One in Four Young People Believe Rape Victims Are to Blame If They Dress like This; New Research Has Lifted the Lid on Young Scots' Attitudes towards Violence against Women - and the Results Are Shocking. the Report Now Calls on Parents to Address Sexual Inequality in a Bid to Change Opinions

Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland), August 14, 2013 | Go to article overview

One in Four Young People Believe Rape Victims Are to Blame If They Dress like This; New Research Has Lifted the Lid on Young Scots' Attitudes towards Violence against Women - and the Results Are Shocking. the Report Now Calls on Parents to Address Sexual Inequality in a Bid to Change Opinions


Byline: Annie Brown

A QUARTER of young people in Scotland believe that a rape victim is partly to blame if she was attacked when she was drunk or dressed "provocatively".

The shocking attitude was revealed among 16 to 24-year-olds in a new survey of our nation's view of violence against women.

One-sixth of all respondents believed that rapists are men who can't control their sexual urges and a third think it's a woman's responsibilty to walk out if she is the victim of domestic violence.

Callum Hendry, campaign co-ordinator of White Ribbon Scotland, said the survey results showed drastic action was needed to address ignorant attitudes in Scotland.

He said: "The fact that almost one in four young people believe that a woman can be held responsible for being raped because of her clothing or for being drunk is a huge concern.

"We need to continue to deliver education messages that change this attitude.

"This type of victim blaming prevents women from coming forward for support. We just cannot allow that to continue - it is a disservice to all women."

The research exposes dangerous myths that exist around the issue of violence against women, which was apparent in all age groups but particularly in youngsters.

Ten per cent of those quizzed thought that rapes were carried out by a stranger to the victim, while in reality that happens in only eight per cent of cases.

This misinformed view doubled in the 16 to 24 age group.

The survey was designed as a snapshot of attitudes in Scotland, using just less than 2000 people from every local authority.

It is seven years since a similar analysis was conducted north of the border.

The research involved focus groups in Falkirk, Inverclyde and Edinburgh, two of which were with men under the age of 25 and two were conducted with men over 25.

White Ribbon was set up in 2010 to involve men in ending violence against women through education and campaigning.

In the focus groups it found, there was a consensus that "others" raped, not "normal" people and that they had to be "sick".

The report said: "The idea that it is something abnormal or 'sick' can lead people to believe that those around them are incapable of being violent towards women.

"This belief can easily lead to absolving rapists of responsibilty unless they fit a violent or 'sick' stereotype, which, as we know, is not the case.

"Such attitudes create an environment in which victims may feel less able to come forward for support as they feel they will not be believed or receive the justice they deserve."

A commonly held myth was that men raped because they couldn't control their sexual urges.

The report said: "Believing men are unable to control themselves against subconscious sexual urges implies that they are not entirely accountable for their actions but rather are victims themselves to their needs." The truth is that rape is often about power and control over a victim and not about sexual urges.

Much of White Ribbon Scotland's work exists to combat myths that can blame the victim rather than the perpetrator.

Some of the views in relation to domestic abuse were just as disturbing. A third believe it is a woman's responsibility to leave an abusive relationship.

The report said this underestimates the trauma, the fear, control and difficulties faced by women in abusive relationships, which create significant obstacles in attempts to escape abuse. …

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One in Four Young People Believe Rape Victims Are to Blame If They Dress like This; New Research Has Lifted the Lid on Young Scots' Attitudes towards Violence against Women - and the Results Are Shocking. the Report Now Calls on Parents to Address Sexual Inequality in a Bid to Change Opinions
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