I and I think she just couldn't believe he would do that. It was one of those things where the guy and I had been friends for years, there was always a little sexual tension between he and I but he was in a long-term relationship with another girl, so we were strictly just friends. I was not a slut, he knew I had only ever been wtih one guy before he did this to me. My friend accused me of leading him on and because he was attracted to me, it went too far. Honestly, I just didn't think people would believe me. Almost all my friends had grown up being friends with this kid. It's so frustrating - because I hate him more than I have ever hated anyone. Seeing him out makes me so angry because nobody has a fucking clue what he is capable of. My husband knows about it and not long after we started dating, he went up to this guy and told him he knew what had happened and if he ever caught him so much as looking at me, there would be hell to pay. (I love my husband so much - I think he was the first person I ever told that believed me.)
Yogaforlife Yogaforlife 7 years
She is no longer my friend.
looseseal looseseal 7 years
It's understandable to want to feel like "it can't help to me, things like this only happen to people who do x, y, and z." But this kind of thinking just lulls some women into a false sense of security. That can be dangerous. Damn, Yoga, I don't even know you and I want to hold that asswipe down and cut his pecker off with a rusty saw after reading what happened to you. That best friend is full of fail.
vanilla19 vanilla19 7 years
Yoga I'm so sorry! :( I hope that person who didn't believe you isn't your friend anymore. I think some women have the impression that only 'sluts' are raped, which is why we can be so quick to blame.
Yogaforlife Yogaforlife 7 years
hypno - I am so sorry to hear that happened to you! :hugs:
Yogaforlife Yogaforlife 7 years
I was raped and in no way do I feel at fault. I was hiking with my closest guy friend - a guy I had been hiking with so many times over the years that it never even occurred to me that he may try something. When he pinned me down, I just kept screaming no and trying to push him off. He had this thing with holding my head down while he jammed his tongue down my throat (I have a fear of suffocating and choking so this was even worse to me.) I remember when I told my best friend, the only person I thought who would believe that this upstanding popular guy had raped me. She didn't believe me and accused me of leading him to the point of no return. At the time I thought - if my own bestfriend doesn't believe me, why would any one else. I did go and get examined and have an STD check two days later and the OBGYN doing the testing flat out asked me what happened because of the damage done down there but I stupidly denied it and said I had just been having rough sex - got carried away with the boyfriend. I wish more than anything that I had let her grab whatever rape test kit she said she had and pressed charges against that mofo because I see him out at the bars all the time and he would stare at me and it gave me the freaking creeps. I hate that bastard more than anything and it pains me to see him out (live in a small town). The worst part is when people who know you tell you it's your fault because they just can't bring themselves to believe that someone they know would do this.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 7 years
I agree lilkimbo, that is the case in most cases. There really is no defense except a lucky right hook and a kick in the groin when it comes to the most sinister and most likely premeditated rapists.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 7 years
Hypno, I completely understand what you're saying, but sometimes, no matter how "wise" you are, there's nothing you can possibly do to prevent yourself from being raped. Perfect example-I had a college friend who was raped by a stranger while walking to her car (in her small, suburban town) in high school. So, she never walked anywhere alone at night. Our senior year of college, she was raped by a friend (of four years) who was walking her home. There's only so much that making "smart choices" can do for you.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 7 years
I completely agree that the reason and method of the beast is to control through sexual means. There are also different types of rapists; premeditated and spontanious both equally wrong of course. I'm not tyring to minimize victimization but rather acknowledge the behavior adjustment by some victims after the fact. IMO we are much wiser for our experience after the fact through for thought, common sense and a firmer grasp on responsible behavior.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 7 years
I agree with mamasita. I also do advocacy work (in D.C.) in a hospital and do hotline counseling. I have never been with a survivor (in the hospital) who was dressed particularly provocatively. Nor have a I ever been with a survivor who made choices that the average woman doesn't make EVERY SINGLE DAY. And, other than it being damaging in a larger cultural sense, the fact that rape is often treated as if it's the victim's fault is also so damaging to individual survivors, as well. The majority of hotline callers with whom I speak were raped several years ago and still blame themselves. It's so sad.
mamasitamalita mamasitamalita 7 years
ugggg, hypnoticmix, i am so sorry for what a horrific thing you went through, but like I said on the original post -- rape is an act of violence and it is about control. sexualizing a violent act solely because it utilizes sex organs in the perpetration is what the issue here is. knowing that it isn't a woman's "fault" DOES make it scarier as a woman. I do advocacy work in a NYC emergency room and am with sexual assault survivors during their visit for post-assault treatment. it is NEVER about what they are wearing, how much they did or didn't drink, or whether they were walking through a dark area of town. period.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 7 years
Very touchy subject and as a rape victim my self when I was nineteen I'll ad my two cents. The fact of the matter is yes, no means no, however there are many rape victims (not all) who's behavior served to entice one of their worst nightmares. It is those failures in responsibility, for thought and common sense that we all can learn from.
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