Why are police forces getting away with misogynistic, victim-blaming rape prevention campaigns?

I was horrified to hear this afternoon that Sussex Police are launching a campaign to encourage women to stay together to avoid the possibility of rape and sexual assault. This is what they tweeted last week:

So, now your friends come above the perpetrator of any crime when there’s blame to be handed out.

Looking a bit further afield, I found the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s Be Smart campaign, which is even worse. Three quarters of the page is taken up with advice for women like:

Would you go alone into a stranger’s house at 11am in the morning? No? So why do it at 2am drunk? Arrange to meet new acquaintances when sober.

It’s the sort of victim blaming nonsense that is counter-productive. Going to someone’s house is not a crime. Raping somebody is against the law. If you had been raped, how likely would you be to report what had happened to you if you thought you might be judged and blamed for the crime that you had been subjected to? I thought we’d moved on from that. To add insult to injury, as an afterthought, there’s an “And for guys” bit at the bottom of the page, reminding them that “rape convictions last forever.” The effects of being rape are pretty much a life sentence, too, you know. I don’t often have a good word to say about Police Scotland, well, at least, not their senior management. However, they have a seriously good record on this issue. That’s because they work together with organisations like Scottish Women’s Aid and Rape Crisis Scotland and the White Ribbon Alliance. Their We can stop it rape awareness campaign is much more thoughtful and their rape prevention advice has sensible advice like this:

2. Respect your sexual partner …

Listen to the other person and treat them with respect – effective communication is key to healthy sexual relationships. It’s important to talk to your partner and listen to their wishes. Any kind of sexual act must be consensual – both partners should agree to it and be happy with it.

3. Question your own attitudes …

Consider the messages you hear about how men should act and think about your own actions, attitudes and behaviours. Understand that behaviour, such as pub chat about a woman ‘asking for it’ because of what she is wearing, can perpetuate harmful attitudes towards sexism and sexual violence. Work towards positively changing attitudes. Choose what kind of guy you want to be.

Other good campaigns in Scotland include the “This is not an invitation to rape me” site and the excellent Not Ever video, both produced by Rape Crisis Scotland. It’s about challenging the victim blaming culture that’s out there. The Greater Manchester Police also followed this approach with their #noconsentnosex law. What do we need to do to get this sort of practice adopted by all police forces? Liberal Democrat women, told me tonight:

The idea that any rape victim is to blame for the actions of their rapist is not just wrong, it’s irresponsible: it reduces victims’ confidence in a system where most rapes and sexual assaults already go unreported. Sussex Police, and any other police force that considers these tactics, needs to remember that going out alone isn’t a crime: rape is.

With Lynne Featherstone as the Coalition’s Minister responsibility for tackling violence against women, much progress was made. The Girl Summit and Sexual Violence Summits last year brought the fight to the global stage. Initiatives like Clare’s Law which enable women to find out if a potential partner has a history of domestic violence are also helpful. There is so much more to be done, though, particularly where tackling issues of sexual consent and rape are concerned. Comprehensive, mandatory sex education must be implemented and the underlying culture that teaches young men that women are mere receptacles and playthings must be properly challenged. All public bodies must be very careful about the messages they send out and any attitudes which seek to blame women for the crimes committed against them should not be tolerated. This is another good reason to have the Liberal Democrats back in government. Jo and Lynne Featherstone have done a great deal to challenge the sort of casual sexism that pervades our society. They’ve upset the gutter press but they wouldn’t be doing their jobs properly if they hadn’t. We need them back in there for another five years. Update: I had a tweet from the Police Service of Northern Ireland saying that the campaign I quoted was out of date.

I humbly suggest that it should not be on the internet any more. The new one highlighted seems more sensible. 

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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100 Comments

  • Eddie Sammon 6th Apr '15 - 9:14pm

    I agree anti rape campaigns should be targeted at the potential perpetrators, not victims. It’s quite strange actually, why warn the victim when you can warn the attacker?

  • Andrew Suffield 6th Apr '15 - 9:32pm

    Going to someone’s house is not a crime.

    Hang on, they never even suggested that it was. It’s no more a crime to go to a random stranger’s house alone, drunk, at 2am, than it is to wonder the streets of Brixton or Soho in the same circumstances, and the police aren’t suggesting that anybody should be punished for doing so or that they will in any way slacken off on enforcement if a crime does occur.

    That doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to do those things, and it’s reasonable to politely encourage people not to do things like that. In no sense does this justify or excuse the actions of others, nor does it inhibit the police from taking robust and direct action against criminal behaviour.

    Nothing about this campaign is misogynistic or “victim-blaming”. In no sense is it counter-productive – this is not going to increase crime! The worst it can do is have no effect, in which case you could complain that it’s a waste of police funding.

    If saying “look out for your friends because crime still happens” is your idea of something that must be stopped then I submit that you need to reconsider your values, as they have led you down the wrong path.

  • Jenny Barnes 6th Apr '15 - 9:58pm

    Andrew: which one of your mates is most likely to rape someone on a night out ? Stick with him and don’t let him go off with any women.

  • The idea that this is victim blaming is simply ludicrous. The police telling people to take preventative action and stay safe is surely sensible?
    Let’s say police had rolled out the same campaign but, removing the word ‘sexual’. You might think that the campaign will be useless, which would be fair criticism, but you wouldn’t say it was victim blaming.
    The poster does not suggest that wandering off on your own puts you at fault, it merely states that staying together is safer, which obviously it is. If I leave my house unlocked it doesn’t legitimise stealing from me, the thieves would be the guilty party. But if, as I was going out, I forgot, you might say ‘remember to lock up’. Following your logic, this would be a form of victim blaming.

    Before people go out their parents often say ‘be careful, stick together’. Are they victim blaming? Of course they aren’t. Anyone saying they were would be derided, and rightly so.

  • Andrew Suffield

    Absolutely agree. Surely this is the commonsense advice all parents give their daughters. When did it become “victim blaming nonsense”?

  • Philip Thomas 6th Apr '15 - 10:27pm

    Most rapes are done by someone the victim knows…

  • Philip Thomas 6th Apr '15 - 10:35pm

    There does seem to be a subtext that men are never victims of rape, a curious form of heteronormative blindness…I would advise men not to wander alone, but since homosexual rape is equally usually done by someone the victim knows, it would be just as pointless.

  • Of course preventive measures are not in themselves objectionable, but an emphasis on prevention to the exclusion of all else avoids seeking a cure, and too often ends up blaming the victim. It’s rather like saying “we don’t need to work to eradicate measles, because all you have to do is make sure your children never come into contact with anybody with measles, and if they do, it’s their own fault for not being more careful.”

    The primary goal is to eradicate the problem, whether it’s measles or rape or any other plague. Preventive measures are not a solution but a stopgap. As they always involve restrictions on freedom, any liberal should want to get, as quickly as possible, to a stage where those restrictions are rescinded: where we have, for instance, the freedom to walk the streets at night alone without fear.

  • Tony Dawson 6th Apr '15 - 10:43pm

    The precise wording may be clumsy but the same message could be more broadly–projected without being sexist.

