THE BLOG

Victim Shaming and Alcohol Blaming: Rape Culture and Those who Should Know Better

02/08/2014 15:25 BST | Updated 01/10/2014 10:59 BST

Whichever way you look at it, there's no denying that there is a prevalent rape culture at work in our modern society. A culture that encourages situations in which sexual assault and violence has an opportunity to occur, and then can't quite handle it when a victim is brave enough to come forward or be at all open about what he or she has faced.

This 'don't ask, don't tell' attitude many of us have adopted has had a damaging effect on rape statistics, with 78,000 people raped each year in the UK and only 1,070 convicted of this crime.

My question to you is this: how is this okay?

Not only that, but how is it okay for the NHS to still be displaying 2005 posters suggesting that the main cause of rape is when a victim is drunk, hence suggesting that it is the victims fault for not knowing her limits and nothing to do with a conscious decision to commit sexual violence? Is it right that a 73 year old man felt it necessary to compare rape cases and decide which 'logically' is worse?

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Photo credit: Google Images

It's sickening to me that we live within a sphere of opinion such as this. Whichever way you look at it, rape is rape; and rape is wrong. Sure, maybe a percentage of victims are drunk when their attacker pins them down and forces them to do something they said no to. Maybe some girls do consent to going on dates, however expecting dinner and a movie does not at all compare to allowing someone to sexually assault or attack you. Here's a controversial thought: Rape happens when an attacker decides to commit it. One in three rape cases occur when the victim has been drinking, and three in three rapes occur when the rapists decide to defile the power of the word 'no'.

From very young we were all taught that 'no' means 'stop'. It means 'don't do it', 'I don't like it', 'this isn't right'. So why, now we are older, has the meaning of the word 'no' started to be interpreted differently? Started to somehow mean 'actually, I really mean yes, but I'll still scream and fight to get away, but carry on anyway it's fine'?

This is what victim shaming does: it removes the victim's right to refuse and it makes them think that they were the ones in the wrong. Is this how we want young girls to grow up feeling, that there is no weight to the word anymore?

One final question for you to consider: if you were a rape survivor, how would all of this make you feel? It's fine to disregard such an issue simply because it's not something you've ever been through or will truly understand; but it's an entirely different thing when you've survived having something irreplaceable taken from you, and then labelled a liar for talking about it.