Monday, November 21, 2005

Asking for it?

More data out on the appaling way that rape is still viewed and treated in this country. We are supposed to be enjoying the liberties of the 21st century and the first world. Still 25% of people believe women are at least partly responsible for their own rapes. I think if I meet someone with that kind of attitude it is partly their own fault when I hit them really hard in the face...


Andrew said...
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Cruella said...

The implication of your remark is that women may not be literally "asking for it" but may still be "partly to blame". I find that nauseating. Please don't bother posting on here if that is your repugnant attitude.

If on the other hand you are all keen to have a chat about grammar when the issue in hand is rape, then again I find that pretty disgusting. So please don't bother posting on here again. Thanks.

Winter said...

I found this story so disheartening that I couldn't even manage a decent post on the subject.

Andy said...

Isn't this story just a ridiculous misinterpretation of the question posed in the survey? To suggest that women dressing provocatively makes them in any way 'to blame' or 'deserve' to be raped is obviously a view with no place in civilised society - and I don't for a moment believe that it's a view held by 1/3 of the population. But to state that the way some women dress is 'partially responsible' for their being raped is a very regrettable fact.

TalkingCat said...

I'd be interested to know if you think women are in any way responsible.

Andy said...

Talkingcat, I believe we are at cross-purposes over the definition of the word 'responsible.' If I decide I hate people who catch the bus, and consequently gun someone down as they step off at the bus stop, then that person's choice of transportation was partially responsible for their death. This does not, of course, mean that their death was deserved. Similarly if I had been interviewed in this poll and asked if the way women dressed could be partially responsible for their being raped, I would have had to answer yes. I would have been most annoyed, however, if the poll then appeared in the media under the headline that I believed womed deserved to be raped for the way they dress (which of course I do not.)

TalkingCat said...

Well I hate to admit it, but you've changed my mind. I suppose in a minority of cases women should bear some responsibility for their actions and that does not logically imply that 'all rape victims are to blame'. Fair enough.

Cruella said...

I don't understand the distinction between being responsible and being to blame. My dictionary defines blame as "The state of being responsible for a fault or error; culpability". Women, regardless of their dress sense or state of drunkenness are not in any way to blame, or responsible for their rapes.

Now if you wanted to point out that drunk, scantily-clad women get raped more often than those sober and in sombre dress, I haven't seen any data on the subject, you may or may not be right. The correct response to such information would be to increase policing in areas where women are likely to drink or be less modestly dressed.

No woman is responsible for her own rape. Ever.

TalkingCat said...

Ah, the absolutism of the morally certain.
I would venture that it might be unsound to state that no one is ever responsible for something. In this case, perhaps (and I emphasise that I am only offering a speculation for the purposes of discussion) it may be said that sometimes some women in some cases bear some degree of responsibility.
It may be argued that no one is responsible for their own murder. Yet the courts rightly consider the subject of provocation.
I will refrain from arguing by analogy as I feel it is a sure-fire signal that the argument is being lost - neither will I attempt to hide in semantics. I simply point out that moral certitudes are generally unsafe in the real world. As a confessed secularist I would expect you to acknowledge that much, at the least.
Finally I would luike to apologise if I have offended anyone - I realise how emotive this subject is and that my easy speculation is a luxury unavailable to many whose lives are blighted by actual experience.

Cruella said...

Not quite. No-one rapes in self-defence. No-one rapes when they were only intending to commit the lesser crime of sexual assault... The difference between first degree murder and second degree murder (manslaughter) is NEVER to do with what the victim is wearing or has had to drink. But your honour, he was wearing a Man U short and I support Arsenal... not going to hold any water.

The notion of provocation in cases of murder is irrelevant when the perpetrator has the option of walking away. Provocation (though they don't in practice use that term very much) is to do with believing the victim intended to cause you harm. Quick she's got a knife, rape her... I can't see how that would ever happen.

And provocation in the murder/manslaughter situation is also not about the victim being in a situation where the crime of murder is statistically more common. Your honour, he was in Hackney, so I shot him... won't get you much leniency.

Rape and murder are different crimes, and the justice system has been set up to deal with them differently. Sadly in one cae the justice system is failing the public repeatedly.

TalkingCat said...

I accept your argument on the difference between the crimes. As I said, arguing by analogy is often a sign one's argument does not hold water. However the question I put to you in my reply, and to which you have failed to respond, is that we should be wary of absolutism. This entire thread has centred on a discussion of whether women bear partial responsibility or none. I put it to you once again that sometimes some women in some cases may bear some degree of responsibility and that moral certitudes to the contrary suggest an unbalanced view of the real world.

Cruella said...

I still don't accept that women bear any responsibility for rape.

There may be cases in which it is arguable whether or not actual rape has taken place, arguable whether consent was given and how that consent was understood by both parites. But rape is having sex with a woman without her consent. When that happens it's the man who does it who is solely and wholely to blame.

I agree that we should be wary of absolutism in general. The definition of rape, as I understand it, mean an absolute is justified in this case.

Murder means someone has died as a result of some else's actions. That's true in all cases. Rape is when someone who has not consented is forced to have sex. If that happens to you, it is not in any way your fault and we should seriously question the values of a society that even considers the possibility that it might be.

Furthermore, looking at my more recent post and cases coming up, I do find it quite scary that we continue to scrutinise the "morality" of women all the time, based on anything and everything from their dress and behaviour to drinking habits.

What about the men who, though they technically haven't committed rape, take advantage of women who are drunk or incapacitated. Who set out deliberately to get women drunk with the intent of co-ercing them into consent. Men who behave intimidatingly, who get drunk themselves and cause a nuisance. Who by their drunkenness and unpleasant intentions increase their own likelihood of committing rape, assault, muggings, theft and murder.

Looking at the recent case in Aberystwyth, I was disgusted to read about a guy who after offering to help a woman home, ended up co-ercing her into sex in a corridor. Even if she consented (and there's no evidence to suggest she did), isn't this guy horrible and reprehensible?

But instead as ever it is women who are the focus of the unpleasant scrutiny.

TalkingCat said...

But instead as ever it is women who are the focus of the unpleasant scrutiny.

Well I take your point but don't forget the man was in a Crown court charged with a serious offense. I think that counts as being the focus of unpleasant scrutiny as well... But that's beside the question anyway. I see we hold strong and differing opinions on this. Thankyou for taking the time to post such a considered reply.

Cruella said...

That's what I'm here for! Cheers.