Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

I was nearly raped after a disco, but I really wasn’t asking for it

I’m still reeling from the staggering survey result that 46% of students here believe women who are raped are partially or wholly to blame for their ordeal.

I’m assuming most of the students who made this very depressing announcement are male. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

I narrowly missed becoming the victim of a group attack myself, many years ago. I was walking home with a female friend from a disco, both of us wearing full-length coats, as was the fashion of the time. We were not dressed provocatively or acting provocatively in any way whatsoever. A car full of drunken young men drove past, slowed down, reversed and began to shout the most obscene things at the pair of us. We were both terrified but made no reply. A few minutes later the car stopped and the occupants got out and came staggering towards us. At this point we fled into the garden of a nearby house and pretended we lived there, banging loudly on the door. The car sped off but stopped a little way up the road and waited: watching to see if we would be admitted to the house.

We felt we were being hunted down like animals. With nobody from the house coming to our aid and no handy mobile phone to call the police, we feared we were about to be seriously assaulted. Or worse. In the end we hid behind some shrubs and prayed for a miracle. The men came into the garden but they did not find us. They left, swearing loudly. A few minutes later we took our chances and fled home. After that I never went to another disco without booking a reliable taxi home first, and I always left the venue 30 minutes before the end of the night.

Would I have been to blame that night if I’d become a victim of rape? I don’t think so. And neither is any woman or girl. Everyone knows full well that a bit of tipsy flirting is not a guarantee of sex. Nor is a tight-fitting frock or a pair of high heels. If men cannot be blamed for finding such things irresistible then what is their excuse when they rape elderly women, or young children, or peasant women in dowdy rags or humble housewives in shabby tracksuits? I am appalled that anyone thinks it is a woman’s fault if she is raped.

Was it the fault of that poor woman from Lithuania who was abducted from a Northern Ireland pub, drugged and raped by an evil gang who fully intended to deliver her into a nightmare life of forced prostitution? Are the illegal brothels here running out of drug-addicts or something? I mean, if we women are just desperate for rough sex with strangers all the time, you’d think there would be no need to drug and rape new prostitutes to get them started in the sex industry.

I never, but never, thought I would agree with the extreme right on anything. But I’m beginning to think we should bring back hanging.

I’m sorry but I’m heartily terrified by the endless headlines about violent rape, child sex abuse, domestic violence, casual murder on our streets, the commonplace terrorising of our senior citizens and the modern scourge of drug-dealing. I’m sick of terrorists defending the slaughter of the innocents. I’m sick of women being treated as somehow culpable in their own rape.

Would any woman seriously want to be so badly hurt and degraded that she later commits suicide? I am disgusted by the results of this so-called survey.

The Permissive Society was never meant to be a promise of sex-on-demand for any boozed-up male on the prowl. It was never meant to be the end of dignity and respect for girls and women everywhere. It was simply meant to be the end of treating women as chattels, and thus allowing them to choose their own lovers and husbands. Instead of being kept under lock-and-key in their father’s house and then handed over to be married to the first decent suitor that came along. So now, at long last, I have something in common with George Dubya Bush: Yes, I do support the death penalty. And if any man or men were to brutally and deliberately hurt someone close to me, I’d have no trouble in pulling the lever myself.

Or whatever it is you have to do to hang a man these days. So there it is, guys. Are you shocked? Maybe you think any woman who is raped deserves everything she gets. But as far as I’m concerned, hanging is too good for the rapists. So there.

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