Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

Attitudes Towards Sexual Violence Need To Change

Women have for a long time been blamed for the sexual violence they experience. There is often the perception that women who indulge in risky behaviour asked for it and therefore, do not deserve any sympathy. These attitudes are wide spread and were recently confirmed in a survey carried out by Amnesty International “Stop Violence Against Women” campaign which showed that at least 30% of the people surveyed felt that a woman was partially or totally responsible for being raped if she was drunk.

The fact that a significant number of women fail to report incidents of rape shows how the culture of disbelief prevents many victims from coming forward. The fear of being blamed and undergoing invasive forensic examination can be off putting for most victims.

In most instances when a case is taken to court, the victim is subjected to questioning that makes them feel as if they are actually on trial. Very intimate details of the victim are unearth leaving the victim feeling more vulnerable. It is for this reason among others, that sexual violence remains the most unreported crime of all. The British Crime Survey estimates that between 85 to 90%  of cases go unreported. For many individuals, it remains a private nightmare.

There is also the burden thrust on girls and women to avoid “predatory behaviour” whatever that means. More emphasis is placed on teaching girls how not to be sexually assaulted. In some communities victims of sexual abuse are married off to the perpetrator. What people fail to understand is that anyone could be a victim and this includes young boys, as well as elderly woman and men who are perceived as macho types.

There is an urgent need for society to stand up against attitudes that amount to secondary victimisation. Placing the blame on the shoulders of a victim condones the actions of the perpetrator and condemns the victim.

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