UK Criminal Compensation Authority Blaming Rape Victims

Under guidelines meant to minimise compensation payouts for people who “contribute to their own ordeal during a criminal incident”, such as people taking part in the crime, or offering provocation for an attack, certain bureaucrats decided that women being out in the world socialising in a perfectly legal fashion were liable for provoking their own rapes, and cut their compensation payouts accordingly. Public outcry has meant that the decision has been reversed, but how could they have been so wrong headed in the first place?

It could be something to do with the way that the media reports rape, of course. Melissa reports [trigger warnings], and then responds to a typical Daily Mail women-blaming op-ed (the pictorial juxtaposition has to be seen to be believed):

The piece itself is just unrelentingly infuriating, as its male author offers up gems like: “Many women insist they have the right to wear and do whatever they like,” as if it’s the height of absurdity, despite the fact that most men not only insist the same but take that right for granted.

And, forgive me for being Ms. Fucking Obvious 2008 here, but when two people leave a pub or a party or some other venue where there’s been alcohol, and one rapes the other, what are the odds that the rapist is alcohol-free? When in blue hell do you think any of the assholes who go on about how women shouldn’t drink because they might get raped might notice the gobsmacking inconsistency of routinely failing to acknowledge that alcohol might be lowering the inhibitions of the men who rape? Oh, right—that will never happen, because that would require suggesting that men not drink, and it’s only reasonable to request that of women.

There it is, the fundamental double standard that underpins the rape culture: it’s totally unreasonable to ask men to modify their behaviour to avoid lowering their inhibitions against attacking women, but it’s totally reasonable to ask women to limit their work and leisure options because of the threat of rape.

At least there doesn’t appear to be quite as much emphasis on the over-hyped stranger-rape in this article, as everybody should know by now that acquaintance/date rape is by far the most common category. There’s still a lot of implicit and explicit slut-shaming though, because the women who are the focus of the Mail article are out meeting people in pubs and leaving with them, the assumption being that this means the women were obviously signalling an immediate availability for sex.

Hands up everyone here who’s left a pub/club with a bloke just to continue chatting with them while waiting to catch a taxi, a taxi that you didn’t intend for that bloke to share, let alone for the two of you to end up in the same bed? In fact, didn’t that used to be seen as a basic courtesy for a man to offer a woman, waiting at the taxi rank until she got a cab, with no special expectation of anything else? When did simply leaving together become accepted as an unmistakable signal that the woman is “up for it”? Or, as I suspect, are these opinionators simply full of shit?

Categories: ethics & philosophy, gender & feminism, law & order, media, violence

Tags: , , ,

11 replies

  1. You know, I can’t think why that has never occurred to me before. Of course men should stop drinking if they don’t want to be ‘at risk’ of committing a crime. We all know the dangers of drinking and then acting upon our amygdala based impulses.
    We need a patronising public awareness campaign 🙂

  2. Thanks for writing about this Tigtog -I saw the tiny article buried in the AGE, my eyes popped out on stalks, but didn’t get around to it quickly enough. I’m VERY glad the UK people jumped onto it.

  3. Thank you, as always, for the link, Tigtog. And great post. 🙂

  4. Seriously, if women don’t want to get raped then they need to take responsibility for themselves and not live in Great Britain.
    Might I suggest The Sahara, for instance?

  5. It seems pretty obvious to me – I mean, I’ve managed to avoid getting raped for most of my life. Admittedly, I don’t like pubs, clubs, drinking, getting drunk, meeting new people, exposing myself to large amounts of noise, or anything which involves possible social embarrassment. This means I spend most of my time inside the house, either reading, playing games, browsing the internet, or a combination of the above. I’m also short, fat, and have an inferiority complex the size of the greater Perth metro area about the way I look and how likeable I am.
    I’ve avoided getting raped by not being where a rapist was, same as most inhabitants of nunneries.
    Meg Thorntons last blog post..Sometimes these things shouldn’t be resisted…

  6. I’ve avoided getting raped by not being where a rapist was, same as most inhabitants of nunneries.

    Nuns were notoriously targeted for mass rapes in many invasions over the centuries – it was part of sending a very clear message to the Powers That Be in an invaded country that they couldn’t even protect their sacrosanct virgins, which also caused widespread shame and loss of morale.
    In the less charged circumstances of normal social interactions, those men who are likely to rape are unfortunately not obviously distinguishable from men who won’t – no red R on their forehead, no smouldering horns etc. It’s simply not that easy to avoid rapists simply by avoiding socialising. Even a woman who avoids social situations that include many people consuming alcohol could inadvertently be isolated by a rapist who had been legitimately invited into one’s own home or workplace.

  7. And is it not the case in England as it is in most places that the vast amount of rapes are perpetrated by relatives, partners and friends? There was that scary report here not too long ago showing that about 25% of women had experienced partner rape, even if not all realised it. I can’t think of anything else to say, except that compulsory lesbianism would solve a lot of problems, including increasing my chances of a Saturday night…

  8. More from the UK in today’s Guardian– I’m sure it comes as no surprise to any of us here, but apparently police detectives in the UK are increasingly dropping rape cases on the basis if the woman had consumed alcohol before the rape occured, resulting in a reduction of rape charges being brought against perpetrators.

  9. No surprise, no, but still a huge disappointment. *no more words*


  1. Victims Do Not “Contribute” To Their Own Rapes : The Curvature
  2. A collection of ranting points on rape culture, language and society « Fuck Politeness
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