Rape victim says judge was right to warn women over drinking
A rape victim has defended comments made by the female judge presiding over her case that drunk women are putting themselves in danger.
Megan Clark, 19, was attacked by a man she met in a fast food restaurant after drinking beer and vodka during a night out in Manchester.
Following the trial at Manchester Crown Court, Judge Lindsey Kushner said women should be aware that potential attackers "gravitate towards girls who have been drinking".
Waiving her right to anonymity, Ms Clark told the BBC that she took the judge's comments in a "positive way" and she did not believe she was "victim-blaming".
"She was right in what she said," Ms Clark added.
Judge Kushner's comments - at the end of her final trial before retiring - prompted a storm of criticism from campaigners and charities.
She was accused of "victim-blaming" by Northumbria police and crime commissioner Dame Vera Baird, who said her comments would deter victims from coming forward.
When a fellow judge then spoke out in defence of his judicial colleague, Alison Saunders, the Director of Public Prosecutions, responded that it was "always disappointing to hear views expressed that lean in favour of the 'victim-blaming' culture that allowed sexual predators to offend with assumed impunity in days gone by".
Ms Clark told the BBC that she had initially blamed herself, but has since changed her view.
She said: "I (now) know it wasn't my fault. It's never the victim's fault - they aren't the problem, regardless of what I was doing.
"I felt I put myself in that situation. I need to be more careful."
Ricardo Rodrigues-Fortes-Gomes, 19, was found guilty of two counts of rape over the July 2016 attack and jailed for six years earlier this month.
Judge Kushner said that she felt compelled to speak out, telling the sentencing hearing: "I beg girls and women to have this in mind."
She said: "Girls are perfectly entitled to drink themselves into the ground but should be aware people who are potential defendants to rape gravitate towards girls who have been drinking.
"It shouldn't be like that but it does happen and we see it time and time again."
Ms Clark was speaking on the Victoria Derbyshire programme.