    Going off into any situation where you do not have a reasonable degree control is dangerous to men and to women, period. Sexual assault is one potential outcome o f this. Other assaults and robbery or kidnap are others. I have been subject to such an attempted robbery in the past. We would all like to live in a society where we will always be in the company of good kind people. Is it sensible to always behave as though this is reality? Is it wrong to remind people of that as a crime prevention measure?

  • I am at a loss to see how these materials can be characterised as “misogynistic” and “victim-blaming”. They are good, simple, straightforward crime-prevention advice. It is in much the same vein that the Police advise householders to lock their doors and close their windows when they are out. Is that misogynistic and victim-blaming, too? Rape is an extraordinarily difficult crime to prove beyond reasonable doubt, because it is rarely ever committed in the presence of witnesses. It is therefore of paramount importance to focus on prevention rather than cure. The materials complained of protect women from rape. What can possibly be wrong with that?

  • Andrfew Suffield, Spot on!

    …..When I was a child my parents told me, “Don’t accept sweets from, or get in a car with, strangers”….were they ‘victim blaming’ instructions?

    Pretending we live in a world where “the vulnerable will never be taken advantage of” is unreal….The instructions are no more misogynistic or victim-blaming than the old, “Watch out; there’s a thief about” advert which advised not leaving wallets and purses in clear view…..It is merely asking women to be aware that there are rapists about

  • David-1

    If you are waiting for the day when there are no bad people you could be waiting a long time. Until that day comes I think most people will appreciate that they need to take some precautions to ensure their safety.

  • If in the poster above, you replace “sexual assaults” with “muggings” the advice stands and works equally for males or females. This isnt victim shaming, its an admission on the part of the Police that they cant be everywhere at once and you’re safer going about in a group if that can be arranged. Often it cant.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 6th Apr '15 - 11:11pm

    If any of us were burgled, regardless of whether we had accidentally left the door open, we would all get sympathy.

    However, with rape, it’s different. There’s a cultural attitude that the woman must have somehow brought it on herself. A campaign from the enforcers of the law which reinforces those attitudes does more harm than good.

    @jenny barnes – you are bang on.

  • The point is not to wait but to act. No doubt conservatives have always found “nothing can be changed, nothing can be improved” a plausible line, but Liberals should be capable of imagining so much more.

  • Tony Dawson 6th Apr '15 - 11:26pm

    @Caron Lindsay

    “with rape, it’s different. There’s a cultural attitude that the woman must have somehow brought it on herself.”

    Being reckless about placing oneself in situations which are likely to have a greater-than average likelihood of being vulnerable to criminals is not the same as ‘bringing it on oneself’. You do not make the criminal any more criminal by your behaviour. You can, however, make it much easier for him or her to express his/her criminality. This in no way excuses the criminality. But is such behaviour wise?

  • A Social Liberal 7th Apr '15 - 12:20am

    Caron said

    “If any of us were burgled, regardless of whether we had accidentally left the door open, we would all get sympathy.
    However, with rape, it’s different. There’s a cultural attitude that the woman must have somehow brought it on herself.”

    I’m sorry Caron, but I disagree. Some people might think so, some in certain police forces might be of that opinion – but I have not seen any proof that culturally this view is still prevalent. It is not even a view universal amongst men.

    Like other posters on here, I also think that the premise of the article – that the campaign blames the victim – is false. I can see the logic in your argument but I believe that it is a twisted logic. It offers ways in which women can keep safe. The Neighbourhood Watch campaigns did not blame those who ignored the advice to join the watch for the burglaries they suffered, they offered a way, a strategy, for staying safe. Similarly this campaign offers a way, a strategy, for women to stay safe when they go out.

  • Caron, as someone who has had too many friends and family members suffered these most horrific crimes Caron, I am very upset at your action on this campaign.

    I know you are sincere in your response, but it is reckless.

    No one, and I mean No ONE is blaming the victims here, but there are times when people’s actions change their lives forever, and this campaign gets one person to take their friend home, rather than them go their separate ways, and that prevents someones life from being harmed all too greatly, then that cannot be wrong by the police.

    It is very sad (sad not being anywhere near strong enough) that people (especially women) can walk alone at night in certain places, but it is a truth and we have to accept it as such, and until it is no longer a truth (should such a day come), we have to take action to mitigate against its risks.

    Yes, the police need to make it to as much as is practical possible less of truth (and they can do a better job than they are), but the fact is that if people stay in a group they are much safer. The police are right to try and get people to take this very sensible measure, just as they are when they give warnings about other potential harms people may come to at the hands of criminals which they may not think about when having a good time.

    Whilst it will not stop all too many cases, even if it stops but a few, it is enough.

  • Thomas: Legally speaking, men cannot be raped, only sexually assaulted.

    Caron: a question, if I may: the other night when a female friend and I finished a meal, I made a very conscious decision to walk her from the restaurant to her home about 15 minutes walk away. (Neither of us had the money for a taxi and it meant that I then had to take another 20 minute walk to get back to the hotel I was staying at.) The reason I did this was simple, I did not wish for a young lady to be walking home at night alone.
    – Would this be wrong to you?
    – Would this victim blaming to you?
    – Is this sexist of me?

    Though to add context, I would have done for a male friend, as well, I will not lie that I fear more for my female friends.

  • I’m sure this was meant as advice, but really there is a sort of something off about the emphasis on female behaviour. Then again I’m not sure there’s a “culture” that teaches that young people are playthings either. The issue to me is that there’s a tendency to focus on altering normal behaviour because it’s easier than tackling abhorrent behaviour which is sort of insulting to both men and women. It’s like burglary. There’s lots of does and don’ts for the non criminal and poor detection rates when crimes are actually committed.

  • Simon McGrath 7th Apr '15 - 6:21am

    @caron “If any of us were burgled, regardless of whether we had accidentally left the door open, we would all get sympathy”
    But your singling out the police advice not to go to the house of a stranger, drunk, at 2am is the equivalent of telling people not to lock their front door on the grounds that police should act against burglars not victims

  • Sussex Police’s campaign appears to be an exhortation to girls to look out for each other. Does Caron really think this is bad advice or even misguided?

  • Philip Thomas 7th Apr '15 - 8:13am

    @Liberal AL
    The Sexual Offences Act 2003 states that penetration of the “mouth, anus or vagina” is sufficient for rape at s.1(1)(a).
    (which is consistent with international law definitions)- meaning male rape is recognised in UK law.

    Previously it was not. That may be why some police forces haven’t updated their literature.

  • Philip Thomas 7th Apr '15 - 8:17am

    @Liberal Al. Not sure if my detailed explanation will make it through the censors, but your legal position has not been true in the UK since 2003…

  • [email protected] ”“If any of us were burgled, regardless of whether we had accidentally left the door open, we would all get sympathy.”

    You would get sympathy from friends, but not from your insurance company.
    Lax security by a home owner can mean an insurance claim is rejected.

