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Last Updated: Friday, 17 September, 2004, 10:23 GMT 11:23 UK
Binge drinking link to rapes rise
Police are warning women to drink sensibly
A police chief is warning women about the dangers of binge drinking and potential sex attacks.

Lothian and Borders chief constable Paddy Tomkins said excessive drinking was a contributing factor to a rise in attacks in the Edinburgh area.

The force has reported a 14% increase in rapes and serious sexual assaults during the year up to August.

Mr Tomkins said while victims were not to blame for the attacks, responsible drinking could improve safety.

However, one woman who said she was raped nine years ago believes the police are sending out the wrong message.

Mr Tomkins said there was concern over the amount of alcohol women were drinking and the increase in alleged sex attacks.

I'm raising awareness and asking people to keep themselves safe
Paddy Tomkins
Lothian and Borders chief constable
"Not just moderate, social drinking, but by women who can't remember events at all," he said.

"I'm not suggesting this diminishes the degree of guilt on the part of an assailant and no-one deserves to be a victim of crime, irrespective of the condition they are in.

"We should all take prudent measures to safeguard ourselves.

"I'm raising awareness and asking people to keep themselves safe. We want people to enjoy themselves in a safe way."

One woman who asked to be referred to as Angie, said she was raped nine years ago after she had been out drinking.

'Get drunk'

But she said drinking alcohol did not make her feel more vulnerable when she was out socialising.

"It hasn't put me off, it's been nine years and I still go out with friends and get drunk," she said.

"It won't stop me from going out, being chatted up or meeting male friends."

Angie said she doubted the merits of the police's latest awareness drive.

Any woman who goes out to enjoy themselves does not expect to be attacked at the end of the evening
"A couple of years ago it was the belief that women were dressing too provocatively and were asking for it," she said.

"Now it seems to be binge drinking, if you get drunk and you're vulnerable then you're asking for it."

She said it was "ludicrous" for police to try to dictate what women could and could not do.

"Any woman who goes out to enjoy themselves does not expect to be attacked at the end of the evening.

"I think men have to take part of the responsibility here as well.

"Are we reverting back to the days of women just staying at home?"

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