Page last updated at 14:30 GMT, Monday, 15 February 2010

Rape victims respond to survey on 'blame' for rape

Rape victim in specialist clinic (posed by model)
The survey found there was some reluctance to report being raped

Rape victims, their friends and families have been giving their reaction to a survey which asked who is to 'blame' for rape.

The majority of women surveyed believed that some rape victims should take responsibility for what happened to them. Below is some reaction to our report.

Your comments and experiences:

I am so angry to read that any woman could say that another woman was to blame for being raped. These comments are obviously made by women who have not been raped themselves, I'm sure that if they had, they may be a bit more sympathetic. I have been raped myself and yes, a little bit of me does blame myself but I know I did not deserve it. I was drunk but I kept saying no. When somebody says no it means no.
K, London

More than 30 years ago I was raped while I was working as an au pair in Paris. When I tried to get help the attitude was that I had brought it upon myself. I was more shocked by the attitude of those around me at the time than what had actually happened to me. I didn't report it, because of that.
S, The Netherlands

Like a lot of people, I used to think that rape was always about being attacked by a stranger. When I was in a long-term relationship in my early 20s, I did experience rape. We'd been having sex for almost two years, and then a couple of times I found myself having sex against my will. Because I was young, in a relationship with him, and because he didn't acknowledge that something really wrong had happened, I just blamed myself and stayed with him. But if you're saying no and crying, and he has his hand over your mouth while you cry, it's really not consensual, is it? Even if you love him, have had sex with him, are sleeping in the same bed as him and stay there afterwards, it can't be right. He hadn't beaten me or shouted at me; he had just put his hand over my mouth while he did what he wanted to do, and clearly thought it was alright - he even cuddled into me and fell asleep afterwards, even though I was silently sobbing. We split up months later, and I was broken-hearted because I believed the myth that you have one true love. It was only several years later that I accepted that I hadn't deserved what had happened, that it wasn't right, and that it was actually rape. What should I have done? Who should I have told? Who would have believed me? He wasn't some evil stranger attacking me on the street, he was a young, insecure man I was in love with. It wasn't simple, and I don't think it is in most cases.
Don't want to share

Years ago I went back with a guy I met and he sort of forced me into having sex before I could do anything about it. But as I went back to his place willingly I put it down as my fault and not his. He could have been more thoughtful about his actions, but at the end of the day if I was daft enough to go back to his place then I should not be surprised at what happens. At the end of the day, you don't go back with someone if you don't want anything to happen, so don't cry rape when it does. You have to take responsibility for what happens to you, you don't go home to tease someone or flirt with them and then say no. That is pathetic and wrong. As far as I am concerned rape only happens if you are taken by force and raped against your will, not if you go willingly with someone, even if they only say for coffee, like happened to me.
Mike, Berkshire

Sadly, the main reason my marriage ended was because my then wife couldn't take any responsibility for her attack. Rape is wrong. But if a woman on medication for bi-polar disorder that specifically says not to drink alcohol, decides to go out on her own and drink herself into a stupor, cavort with various men in a sexual manner and agree to leave a nightclub with a man, then gets attacked, some blame must surely be attributed to her as she ultimately put herself at risk. She did not deserve to get raped, and I firmly believe that her attacker did not set out that night to rape anybody, however, when vulnerable people put themselves at risk and alcohol is involved, then to my mind the blame has to be shared. In a perfect world, people could walk home at night, go out and have fun, but this isn't a perfect world and sadly there are people out there, given the right circumstance, that will take advantage of people who put themselves at risk.
Rich, UK

I was raped in 2007 and the main thing I was scared of was not being believed. There are so many women who 'cry wolf' and this just makes it harder for the women it has happened to. To remark that "it is some women's fault" is appalling. Why should a man think they can 'take' what they want. The majority people who say women should take responsibility for their actions clearly have no idea of what it is like to be subjected to rape. I suggest that they try to put themselves in the minds of the women this happens to before throwing judgment around.
B, Leicester

I am afraid that I am one of those women, who thinks that in a dating situation, the woman's messages and actions may be a part of the problem. If it is rape, it is predatory, where the accused is not in a relationship with the victim and the dynamics are much clearer. In my opinion, both as a victim of a successfully prosecuted stranger sexual assault, and speaking from a 10 year career as a police-based crisis counsellor, stranger rape and relationship rape should be two separate offences. They should have different evidence and prosecution guidelines. Only then are you likely to gain more successful case outcomes.
P, Wirral

I agree to a certain extent about taking responsibility for your own actions, but it is seemingly worrying to me that rape, or attempted rape, is not taken as seriously as it should be. As a victim myself, female friends told me not to get too upset because it happens to most women, but it was my male friends who saw me through the police investigation. I was made to feel like I somehow let this happen. Quite frankly, it is unacceptable in any situation and we should not be made to feel like somehow we asked for it.
L, Leeds

I was told by a leading London psychiatrist when seeing him for the first and only time for depression, that I should be flattered to have been raped. No wonder that women are so deeply affected by rape and fall silent sometimes for years when those within the profession who are trying to help women with post traumatic stress disorder hold views like this.
Anonymous, London

I was raped by my husband as he became increasingly possessive and violent. How can you blame a woman who has gotten into bed with the person beforehand? Where there is violent, intimidation, where you feel obliged to get into bed with the person just to quell their temper like I did. I never went to the police because I am glad to have escaped my husband. Now, I want to forget it.
Anonymous, Bristol

I have a close friend who was raped by a stranger while on her way home. I was shocked at the number of our friends (smart and educated) who said that "she shouldn't have taken that path home". Apportioning blame to the survivor of rape is part of the reason so many go unreported (along with the ridiculously low conviction rate). This is a damaging and antiquated view.
J, London

My ex-boyfriend tried to rape me. I had got into bed with him at the end of night, I told him I didn't want sex (or anything) and if we were going to become an item again then I wanted to take things slow. He tried to force himself on me and I was screaming and fighting him when my housemates came in and pulled him off of me. I may have been naïve but I was not responsible for his inability to control himself.
K, London

A friend was raped by her cousin when she was nine. She was babysitting. She told me when I was the same age and I had a secret too. She never told her mother, or anybody else despite the fact that her periods arrived, at nine years old. Very early. Now 60, she has never had a child. She has never worked. Many, many women have a history like this that is too painful to tell. People need to be made aware of the dreadful effects of this crime, second only to murder. Articles like this just make you unable to tell anyone at all, so you're left unable to recover and become a useful, adjusted member of society.
C, France



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