    Young people, male or female, need to be made aware of risk. Reminding them to keep an eye on each other, particularly when alcohol is involved, is a good idea. It does not mean that rapists are being let off the hook.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 7th Apr '15 - 8:31am

    Clearly I am fighting an uphill battle here. I actually despair at the attitudes of many men in and around our party. They aren’t so different from the attitudes of many men in wider society but if we truly believe in equality, we might hope for better.

    I thought you might be interested in two comments made by women on my Facebook page. The first from Kate Joester:

    “The police are supposed to deal in law. When they tell young men that they officially think young women should not get drunk or go home with people they’ve just met, those young men hear “it’s pretty understandable if you rape those women.”

    When young women are told the same, they hear “you have to behave in a certain way before we are willing to enforce the law on a crime committed against you.”

    Besides promoting the idea that rapists are usually strangers, which is demonstrably untrue, these tactics by police tell women that the police are only there for “good” women, and their citizenship is contingent on complying not with the law, but with prescribed gender norms.”

    The second from Emma Ritch:

    I would imagine that the hundred plus women who were raped by licensed and regulated London taxi driver John Worboys would have a hollow laugh for the notion that avoiding minicabs also means avoiding rape.

    I’m also not sure which world the police are living in that think that women don’t go into strangers’ homes during the day. Women are plumbers, decorators, supermarket delivery drivers, health visitors, occupational therapists, nannies, cleaners, caterers, meter readers, members of book clubs, community psychiatric nurses, social workers, estate agents, and ministers of religion.

    I completely agree with Kate, and also wonder why its considered more stupid to go home for some tipsy sex with someone that you’re getting good vibes from than to get in a car with a man you don’t know?

  • Jenny Barnes 7th Apr '15 - 8:39am

    liberal Al. : Most rapes are carried out by people known to the victim. Your friend had to make a judgement as to whether she was more likely to be raped by you, or by a random stranger. It’s not necessarily an easy call. You may know you’re not likely to rape her, but she would have to decide which would be safer.

    pbbrown “Lax security by a home owner can mean an insurance claim is rejected.” aka “walking while female”?

  • Caron Lindsay 7th Apr ’15 – 8:31am ……Clearly I am fighting an uphill battle here. I actually despair at the attitudes of many men in and around our party. They aren’t so different from the attitudes of many men in wider society but if we truly believe in equality, we might hope for better…..

    Now that’s a sexist statement…..

    .

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 7th Apr '15 - 8:55am

    Or a finding of fact, @expats

  • David Evans 7th Apr '15 - 9:02am

    I am dismayed at this article. The advice, good, liberal advice, that people should look after each other, seems to have been turned into an excuse for having a go at the police because they are not fully signed on for every nuance of a particular agenda. I am sure that as someone who has never been subject to a sexual assault I have little understanding of the full effect that rape and the threat of it has on women, but as a liberal, I can recognise sound advice. If I went out and got drunk on a Saturday night and got beaten up or killed because some other individual chose to pick on me, part of it would be my fault for being so stupid as to put myself in that situation. If I was out with a bunch of mates and they had just left me behind, they would have been devastated at the consequences of their action.

    This sort of article is totally counterproductive and will only serve to confirm in many people’s eyes how completely out of touch liberals are. The headline, accusing Sussex police of blaming victims of rape is out of order in itself, but even worse, in conjunction with the final sentence “I humbly suggest …” it verges on sounding just snide and nasty.

    I am sure Caron has many reasons for being concerned about rape and its impact on women, but attacking so vehemently those who are tasked with protecting us for not being perfect in her opinion shows very poor judgement. In addition, at a time when we are fighting for our very existence in many areas, it could be very damaging.

  • Caron I think you are “fighting an uphill battle here” because Sussex Police are only issuing some sound, if rather innocuous, advice. Innocuous, because most friends already do look out for each other, you would not be much of a friend if you did not.

  • Would you go alone into a stranger’s house at 11am in the morning? No? So why do it at 2am drunk? Arrange to meet new acquaintances when sober.

    To me it’s sensible advice; to you It’s “victim blaming nonsense”

    How would you view my parent’s advice of, “Don’t accept sweets from, or get in a car with, strangers”?

  • Caron.
    I agree with you . The police have a very poor record of dealing with rape and other sexual offenses. The problem isn’t how women behave it’s how rapists behave. There’s a real issue with the conviction rate and part of that is driven by the emphasis on how the victim behaved. What if the girl doesn’t have available friends? Is she supposed to stay in or live like a hermit. What if you have to go into strangers house as part of your job for or for whatever reason, what if the taxi drive is a rapist. Imagine the out cry if the police were advising men how to avoid raping some one! There cannot be an assumption in the law that normal behaviour is in any shape or form complicit in creating criminal behaviour.
    The only reason I mentioned burglary was because my home was once burgled three times in a month and was I given lots of condescending advice about how to avoid being burgled, but precious little was done to catch the culprits.

  • Clearly the consensus is that the article is a load of tosh.

    Unfortunately, because rape is such an emotive issue, this sort of thing gains traction.

    I don’t think that ‘with rape, it’s different. There’s a cultural attitude that the woman must have somehow brought it on herself.’ In fact, I think that people’s attitudes to rape are very similar to other crimes. If you left your door unlocked and someone burgled you, of cause I’d be sympathetic, and your action would in no way excuse the attacker, but I might say to another friend ‘well what did she expect’ and my other friend would agree. If it was assault and you’d been walking in a dodgy area alone at night and I said it my friend would probably think it was an inappropriate thing to say if you have been hurt, but they’d agree that you should be more responsible. If the crime in question was rape and I said the same thing I’d be pilloried.
    Because rape is violent and emotive people put it on a pedestal, and mistake people saying women (and, as it has been pointed out, men) should be careful as distinctive, when it is in fact commonplace.
    Nothing can excuse rape, the victim should never be blamed for the crime, but taking preventative measures is sensible. Nothing in this campaign is victim blaming, this article is ridiculous.

  • Eddie Sammon 7th Apr '15 - 11:26am

    I’m a bit of a men’s right’s activist, but this isn’t the campaign to fight. The posters are awful. The Sussex Police poster says “don’t let your friend go off with a stranger of leave on their own”. Why not? Is there a new law that women can’t go home with strangers but men can? It’s anti freedom. The same resources and campaign could have been about consent or something instead. It’s just such a sensitive topic as well, with extremely low conviction rates too as Glenn mentions.

    The Northern Ireland Police campaign, which is an old one they forgot to remove, is arguably worse: apparently women aren’t supposed to go into stranger’s homes full stop, even if as Caron mentions they are doing so for work purposes.

    I’ve thought about things such as warnings not travel to Syria, but it is different here because in my opinion the same posters and resources could have been targeted at the potential attackers. It’s just too sensitive as well, as Caron mentions with the cultural problems that need to be challenged.

  • Eddie Sammon 7th Apr '15 - 11:31am

    PS, the reason why it is victim blaming is because if a woman gets raped then some people might sit back and say “well you should have listened to our advice”. That is not the kind of society that Lib Dems should be creating.

