Victim-blaming, rape-denier Tory MSP suggests rape victim was ‘hooker’

// 13 February 2011

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billaitken2.jpgConservative MSP Bill Aitken has suggested a 38-year-old woman who was raped in Glasgow may have been a “hooker”. The implication being that had the woman been a sex worker/prostitute, that would have made it a lesser offense somehow.

The Herald quotes Aitken:

Asked to comment on the series of so-called “lane rapes”, Aitken said: “I really think we need to know a bit more about these. They are not always as they seem to be, put it that way.”

He disputed the location of the attack, and said: “If this woman was dragged halfway through the town then it just couldn’t possibly happen. So has nobody asked her what she was doing in Renfrew Lane?

“Somebody should be asking her what she was doing in Renfrew Lane. Did she go there with somebody? … Now, Renfrew Lane is known as a place where things happen, put it that way.”

He went on:

Aitken also said a lot of rape allegations are falsely made by drunk women – but had no research to back this up: “The police say there’s a lot of drunken carry-ons that result in rape allegations which are subsequently dropped, put it that way,” he said.

He added: “I think there might be fear, if they are worried that somebody talks …and the word gets back to the boyfriend.”

When challenged on his comments by the Sunday Herald, Aitken denied making them until he read a transcript of the conversation. Asked whether there is a difference between the rape of women who work as prostitutes and those who don’t, he said: “Well, the prostitute has possibly put herself in a position of some vulnerability.”

This is an ignorant and disastrous message for any elected representative to be spouting, but Aitken is the shadow minister for community safety and convenes the Scottish Parliament’s justice committee, which the Herald says helps to formulate rape policy. Aitken has also been a District Court Judge and a Justice of the Peace, and is a Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Glasgow.

To put it mildly, he should have known better.

Detectives in Glasgow were“incredulous”. One senior source said: “Is he saying she deserved it? It’s mind-boggling. How will that poor girl feel?”

Annabel Goldie, leader of Scottish Conservatives, wouldn’t comment on Aitken’s remarks. Incredible: she should be asking for his resignation.

Comments From You

Linnea // Posted 13 February 2011 at 4:39 pm

That is absolutely appalling! I’m glad the detectives seem to know better than endorse such idiocy. Not only does to think that sex workers “have it coming,” but he also seems to think that anyone happening to be at Renfrew Lane at a certain time of night (day) only have themselves to blame. He wants to impose a curfew on people (!) rather than deal with drafting policies and encouraging discussions that do not, under any circumstances, make it the person’s responsibility if (s)he is sexually assaulted. It’s such a ridiculous notion, and so backwards, to claim that in order to decrease rape cases, we should (figuratively and literally) lock up potential rape victims rather than work with attitudes and the appallingly low numbers of verdicts in rape cases.

This is absolutely insane. While I can’t vote in Scottish elections myself, I’ll spread it to people I know can.

sianushka // Posted 14 February 2011 at 11:03 am

this is one of those jaw dropping moments.

until you realise that this kind of nonsense is pedalled in the press every day it seems.

it wasn’t that long ago since richard littlejohn wrote his appalling piece about the ipswich murders, using language i won’t repeat here.

we constantly see ‘calling rape’ stories in the mail.

yesterday i was researching an article i’m writing about the new guidelines for the CPS who deal with charges of perverting the course of justice when women falsely retract rape allegations. the headlines that came up on a google search were appalling, calling the women liars or using that very telling phrase ‘genuine victims’. as if most victims aren’t genuine.

so as horrific as his comments are, i think they are very indicative of a widespread feeling.

i live in bristol, the 1st city to secure criminal compensation for a woman who worked as a prostitute. she was gang raped and thrown out a window, and still the jury dithered because, after all, she had been “paid”.

he should make a public apology and he should resign. if we want these views to change, to not be mainstream, we need high profile politicians to make a real stand against this bigotry.

LInda // Posted 14 February 2011 at 6:31 pm

I am SHOCKED by the comments and opinions of this MSP. He should be asked to stand down. How dare he be so judgemental?! No woman is “asking for it” when she is raped. I am horrified by his attitude. AND, has he never been in the city centre of Glasgow at night? I’d say someone could be dragged up a lane quite easily without people noticing or trying to help…This man and these attutudes need to be exposed!!!!!!

Katy // Posted 14 February 2011 at 7:15 pm

So what he’s saying is, basically, if it’s a prostitute then she brought it on herself?

It’s nice to know we have men like this in government- so reassuring for us women to know we have MPs that don’t seem to know the definition of non-consensual (or dubiously-consensual) sex.

DJ Al // Posted 15 February 2011 at 2:33 pm

Typical someone who speaks before their brain engauges. Even if the woman was a prostitute she still has the right to say NO!

Deborah // Posted 16 February 2011 at 1:45 pm

I am appalled by the comments made by Bill Aitken and as a Scot, have emailed my local MSP as well as Annabel Goldie.

There is also a facebook group- http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bill-Aitken-Must-Go-Campaign-for-a-New-Scottish-Justice-Convener/194959127189544

that anyone can join to add support.

MrsMac // Posted 18 February 2011 at 10:35 am

Typical Tory. As Charlie Brooker would say “What a see-yooo-enn-tee!”

sianushka // Posted 18 February 2011 at 12:04 pm

Mrsmac – c**t is too good and womanly a word to waste on someone like him!

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