Friday, March 5, 2010

It's not me, it's YOU

Media hounds didn't miss any chance of reporting this piece of sensational news "Many women think rape victims are partly to blame, says new survey". As expected, it even got the glorious cover-page spot, thanks to the credibility of BBC News who reported the findings. Here is a link to the original report.

BBC Survey (Feb 15, 2010) :

The first impression this generates is a complete heresy against our individuality, our social identity. In the survey of 1000 people in London,
"More than half of those of both sexes questioned said there were some circumstances when a rape victim should accept responsibility for an attack."
Only careful examination of the survey, and reading between the lines, reveal the actually interesting facts. Taken in the right spirit, and boldly declaring the place and nature of the survey (including the kind of people surveyed), the conclusions may actually shed light on some facets of the surveyed society. But it is far from becoming a global truth. And that is why I demur.

First point to note is that the survey was done in a cosmopoliton city (London, but could have been New York across the ocean). Where the usual practice of one-night-dating ends with a "drink" at someone's house. And where bars are the defined place to "meet new people". Thus,
"One-third blamed victims who had dressed provocatively or gone back to the attacker's house for a drink."
Still yet, I am sure these same one-third would deplore wedding crashers arguing that open-gate does not automatically imply open-invitation.

With due acknowledgement to Stan Lee, let me quote "with liberty comes responsibility". There are many places who don't share the same liberatarian standards as the top "night-life" cities. Not only places in south Asia or Africa or remote islands but even some southern cities in the southern states of the USA. I believe there is an overdose of liberty all over the world. Overdoing anything, even charity, is suicidal
"Almost three quarters of the women who believed this said if a victim got into bed with the assailant before an attack they should accept some responsibility."

My next criticism against hidden meaning is in the context of
"When asked about their own experiences, more than a third of those polled said they had been in a situation where they could have been made to have sex against their will. Women are more likely to have been in this situation - 40% compared to 20%."
Take a deep breath, recount some of the violent, brutal rape stories from non-Western countries that sometimes come to limelight and appreciate the difference in the nature of "forced sex" across the planet. Not many capital cities cannot boast of a night when a women wouldn't be crazy to think
"Meanwhile, the survey suggested that many people are relaxed about their safety. Almost half of people have walked home via side streets on their own."

The deterrents against rape are more realistic in only a handful countries; here I am referring to the actual implementation of the law. But even so,
"The survey also found more than one in 10 people were unsure whether they would report being raped to the police, and 2% said they would definitely not do so. The main reasons were being too embarrassed or ashamed (55%), wanting to forget it had happened (41%) and not wanting to go to court (38%). "
We largely made the stigma associated with skin colour a history; I personally maintain thar no job, when done with sincerity and in the right spirit, is inferior to another just because of the title it carries; hereditary nobility carries negative sentiment in many circles. Why can't we do the same for rape and violence against women (or weak)? Look beyond what was imposed upon a person. Correlate actions with the actor. Only count the pennies I have earned for myself.

Rape is hard to prove, rape comes with a permanent stain on every involved person as soon as their names gets disclosed (including the victim). Often the victim stands to lose everything in her attempt to regain her dignity. I agree that getting drunk and having sex is not exactly abduction of modesty against free will and I feel a lot of the surveyees related rape to something like that. Definitely not many actual victims were part of the it (which is actually good, assuming the survey was done on randomly chosen women). And definitely not people who are aware of the kind of rape that plagues the less libertarian, more conservative societies of the world, where policing depends more on assumed moral standards than written words.

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