  • “liberal Al. : Most rapes are carried out by people known to the victim. Your friend had to make a judgement as to whether she was more likely to be raped by you, or by a random stranger. It’s not necessarily an easy call. You may know you’re not likely to rape her, but she would have to decide which would be safer.”

    First of all, that did not answer my question, and was just insulting. I asked do you consider what I did wrong, not are you worried the majority of men walking women home are going to rape them.

    Secondly, this is one of the worse misuses of a statistic that I have ever seen. Yes, you are correct that most women are raped by people they know, but the situations in which they occur are a bit more complex than the one I set out, and it is demeaning to all concerned to conflate my question with a statistic is all too often misused.

    Caron, the police have lots of campaigns telling men not to get stupidly drunk.

  • Philip: sadly, it seems even some law schools are out of date, then.

  • Although Carol may have used rather strong language in her article I do agree with her argument. I have three daughters and have always told them not to put themselves in danger by drinking so much that they lose awareness of potential danger. I would say the same to my sons if I had any.
    However the Sussex Police ‘s message is the facile old argument that women can be safe if they stay together. But how does the last woman get home? There are always situations in which you have to walk home alone or to work very early on a dark morning. Politics is one of the activities that necessitate getting to a car park alone after all those evening meetings. The logical consequence of the Sussex police message is that women should never go out alone if they want to stay safe.
    Caron is right a more thoughtful campaign is what is required and I am dismayed by the number of men who have lept in to attack her. It is at best a patronising message and at worst it burdens women with unacceptable guilt . I am sure I am not alone in arguing that a family which has suffered racist attacks should not be moved out of their homes but that the perpetrators should. This is exactly the same situation.
    Unfortunately there are still men around who think a woman is fair game if she dresses in the short skirts that are fashionable now. Going back to Liberal fundamentals whose behaviour is damaging to whom? Whose behaviour should be stopped?

  • It is another straw man argument to conflate this campaign with the message that women’s clothes are to blame for rape. As is comparing walking to a car after a meeting with going out partying and drinking.

    It should also be noted that the Police did have a very big campaign targeted at men stating to men ‘that without consent they are committing rape’.

  • you are correct that most women are raped by people they know

    If we’re going to point out correct uses of statistics, I’m pretty sure most women aren’t raped by anyone.

  • Jenny Barnes 7th Apr '15 - 3:30pm

    It’s interesting, but hardly surprising, that going by the names most of those who don’t like the article are men. It rather reminds me of the Today program where John Humphries was interviewing two other men on abortion. Not really something they are directly affected by. As the presenter of the recent programme on the suffragettes kept saying “Men men men, men men”

  • ” David-1 6th Apr ’15 – 10:42pm

    Of course preventive measures are not in themselves objectionable, but an emphasis on prevention to the exclusion of all else avoids seeking a cure, and too often ends up blaming the victim. It’s rather like saying “we don’t need to work to eradicate measles, because all you have to do is make sure your children never come into contact with anybody with measles, and if they do, it’s their own fault for not being more careful.”

    The primary goal is to eradicate the problem, whether it’s measles or rape or any other plague. Preventive measures are not a solution but a stopgap. As they always involve restrictions on freedom, any liberal should want to get, as quickly as possible, to a stage where those restrictions are rescinded: where we have, for instance, the freedom to walk the streets at night alone without fear.”

    *applause*

    Best comment I have ever read on this issue. Thank you David. There’s a lot which concerns me coming out of other people’s keyboards in the comments above, but this one gives me hop.

  • Jenny Barnes

    You could also say it’s interesting, but hardly surprising, that very few women have defended Caron’s article.

  • Bringing John Worboys into the argument reminds me of the sort of arguments used by the pro tobacco lobby……whenever the ‘tobacco causes cancer” argument is mooted out comes “xxxx never smoked and developed cancer”….

    Nowhere is 100% safe from assault, robbery or rape but, as 3 out of 4 rapes are ‘alcohol related’, any action to make potential victims aware of their vulnerabilty should be applauded not put down as “victim blaming nonsense”

  • Dav: if we are going to have a discussion, we could accept that someone who has a learning disability which affects their English, may at times have poor English, rather than use it against them to score cheap points and make fun of them.

  • Malc.
    There are very few women on this thread and every single one of them has defended Caron’s article. I indeed find that very interesting,

  • Denis Mollison 7th Apr '15 - 4:55pm

    Seeing comments like –
    Iain 7th Apr ’15 – 10:59am
    Clearly the consensus is that the article is a load of tosh.
    – I have to express my strong support for Caron’s article.

    Sussex Police may have been well-intentioned, but their choice of headline “Many sexual assualts could be prevented” carries a strong implication that rape victims “bring it on themselves”, and is therefore simply unacceptable.

    Jenny Barnes hit the nail on the head with her alternative advice –

    Jenny Barnes 6th Apr ’15 – 9:58pm
    Andrew: which one of your mates is most likely to rape someone on a night out ? Stick with him and don’t let him go off with any women.

  • Caron

    I have to echo the comments supporting the “look after your friends” messages. I can’t see how you could ever jump to “victim blaming.” If I were to be with a friend and assumed that they would get home ok, leaving them driving home myself that would leave them in greater risk. A campaign aimed at me to not leave them is not blaming them if something horrendous happens (though I’m not sure it is doing any more than stating the obvious).

    “However, with rape, it’s different. There’s a cultural attitude that the woman must have somehow brought it on herself.”

    I often hear this claim, but I have yet to hear anyone argue this. Of the people I have known who have been raped (I’m unaware of a conviction from any of them) I have never heard anyone express anything but sympathy for the victim. No suggestion it was their fault, not from women, not from men.

    What you may be referring to is a concern by victims immediately after a terrible event they worry other people will judge, but the reality is people don’t. I would ask you to think, does anyone you know blame victims for the crimes committed against them? I imagine not.

    Unfortunately I’m not sure “information campaigns” on this ever achieve anything. I have seen people claim that some men “don’t understand” that you can’t rape women but I have yet to meet anyone who doesn’t understand that is a crime. Those committing these crimes know they are wrong and shouldn’t be under any impression that anyone else will think otherwise.

    A campaign telling women that they will be looked after and not judged may be the closest thing to a campaign that could work but it would be marginal compared with the trauma of the crime, so I’m not sure how well it would cut through.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 7th Apr '15 - 6:27pm

    @Malc: There are plenty women who agree with me, but tend not to comment here because of the way that they have been treated by commenters with views such as many expressed by the men in this thread.

  • This is actually just the first phase of a campaign against night-time sexual crime. The campaign will run for months and have many different strands to it, this being just the first of them. See :-

    http://www.wscountytimes.co.uk/news/local/police-launch-rape-prevention-campaign-1-6676820

    By the sound of it, the kind of advice being given to women here is only quite a small part of the whole campaign. Many of the criticisms of the campaign by previous posters are therefore inaccurate and unfair.

    As for whether the tweet depicted is “misogynistic”, I would have thought the opposite is the case. The tweet is saying that a woman out alone may find herself the victim of a sexual assault. Though the gender of the theoretical assailant is not given, everybody seeing this will assume it’s a man. So the message is: women may find themselves the victims of wicked men, which hardly sounds misogynistic to me.

