This article is driving me to absolute distraction this morning: Because Britain, which already has one of the lowest rape conviction rates in the industrialized world, just doesn't engage in enough victim-blaming already, some geniuses at the Officials at the Criminal Injury Compensation Authority decided to cut state compensation to rape victims by as much as a quarter if "their drinking was a 'contributing factor' in their ordeal" (or if they were in any other way "partly to blame—such as by provoking an attacker," presumably by doing something rapetastic like wearing a revealing blouse or short skirt).
The issue came to light after one rape victim, referred to only as Helen, received a letter from the CICA saying her compensation was being cut from £11,000 to £8,250.In good news, justice ministers have ordered an official inquiry and demanded that the practice stop immediately and amends made to rape victims who were denied full compensation.
It said: 'The evidence that we have shows that your excessive consumption of alcohol was a contributing factor in the incident'.
She said the letter 'felt like a slap in the face', adding: 'It felt like I was being punished for having the audacity to step up and say "I don't think this should have happened to me". It was like going back to the 1970s, saying "she was asking for it".
'How else could you read the letter but as saying it's my fault I was raped?'
But Maude forbid we have a story about sexual assault, no less a story in which people who assert that incapacitated victims are "partially to blame" for their victimization are formally told in no uncertain terms that they are wrong, without immediately undermining that conclusion with implications women really are to blame.
Because it's the Daily Mail, of course the article is accompanied by ridiculous images—but these are particularly egregious, even for the stinking Mail. First up is a picture of pretty (because rape is a compliment, of course) women drinking and having fun:
—followed by the image of a woman breaking down while sat on a hospital gurney, with rape kits in the foreground:
They might as well have labeled them "Cause" and "Effect" and been done with it, for fuck's sake.
And if that isn't bad enough, there's a link in the sidebar to an article which is bloody headlined: "Don't blind-drunk women who cry rape bear any responsibility for what happens to them?" (which is just brilliant in its ability to victim-blame and imply that women are liars: "cry rape"), followed by this image:
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.
I don't think there's anything new under the sun left for me to say about drinking and sexual assault that I (or others) haven't already said:
• Get It Together, Britain
• Acquittal in Illinois Rape Case
• Good God
• The Horror!
• Dear Ladies: Please Stop Getting Yourselves Raped
• Take My Cunt, Please
• Just Say No…No…No…
• Because "Go Fuck Yourself" Isn't Particularly Enlightening
• Know What's Hilarious?
• Rape Is Not a Crime? Who Knew?
• How to Get Away with Rape in Canada: Just Make Sure Your Victim Is Drunk.
—so I'm just going to repeat, for the nonillionth time, what is certainly the most concise, if not the best, thing I've ever written on the patent farce that is presuming alcohol is more a problem for rape victims than rapists and the disgusting compulsion to blame rape victims, in part or in whole, for being raped:
I guess we're meant to believe that it is just the victims who have been drinking and none of the rapists in [all the] alcohol-related date rapes every year—and that if only those victims had all been sober instead, none of those rapes would have happened. My rape, during which I was stone cold sober and my rapist's breath tasted of gin, was obviously the only one of its kind. I deserve a trophy or some shit.[H/T to Shaker Brave Sir Robin.]
"I'd like to thank my rapist, without
whom this never would have happened…"
Ah, the truth in jokes, yes? Left to my own devices, I never would have been raped. The rapist was really the key component to the whole thing. I was sober; hardly scantily clad, I was wearing sweatpants and an oversized t-shirt; I was at home; my sexual history was, literally, nonexistent—I was a virgin; I struggled; I said no. There have been times since when I have been walking home, alone, after a few drinks, wearing something that might have shown a bit of leg or cleavage, and I wasn't raped. The difference was not in what I was doing. The difference was the presence of a rapist.
Enough blaming the victim. Enough.