Public ‘blames’ women for rape

// 21 November 2005

One third of Britons believe that women are totally or partially responsible for being raped if they are drunk or flirtatious, a poll of 1,000 adults commissioned by Amnesty International has revealed.

Indicating that a good proportion of the public still holds old-fashioned attitudes towards rape, a further 26% believe a woman is responsible if she wears sexy or revealing clothing. 22% think she is to blame if she is known to have many sexual partners.

Amnesty International UK Kate Allen said: “This poll shows that a disturbingly large proportion of the public blame women themselves for being raped.

“It is shocking that so many people will lay the blame for being raped at the feet of women themselves and the government must launch a new drive to counteract this sexist ‘blame culture’.”

And the poll indicates that the public have an unfounded confidence in the criminal justice system to bring rapists to book, with six out of seven saying they did not know what percentage of cases led to a conviction, or believing it was higher than the actual rate of 5.6%. The average estimate of conviction rates was 26%. Only 4% of respondents put the total number of rapes a year at above 10,000 \x96 Amnesty estimates the true figure is close to 50,000.

You can read the questions that were asked, and tap into the raw data here. Particularly worrying is the 4-8% who seem to believe these factors make women ‘totally’ responsible for their rape.

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