    Caron, we both have teenage daughters so I’m genuinely intrigued to know: would you think it somehow wrong of me to give my daughter the same kind of advice being put out by Sussex Police? Because frankly, this is exactly the sort of advice I WOULD give her (as well as “keep up with the karate classes”), as it sounds completely sensible.

    The alternative seems to me like the Gordon Brittas approach to crossing the road. (Brittas – who was a TV comedy character in case you don’t know – used to boast that he would just stride out at zebra crossings without looking. Someone pointed out to him that one time he did this, he got run over and had his legs broken, and that this therefore might not be the best thing to do. “But,” said Brittas triumphantly, “the point is that I had right of way, so the guy who ran me over was entirely in the wrong!”)

  • @Denis Mollison
    “Jenny Barnes hit the nail on the head with her alternative advice – ‘which one of your mates is most likely to rape someone on a night out ? Stick with him and don’t let him go off with any women.'”

    If you read the article I just posted a link to (assuming it gets past robo-censor), you’ll see that a large part of the Sussex campaign is indeed targeted at men, and the idea is to encourage people in general to look out for each other.

    The people who have leapt in to attack the Sussex police for this tweet have all assumed that this is the only message they are putting out – but that is completely wrong.

  • Seriously Caron, if you’re genuinely interested in doing some good here instead of just fuelling the misogyny-is-all-around-us narrative, why don’t you contact the Sussex Police chief inspector quoted, or the local PCC (both happen to be women), and ask them for more information on the rest of the campaign? It might not be as bad as you think.

  • “Andrew: which one of your mates is most likely to rape someone on a night out ? Stick with him and don’t let him go off with any women.”

    I image Andrew does not suspect that any of his ‘mates’ are likely to commit rape, and if he did, would not be friends with them, so this advice is fallacy.

    I guess there may be less hyperbolic examples where this could apply (e.g. a man acting/saying inappropriate things to women), and yes, there is a responsibility on all (particularly those with that man) to stop it. However, even then, this is not mutually exclusive to what was said by the police.

    Interestingly, all the women I have asked about this (so a less self-selecting group than here, but not a wide sample) have said this is sound advice. Some have commented that it is clumsy and words to that effect, but the core premise is taken to be sound.

  • Philip Thomas 7th Apr '15 - 7:01pm

    Liberal Al: “Philip: sadly, it seems even some law schools are out of date, then.” Possibly but since before 2003 rape of men was not called sexual assault*, I suspect that you are remembering being taught (entirely correctly) that *women* cannot rape men, and that anything analogous to that would be sexual assault. The instructor probably forgot to mention that men can rape men…

    *the word used was the same as the word for consensual homosexual sex before that was legalised in the 60s.

  • Eddie Sammon 7th Apr '15 - 7:08pm

    Sussex Police have just tweeted it again. I can’t believe they are running with this. I analysed the comments on Twitter and 11 people said it was victim blaming versus only 1 against.

    I’m all in favour of security and self-defence, but the poster orders women to stay together and never go off with a stranger. That is not a law. Liberals are against the “nanny state”, this is the “daddy state”, speaking to women as if they are little girls.

    What happens if girls don’t listen to the police? Will there be some kind of punishment?

  • Philip Thomas 7th Apr '15 - 7:45pm

    Looking again at the Sussex police campaign, it isn’t explicitly targeted at women, except in the picture, so maybe my comment was unfair (although not with respect to the Northern Ireland campaign or indeed many of the subsequent comments (It is for example, wholly unclear why Andrew’s putative criminal-minded friend should be prevented from “going off with any women” rather than “any people”)).
    I think it would be slightly better if it said “many crimes could be prevented”…
    I recall that a conservative American once suggested that domestic violence would be reduced if women married the fathers of their children, to which a liberal American replied that domestic violence would be reduced if men stopped hitting women…

  • Eddie Sammon 7th Apr ’15 – 7:08pm……I’m all in favour of security and self-defence, but the poster orders women to stay together and never go off with a stranger. That is not a law. Liberals are against the “nanny state”, this is the “daddy state”, speaking to women as if they are little girls……

    ………………..I read it more as a sensible suggestion……

    What happens if girls don’t listen to the police? Will there be some kind of punishment?..

    …………..Oh, Really!……….

  • “Liberal Al: “Philip: sadly, it seems even some law schools are out of date, then.” Possibly but since before 2003 rape of men was not called sexual assault*, I suspect that you are remembering being taught (entirely correctly) that *women* cannot rape men, and that anything analogous to that would be sexual assault. The instructor probably forgot to mention that men can rape men…”

    This certainly seems logical. It was a good 7 years ago that I did criminal law (that makes me feel old), and it is most certainly not my specialist area.

  • Eddie Sammon 7th Apr '15 - 8:28pm

    Hi expats, I’m not an absolutist, but if we focus on the posters rather than the “but what about this” arguments then I think the posters should be warning rapists instead of warning the potential victims.

    I don’t want to discuss this topic anymore. There are quite a lot discussing it and I think I have said all my points.

    Thanks

  • Philip Thomas 7th Apr '15 - 8:36pm

    As a thought experiment, imagine the same message with a picture of two men. Does that change your reaction at all?

    (Obviously it changes mine, because my reaction is “why aren’t they addressing this to men?”- but I seem to be a unique case).

  • Ruth Bright 7th Apr '15 - 9:51pm

    Caron is right. More than that – she is stating the obvious. Women do not under any circumstances have to justify going out without a chaperone. Get over it!

  • @Eddie Sammon
    “I’m all in favour of security and self-defence, but the poster orders women to stay together and never go off with a stranger. That is not a law.. What happens if girls don’t listen to the police? Will there be some kind of punishment?”

    I’m genuinely sad that so many people see such a serious issue as just another opportunity to trot out ill-informed hyperbole. The poster is not saying any of those things.

    @Paul Walter
    “I agree with Caron. The more recent PSNI campaign is how it should be done. There are warnings about personal safety in the campaign but the “spearhead” message is right: ‘Without consent it is rape’.”

    The PSNI press release Caron links to gives a long and detailed description of the entire campaign.

    She invites us to compare this with a SINGLE TWEET from Sussex Police’s campaign.

    Can you see the potential for inaccuracy and unfairness here? If I were to judge the entire Lib Dem election campaign on the first tweet I happened to see, how reasonable do you think that would be?

    The way the Sussex police are being unfairly judged here is one of the most lamentable things I’ve ever seen on Lib Dem Voice. I’d suggest some of the critics spend a little time browsing their website – there is a searchable archive of police requests for information. It’s very easy to find several recent examples of women being assaulted while walking home alone after a night out. It’s entirely to the police’s credit that they are trying to do something about this, and the tweet being picked on by Caron is only going to be a tiny part of their approach.

  • @ Ruth Bright. No we do not need a chaperone but would you tell your daughter if you have one to go where she likes, when she likes drunk or sober? If she then gets raped you can say, that is OK as it is the rapists fault. She will still be traumatised and her life ruined. I not only worried for my daughter but also my son who received the same advice from me, keep with your friends.

