Monday, July 23, 2007

Majority Of Rape Victims Stone Cold Sober

This headline: Four out of 10 rape victims intoxicated from the UK Telegraph misses the obvious fact that when it comes to alcohol and rape that abstaining from using alcohol is not a rape preventative. This headline seems to put the victim's intoxication into the realm of causation.

She's intoxicated therefore she's raped. Time and again people who claim to want to prevent rape tell girls and women not to get intoxicated. End of discussion. Start the applause machine.

The problem with this causation link is that it is faulty at best. There are rapists who will rape you when you are sober and there are rapists who will rape you when you are tipsy and there are rapists who will rape you when you are passed out drunk. There are rapists who will rape you only after they set up the situation to look like it could have been consensual. There are rapists who don't want to know your name or look at your face. There are rapists who will violently turn on their partners to end an argument.

Stranger rapists are, according to the UK Home Office study, the most likely of any rapist to target the intoxicated for their victims but these rapists only edge up to barely over a majority of their victims being intoxicated. 51% which is statistically equivalent to a coin flip. Overall, according to this report your risk of stranger rape in the UK is as great when you are stone cold sober.

Many who never drink or who love to scold women who do won't be happy getting this news.

A Daily Mail UK article includes this gem:

The findings are the latest evidence to suggest there could be a link between binge-drinking and claims of sexual assault.

It would be more factual to say, "The finding are the latest evidence to suggest there could be a link between soberness and claims of sexual assault."

But saying that is so obviously ridiculous that everyone would laugh at you. This statement from the Daily Mail if believed by investigating officers could lead investigators to false conclusions about rape reports where the victim admitted to having any alcohol in her system at the time of the rape.

What has been spun by those reading the Home Office report as alleged victims refusing to cooperate might in fact be non-cooperative investigators who push real rape victims away or who hurt them by making false claims against real rape victims. Since these investigators most likely assume they have done nothing wrong, it must be the alleged victim who is totally at fault. She's either weak or she's a liar or she's delusional.

No matter what conclusion these people come to, they are allowing the rapists to be a non-issue.

The causation of rape is the rapist's willingness to rape. Without that no amount of intoxication will lead to rape. The more people out there that are willing to rape, the more rapes there will be. If the public and the legal system blame certain rape victims such as the intoxicated and habitually let certain rapists go free such as those who rape the intoxicated, the smarter rapists will take notice. If the number of intoxicated victims goes up because of this, many people increase their victim blaming habits -- to the delight of rapists everywhere.

The bottom line is that rapists want to rape. Different rapists have different beliefs about who they can rape and how and when they can facilitate rape for various reasons. Many of these rapists' beliefs are linked to their definition of "real" rape. They can contort their thinking significantly to avoid applying the label of rapist to themselves.

To some it's not real rape if it happens in the midst of an argument or in an established relationship. To others it's not real rape if the victim smiled or flirted in any way. To others rape gets nullified if they convince themselves that their "victim" decided to sit back and enjoy.

These attitudes are dangerous when they are held by rapists, but they are also dangerous when they are held by those who would never and will never rape anybody. Many people continue to say the equivalent of: "Let my (favorite) alleged rapists go."

Update: Here's the UK Home Office report.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 8:29 AM   3 comments links to this post


At July 23, 2007 9:18 AM, Blogger sailorman said...

I don't think that's what the article was about.

I think what the article is getting at is that victims who are drunk are much more vulnerable to defense attorney attacks, so they withdraw their cases at a much higher rate. Therefore, drunk victims may be in need of additional support services to help them through the process.

I think the article was poorly written, But I'm basing this conclusion partly on the fact taht it goes on to note the very low overall conviction rate (6%) and the hope that the police forces would find ways to "reducing the likelihood that a victim would withdraw their complaint," etc.

At July 23, 2007 11:23 AM, Blogger Marcella Chester said...

Sailorman, how can the article (I link to 2 articles btw) be getting at something related to defense attorneys when neither article even mentions defense attorneys?

I didn't see any numbers which support the idea that a higher percentage of rape victims who were intoxicated stopped cooperating than those who were sober.

At July 24, 2007 9:50 AM, Blogger sailorman said...

I may be wrong; that's just the feel I got from it.

But as I said, it's a poorly written article, and I've already done all the article-defending (probably more) that it deserves ;)

And I don't especially want to detract from the rest of your post, which I like.


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