Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Absurd rape comments add insult to injury

IN her suggestion that "women can take steps to reduce their risk [of rape]" (Write Back, June 19), Sue Alexander exhibits a classic example of victim-blaming that mustn't go unchallenged.

Discussing this particular crime, one must always be conscious of the possibility that the audience holds within it people who are victims of sexual assault and rape.

For this reason, it is inappropriate to re-traumatise victims by thoughtlessly adding to the pressure already upon them through careless use of language.

Society needs to look at the structural oppression women face in our male-dominated society.

Blaming the victim, or implying that they could have "done something" to prevent being sexually assaulted, is, frankly, absurd.

Women need to feel safe – regardless of what they wear, or have to drink. These are not reasons to blame the victim.

As a man, I know that I can go out for a few drinks without sexually assaulting someone. But, as a society, we need to recognise that rape is a global criminal phenomenon; it happens in countries where alcohol is forbidden and in places where women wear conservative clothing just as much as it happens here.

People are having their entire lives destroyed by sexual assault and the crime of rape and victims need to have proper acknowledgement, recognition and the full support of various welfare areas.

GARY SPEDDING

Alliance Youth campaigns officer

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