  • Philip Thomas 7th Apr ’15 – 8:36pm……..As a thought experiment, imagine the same message with a picture of two men. Does that change your reaction at all?……….

    Were it a poster about the danger of lone men getting ‘beaten up’ whilst drunk, would it change my reaction? An emphatic, No!I I’d still consider it sensible advice rather than “victim blaming nonsense”….

    ……………….Obviously it changes mine, because my reaction is “why aren’t they addressing this to men?”- but I seem to be a unique case………

    It’s probably not aimed at men because a) “When drunk, they are not at high riskn of being raped” and b) If the idea is to deter rapists, when did you last see an anti burglary poster aimed at burglars?

  • Eddie Sammon 8th Apr '15 - 9:05am

    Hi Stuart. I know I said I wouldn’t say anymore under this article, but considering you have addressed me politely and seem concerned I thought I would.

    I understand there is nothing wrong with telling people to “be safe” and “be careful”, but for me liberalism is about taking some risks for the sake of freedom.

    I understand some behaviour is reckless and places burdens on others, but I don’t think going off with people in a club is one of them. It happens all the time, we probably need a national debate about it before the Police decide it is reckless behaviour.

    Regards

  • if we are going to have a discussion, we could accept that someone who has a learning disability which affects their English, may at times have poor English, rather than use it against them to score cheap points and make fun of them

    It’s not a ‘cheap point’, it’s a very important point about the misuse of statistics.

    It is true that most rapes are committed by someone the woman knows.

    But this does not mean, as the person was implying, that a woman should be more worried about being raped when in the company of someone they know than a stranger.

    Because the correct statistic to use there is not ‘out of women who were raped, how many were raped by someone they know?’ but ‘out of women who were spending time with someone they know, how many were raped?’

    The person did not use ‘poor English’, they used poor statistics, and in fact a very serious sort of poor statistics which has real results in the real world; it’s a form of the prosecutor’s fallacy which gets people banged away because juries don’t understand how DNA evidence works. See this web page here: http://www.conceptstew.co.uk/PAGES/prosecutors_fallacy.html

  • I think people are missing the point. We already have rape trials where there is far to much emphasis on how the women behave, whether they’ve been drinking, how they were dressed and what they did or did not do. This results in a very low conviction rate. So to some of us there is something off about focussed on how women behave. Not only that, when the police focus on prevention they tend to stop investigating properly and the victims just get more advise. eg, this is how you keep your car safe, do this do that do the other, but they don’t actually investigate the crime because it is seen as something closer to hazard or even the result of negligence than a criminal act. This already happens in rape cases that are not even seen as worth attempting a prosecution. In Rotherham and elsewhere crimes against actual children were ignored because the victims were seen has having made “poor lifestyle choices.”. Plus can know that in patriarchal focused societies which lay emphasis on the idea that unaccompanied females are inviting danger have even worse attitudes to sexual offenses than our sometimes feeble legal system. So to me there is a degree of victim blaming and friend shaming and yes misogyny going on in this campaign. It is not just advice. It lecturing young women about how they should behave and how their friends should behave lest they get raped.
    Anyway I’m saying no more about this, because quite frankly it’s like beating your head against a wall.

  • Glenn

    On so many levels that is so far off the mark.

    “In Rotherham and elsewhere crimes against actual children were ignored because the victims were seen has having made ‘poor lifestyle choices.’.”

    I don’t think a massive organised abuse of children with a systematic failure of all public services in the area is comparable to the difficulties in securing rape convictions. Frankly it cheapens your argument to try and leverage the Rotherham situation to support your argument.

    Rape convictions are difficult as often the dispute is the existence of consent in a situation where there is a shortage of evidence. That is not due to police failing to investigate, I would ask you to provide any occation where the situation you describe has occoured where in the case of a rape: “they tend to stop investigating properly and the victims just get more advise.”

    The normal response is to take statements, from both sides and look to see if there is sufficient in the accused attackers statements to progress. It is difficult and the chances of conviction are low if the alleged attacker claims there was consent. If you consider getting to the point of knowing what a defence’s position would be (‘it was all consensual’) and having the evidence that the court would rely on to be not “investigating properly” then what would you expect? Would you expect the Police and CPS to push every case through to trial and put the victim through the trauma even when there is barely any chance of a jury finding the case beyond reasonable doubt.

    These campaigns are not likely to be effective but your position is simply not credible, no one will think the police are blaming friends for rape taking place if they lose track of a friend on a night out, though the friends will undoubtedly feel guilt themselves when they see their friend suffer. A “watch out for your friends” message will have no effect on that reaction.

  • I can and do walk alone, even at night. I even live alone. I started walking alone when a young woman. I know there are threats and dangers but I’d rather face the risk than spend my life in a prison created by the fear of rapists. And the more people who walk alone – and watch out for others – the safer the streets will be.

    Yes, I have experienced some dangerous situations but none ever sapped my spirit as much as staying at home because I was afraid to go out. I understand why others make different decisions for themselves but no-one should tell me what decision to make. It’s my life, my risk – and those are public areas where I choose to walk.

  • Paul Walter Paul Walter 8th Apr '15 - 5:18pm
  • A public campaign by the body charged with bringing rapists to justice is not analogous to having a chat about safety with your friend or daughter. There has been a culture of victim blaming and the police have failed rape victims in the past. Given that context the police need to be very careful about the messages they send out. I agree with Caron and all those who have said that these campaigns should be focussing on challenging men’s behaviour.

  • @Paul Walter
    Re. the Mail article, I’ve rarely seen a Comments section so unanimous. Virtually everybody thinks the poster is sensible advice of the kind any responsible parent would give their children.

    Many posters here seem not to realise that crime prevention is an important function of the police and has been since the days of Robert Peel. I remember being taught this in primary school over 30 years ago and a little research has just confirmed that my memory is not failing me!

  • I agree with Caron and all those who have said that these campaigns should be focussing on challenging men’s behaviour

    The problem is that the people whose behaviour you want to change are rapists. By definition they are criminals, not sensible law-abiding people like us.

    So why would they listen when you try to tell them not to rape? Burglars don’t listen when you tell them not to burgle. Muggers don’t listen when you tell them not to mug.

    There are only three ways to stop criminals from committing criminal acts:

    1. Put them somewhere where they physically can’t hurt the general public (ie, in prison, where the only people they can commit criminal acts against are other criminals).
    2. Make it more difficult for them to do so (lock your doors to stop burglars, put immobilisers in your cars to stop car thieves, etc).
    3. Increase their fear of the consequences (by increasing the chance of catching them, or the consequences if they are caught, or both).

    Now, you can claim that there’s too much of 2. going on here and not enough of 3. and I might agree with you: I don’t think that it’s wrong for the police to remind people to lock their doors but I would rather object if they stopped investigating burglaries and just handed out locksmiths’ cards instead.

    But please, don’t say that the answer is ‘challenging men’s behaviour’. You can’t ‘challenge’ a rapist out of raping. By definition, if he has the mens rea to rape then he is so far outside decent civilised behaviour that he’s not going to go ‘Oh you know I’d never considered maybe women are people and I shouldn’t rape them.’

