Over a Third of Britons Think Female Rape Victims to Blame

Bar of drinks
A bartender walks next to liquor bottles in a bar in central Sydney May 11, 2009. A survey reveals that over 30 percent of Britons think a woman is to blame for being sexually assaulted if she is drunk and wearing a short skirt. Daniel Munoz /Reuters

The blame culture attached to female rape victims is “commonplace” in the U.K., according to a report that reveals over a third of Britons think a woman is at fault if she is sexually assaulted while wearing a short skirt.

The Fawcett Society, a U.K. gender equality charity, published analysis they describe as “disturbing,” which reveals “high levels of hostility towards women” and “widespread misogyny.”

In a survey, undertaken between November and December 2015, the charity asked just over 8,000 people: “If a woman goes out late at night, wearing a short skirt, gets drunk and is then the victim of a sexual assault, is she totally or partly to blame?”

Analysis revealed that 38 percent of all men and 34 percent of all women said that in that scenario, the woman is “totally or partly to blame.”

Of men between the ages of 18 and 34, 41 percent said she was totally or partly to blame, and 30 percent of women the same age agreed. Of men aged between 18 and 34, 14 percent said she was totally to blame.

Women aged over 65 were more likely to blame the female victim, with 55 percent saying she is totally (5 percent) or partly (50 percent) to blame compared to 48 percent of men the same age.

The findings are published in the Fawcett Society’s report, Sounds Familiar, released one day before the London Women’s March, organized to coincide with marches in the U.S. happening the day after the inauguration of the new president, Donald Trump.

“I can think of no other crime where we are so ready to blame the victim but here women are being held responsible for the behavior of their attacker,” Fawcett Society chief executive, Sam Smethers, said. “It is quite extraordinary and reveals just how deep-seated our readiness to blame women runs within our culture.

“This resonated with the young women we spoke to who told us about the lad culture they experience on a daily basis and the way they have to manage the situation if they are approached in a bar for example. Just saying the word ‘no’ can escalate to violence.”