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Myths and stereotypes

 

Myths and stereotypes are held widely in society about sexual violence and can result in women being wrongly blamed for what has happened to them.  Women who have experienced sexual violence may also blame themselves and feel that her behaviour may have influenced what happened to her.

 

Recent Amnesty research (2005) found that:

  • 34% of people thought that a woman was fully or partially responsible for being raped if she behaved in a ‘flirtatious’ manner
  • 30% of people thought that a woman was fully or partially responsible for being raped if she was drunk
  • 26% of people thought that a woman was fully or partially responsible for being raped if she was wearing ‘sexy or revealing’ clothing
  • 22% of people thought that a woman was fully or partially responsible for being raped if she has had many sexual partners.

 

Women are blamed particularly if they have been drinking before being raped, if they dress in a manner deemed to be ‘provocative’, or if they have engaged in some level of intimacy with their attacker before an assault.

Women who suffer rape in the context of a marriage or other intimate partnership are also seriously disadvantaged by public attitudes, which often support the view that by entering into this marriage or relationship, they have somehow given up their right to refuse consent to sex.

The myth persists that only rape by a stranger counts as ‘real rape’, in spite of the fact that the vast majority of attacks are carried out by someone known to the victim (often her husband or partner), and are every bit as damaging

 

Links

 

www.amnesty.org.uk

 

www.rapecrisis.org..uk

 

www.thisisnotaninvitationtorapeme.co.uk