    You either make it impossible for him to do so, stay out of his way, or make him afraid to rape because he thinks that if he does, he will be caught and severely punished.

    I hope the police are working on making sure rapists think that if they rape they will be caught and punished, but while they do — and given that even that doesn’t seem to stop all criminals, or there would be no murders, given most murderers are eventually caught and severely punished — it’s a good idea to try to keep safe as well.

  • @AndrewR
    “I agree with Caron and all those who have said that these campaigns should be focussing on challenging men’s behaviour.”

    I’d want any campaign to do both. Though not on the same tweet, obviously. Caron is judging an entire campaign on one tweet.

    So yes, I want men’s behaviour to be challenged – but since I don’t expect a poster campaign to stop all men having the capacity to be rapists, I also want my daughter to receive good advice that will help her keep safe from the ones who aren’t so receptive. It is possible to do both. You can’t say Sussex police don’t do both, just on the basis of one tweet.

  • PSI,
    bUt it isn’t just Rotherham is it. Rochdale, Greater Manchester Oxford, etc all had similar scandals where the victims were not taken seriously by the police. In truth systematic failures are all too common. I think this has a lot to do with attitudes to sexual offences and a culture apportioning a certain amount of the blame to the victims.
    Stuart,
    The Daily Mail comments section is pretty much unanimous on everything, especially if it involves the behaviour of young women, the EU, Ethnic minorities or whatever. In fact the unanimous agreement on Daily Mail comments section is usually a bench mark of what constitutes illiberal reactionary nonsense.

  • @Dav, I think there may be some confusion. Jenny raise the statistic. I was stating what you said that it was a poor use of that statistic. However, due to problems with my English, it was also me who made the misstatement.

    I fundamentally agree with you.

  • Philip Thomas 8th Apr '15 - 10:10pm

    @expats Not all men are rapists. I do not know any male rapists. Some men are rape victims. I do know some male rape victims, which is perhaps why, when I see a campaign about rape victims, I wonder why it excludes men…and I think it is an insult to male rape victims to equate all men with rapists in the way your comment about burglars implies.

  • I’d echo what Philip has just said, and take that in two directions:
    1) recognise that we have the potential to act abusively, and can chose not to… which boils down to “No consent, no excuse, no exceptions.”
    2) recognise that being on the receiving end of rape/sexual abuse/sexual assault is extremely damaging — it may be hard for someone who has not been there to realise quite *how* destructive it is, which means victims needs support, whether or not a conviction comes about.

    In brackets, I link this to the LibDem policy of championing mental health: a sexual assault/rape is a serious psychiatric injury with long term mental health implications. It is stigmatised doubly because of stigma around rape and stigma around mental illness. Hopefully trying to ease the stigma on mental illness will help.

  • Tsar Nicholas 9th Apr '15 - 2:01am

    Russia Today appears to agree with Caron.

    http://rt.com/uk/247901-sussex-police-rape-poster/

  • Philip Thomas 8th Apr ’15 – 10:10pm …[email protected] Not all men are rapists. I do not know any male rapists. Some men are rape victims. I do know some male rape victims, which is perhaps why, when I see a campaign about rape victims, I wonder why it excludes men…and I think it is an insult to male rape victims to equate all men with rapists in the way your comment about burglars implies……

    I did not mean to insult male rape victims; quite the opposite….In fact, having re-read my post I don’t believe I have..
    I wrote that, although drunken men are at risk from assault they are not at high risk of rape……

    .Caron’s insistence that anti-rape campaigns should only be targeted at men is the focus of my post……I know no rapists (at least I hope I don’t) and my point was that ,as with my parents warning of “Don’t accept sweets or lifts from strangers”, believing that every stranger is a friend can lead to trouble……£ out of 4 rapes involve alcohol and, as with all opportunist crimes, rapists prey on the careless and the foolish….

  • @Dav, I think there may be some confusion. Jenny raise the statistic. I was stating what you said that it was a poor use of that statistic

    Oh, then I misread. My apologies. I should keep better track of who wrote what.

  • expats.
    I don’t even no where to begin with your post.
    Most rapes are in premeditated all rapes involving more than one perpetrator are premeditated. They in other words are not opportunist crimes.
    Most rapes, around 90%, are committed by people well known to the victim, often ex partners, friends, work colleagues etc.
    “never accept /sweets. lifts from a stranger”., Well again most cases of child abuse/abduction are in fact committed by family friends. family members and neighbours as well as people in positions of trust where as the few that aren’t tend to use rapid forces such as grabbing/snatching, So the problem isn’t so much “lifts from strangers” as it is ” your mum/dad asked me to take you home” This is before you get to the insulting idea that stern warning given to small children by their parents is really in any way applicable to fully grown adult women.
    “rapist prey on the careless and foolish……”! Hang your head in shame. Every single victim blaming and damaging attitude to sex offences is encapsulated in this glib parting shot that seems aimed at getting a rise out of people.

  • Glenn 9th Apr ’15 – 11:49am ……..xpats. I don’t even no where to begin with your post.
    Most rapes are in premeditated all rapes involving more than one perpetrator are premeditated. They in other words are not opportunist crimes…………

    Please may I see your source…..

    Most rapes, around 90%, are committed by people well known to the victim, often ex partners, friends, work colleagues etc. .“never accept /sweets. lifts from a stranger”., Well again most cases of child abuse/abduction are in fact committed by family friends. family members and neighbours as well as people in positions of trust where as the few that aren’t tend to use rapid forces such as grabbing/snatching, So the problem isn’t so much “lifts from strangers” as it is ” your mum/dad asked me to take you home” This is before you get to the insulting idea that stern warning given to small children by their parents is really in any way applicable to fully grown adult women…………………..

    I accept that. As I’ve already written no-one/where is 100% safe…… However, this thread is about the police warning about ‘excessive drinking and strangers’. If you believe that getting ‘legless’ and going home with a complete stranger is not ‘careless and foolish’ please say so….

  • Expats.
    Look up rape myths on the Rape Crisis centre web pages or any study on the t subject.
    Excessive drinking is a bad idea on health grounds and their are almost daily warnings about the dangers involved. . As most rapes in fact don’t involve complete strangers the advice is misleading in the first place. The advice could equally be don’t go home with a work colleague, your ex, an acquaintance or any member of the opposite sex known to you or even of the same sex in some cases. The point is that it perpetuates myths and paranoia without offering particularly useful preventative advice as 90% of offences are perpetuated to people known to the victim. It assumes that stranger rape is the norm and that when it occurs it is in some way the result of the behaviour of the victim. But stranger rapes have involved Taxi drivers, medical workers in hospitals, random people who perpetuated violent assaults or grabbed victims as they walked home, break ins, people gaining access to the victims homes under false pretences and in one or two cases even police officers. So it takes the smallest percentage of rapes and then further divides it to basically tell women how to behave in public.

  • Glen, Do you accept the premise that 3 out of 4 rapes involve alcohol?

