Friday 9 December 2016

You worry for women when a judge resorts to victim blaming

Lorraine Courtney

Published 24/04/2015 | 02:30

Tributes left during a silent vigil for Irish student Karen Buckley,24, in a park off Hill Street where Miss Buckley was living, after her body was found at High Craigton Farm on the north-western outskirts of the city following a four-day search (Karrie Gillett/PA Wire)
Tributes left during a silent vigil for Irish student Karen Buckley,24, in a park off Hill Street where Miss Buckley was living, after her body was found at High Craigton Farm on the north-western outskirts of the city following a four-day search (Karrie Gillett/PA Wire)

A UK judge has said Karen Buckley had "put herself in a vulnerable position". It's particularly depressing when it's an actual judge, those people whose job it is to be trusted to provide justice for victims of crime, who can't address violence against women without perpetuating victim-blaming myths. Even worse, these attitudes may also be infiltrating the very institutions we all rely on for support and justice.

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District Court judge Nigel Cadbury was speaking as he sentenced another woman for an assault outside a bar. "I find it incredible that young people can get so drunk that they don't even know who they're with. One only has to think about the horrible situation in Glasgow to see how serious this could have been. It's very, very worrying how young girls put themselves in such very, very vulnerable positions," he said. But why is it always women who are told they have to modify their behaviour to stay safe?

One in three people believes that women who behave flirtatiously are somewhat responsible if they are raped, according to a rather depressing Amnesty International report. A similar number of people believe that women are partially or wholly responsible for being raped if they are drunk; while more than a quarter believe women are responsible if they wear revealing clothing. Wow. Men are marginally more likely to blame the victim than women, although in the case of drunkenness, 5pc of women thought a woman would be totally responsible if she were raped, compared with 3pc of men.

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