Saturday 21 January 2017

Some People Still Blame Sexual Assault On Short Skirts

Sexual Assault

Sexual assault victims are still being blamed by some sections of society for being attacked, a latest study suggests.

Figures released by the Fawcett Society show that 41% of men aged 18-24 say that a woman who is drunk and wearing a short skirt is "totally or partially to blame" if they are sexually assaulted.

Sam Smethers from the Fawcett Society says she's "shocked by the scale of the blame culture".

"Our blame culture is deeply embedded in our society," she says.

"That internalised misogyny that you see that women display against other women, that's really quite painful to see."

The Fawcett Society study suggests that 30% of women aged 18-34 would also "totally or partially to blame" a drunk woman wearing a short skirt if they were sexually assaulted.

Older women are even more likely to blame sexual assault victims.

Among over-65s, 55% of women would blame the victim, versus 48% of men, the study suggests.

Sam Smethers says that the minority of people who hold these views have "a drag effect on our society, [and] are holding us all back with their hostile, negative attitudes".

She adds that blame culture prevails because "it's what's been normalised in our culture: that women fundamentally are the ones responsible".

She says people have got to "understand that it's nothing to do with what the woman wears or how she behaves - it's all about what the perpetrator does".

Sam Smethers says people have to make their voices heard if they want attitudes to change, starting with the women's march in London on Saturday.

"Get involved, join the campaign, join an organisation, get involved in your university or school societies... get out there and start to make that change."

But she says the government can do more, too, such as "specific changes like statutory age-appropriate sex and relationships education in our schools".

She also says that recognising misogyny as a hate crime would help.

"It's important that we focus on the positives as well, particularly for younger women and younger men, where you're more likely to find people describing themselves as feminists and wanting to see equality."

Women have had many setbacks in the last 150 years of the fight for equality, says Sam, "but they've still come through, and we've fundamentally progressed".

"Fundamentally, there are more people who do want equality for the women in their lives, than there are those who don't."



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