  • Expats

    How many adult human interactions involve alcohol? Booze is something of a cop out argument. People drink when they go out and a lot of the time when they stay in for that matter. Correlation is not proof of causation.

  • Glenn 9th Apr ’15 – 2:55pm…

    Having sidestepped my question, let me ask you again… Do you believe that getting ‘legless’ and going home with a complete stranger is not ‘careless and foolish’ ?

  • @Paul Walter
    Your Daily Mail link now leads to a completely different article which comprehensively rubbishes the criticisms of the poster.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3030062/Fury-police-anti-rape-poster-blames-women-allowing-friends-attacked.html

  • Just showed my wife the controversial poster, to check it’s not me who’s completely out of touch. After five minutes of trying to explain to her why some people don’t like it, she pulled a face as if I were talking Chinese. Her conclusion: “It doesn’t matter whose fault it is, you still have to look after yourself – that’s just commonsense.”

    She then recalled an incident (long forgotten by me) soon after we’d met, when we’d been out for a drink one night in Manchester city centre, and I supposedly said goodbye to her and suggested a route that she could walk to the bus station. It wasn’t a route she liked the look of. “I couldn’t believe it,” she said, “I thought you didn’t like me! You certainly wasn’t thinking like a woman that night.”

  • no getting legless and going home with complete strangers is not a good idea. Getting legless is not a good idea. But as I said most rapes are not committed by complete strangers and hooking up with a complete strangers doesn’t automatically lead to rape either. Have you ever actually been out and met groups of the opposite sex who were on the pull?
    And it isn’t even that simple. When I was a youngster and in bands, I often crashed on floors of people I met at gigs or from other bands we just played with and had people round who I barely knew because we got talking and we were having a good time. If they got a bit drunk or stoned, male or female I would ask them if they wanted me to order them taxi or find some spare bed covers and let them sleep it off. I don’t know where people get this idea that predatory behaviour is in any shape or form the norm.

  • Ruth Bright 9th Apr '15 - 9:15pm

    Anne obviously state advice and familial advice are a different matter. I will go no further than that since (unlike you) I would prefer to keep a real person who is under 16 out of this.

  • Glenn 9th Apr ’15 – 7:22pm ….Having grown up in the 1960s I’ve spent many a night in strange beds, floors, under piers and bridges….However, as lone stranger, I have been beaten up twice (once badly) by casual ‘friends’ whose moods changed with the alcohol…. Had I been a lone girl that may well have meant rape….

    I won’t post again, having said what I meant to say. but there is a lot to be said for ‘taking personal responsibility for your actions’…..Wrapping yourself in a Union flag and marching down the Falls road, at midnight, singing “The sash my father wore” might not be illegal, but I’ve a feeling Belfast police might class the result as “Suicide”….

  • Expats,
    I grew up in the 90s. Contrary to popular oppion. I think young people are a lot better behaved. By the way I wasn’t recommending it as a good thing., but I can’t say anything worse than a messy bathroom ever happened. I suppose it’s indie rock v the counter culture. Either way, it doesn’t alter the fact that stranger rape is much much less common than acquaintance rape. So to me it’s the wrong warning about the wrong thing. And lets be a bit more honest. When young people go off with a stranger on a night out it’s usually because they kind of fancy each other, where as the bloke you know from the office or the male friend of a friend in your group who promises to look after you is statistically much more likely to be the rapist. If you look at the stories they are full of ” well we were all drinking and I went home with …………. and “I said no” and the defence is virtually always that the victim knew her attacker and he is of good character and the sex was consensual,. I think the conviction rate is low because the behaviour of the victim is put under scrutiny and too many people go “ooh, poor thing, he’s obviously fancied her for ages and she was leading him on”. Where as ” I met this hot bloke at so and so and we got off with each other and I’m seeing him on Thursday” is not actually rape. That in a nutshell is my problem with this campaign. It concentrates on the deportment of young ladies rather addressing the real problem. In other words it adds to rape myths by suggesting that the problem is girls/women being irresponsible rather than some males being really really creepy.

  • PS
    I was trying to make the point that when the rapist is known to the victim defence teams exploit the link to create blurred lines where there are none and actually this is a bigger problem than young people hooking up in nightclubs or whatever. Attitudes to sex offences are invariably tainted by wider attitudes to sex and particularly towards female sexuality. So western jurors obsess and are encouraged to ruminate on whether or not consent was given or mixed signals were sent out and in other cultures it is about unaccompanied females. Personally. I tend to think if someone feels raped then they’ve been raped and the onus should be on the accused to prove otherwise rather than on the victim who has been brave enough to seek help and justice.. In other words I think all this mixed signals stuff is fundamentally baloney and needs to be treated as such.

  • Much of life is about risk. Paddy Mayne the great SAS Officer and rugby player used to do down to the docks and pick fights with the docker during the Lions tour of South Africa. Mayne was exceptionally tough even by international rugby standards. Would I recommend this action for 99.5% of men , no . As Bonnington said ” Climbing mountains is not dangerous, climbing them frequently is. ” There is also a saying ” One can be bold climber or an old climber , not both”. In life it is wise to assess one’s vulnerability then take measure to reduce . For people going out drinking I would suggest be ware of date rape drugs- do not allow one’s drink to be unguarded; be aware of confronting people who are on drugs and alcohol as their behaviour can be erratic and prone to violence; learn how to be aware how actions and words can lead to confrontation and learn how to diffuse confrontations, learn self defence , be aware of people who befriend you- especially invitations to parties away from the club, watch each other’s back and be prepared to run.

    This advice I would give everybody, male or female , young or old. The problem is that many middle and upper middle class children have been brought up in a safe world by parents who have not experienced violence. For many middle and upper c lass children , the last time any members of the family came across violent and nasty people was when their grandparents fought in WW2. Those grandparents who fought the SS, enountered ,concentration camp guards saw the concentrations camps and endured Japanese PoW Camps, saw evil.

    If there were not nasty people in this World we would not have the need for the Police and prisons.

  • Charlie 11th Apr ’15 – 1:36pm
    “. Paddy Mayne the great SAS Officer and rugby player used to do down to the docks and pick fights …”

    You seem to be describing a violent psychopath, not a “great” officer.

    You do not say what happened to him next. Hopefully he was arrested, put on trial and locked up in prison.

    Or were you suggesting that it was “jolly good sport” for him to turn up at someone’s place of work and “pick a fight”?

  • John Tilley
    Docks are rough places and men taking part in voluntary sporting fights between themselves used to be common. In fact dock pubs were often very safe places for bar girls as no swearing or any sexual advances from men were allowed by those who drank in them. My experience of working with very tough men is that they often have a highly developed sense of chivalry towards ladies. In fact, I have been told by women secretaries that they preferred working on construction sites because they received far less less sexual advances than in offices. Paddy Mayne took over the SAS after Stirling was captured and was instrumental in that unit destroying hundreds of German planes and was awarded the DSO four times and many believed on the last time it should have been the VC. Several senior officers recommended Mayne for the VC but it was never awarded. You may not consider Mayne a great officer but I doubt many in the SAS agree.

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