independent

Friday 29 August 2014

Chauvinistic attitude to rape persists

DEBORAH COLEMAN

Published 16/10/2012 | 11:09

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SO, ACCORDING to a US Republican politician, ' some girls, they rape so easy' . What year is it again? Have we regressed to the Stone Age? Wisconsin state representative Roger Rivard made these idiotic comments to his local paper and then said they were taken out of context when questioned about them during the current election campaign.

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In clarifying, Rivard said that his father always warned him of the perils of a woman who will consent to sex and then cry rape.

Of course his oh-so-enlightened father warned him of this danger in terms of premarital sex, thereby completely ignoring the hard cold fact that sadly rape and sexual assault occur in many different situations including within marriage.

Does this man really believe that young men should be warned about the wanton female species more than young women should be informed of the dangers of rape? This is victim blaming and merely serves to absolve the predator. If a series of events can change overnight then what's to stop a rapist saying his victim consented to sex in the first place?

It is this backward and chauvinistic attitude that makes it difficult for women who have been raped to speak out. This is a more than common occurrence and is precisely the deciding factor for many women when it comes to reporting a crime not.

The thoughts of a long drawn-out court case and the risk that their character could be destroyed are too much to handle on top of the crime itself.

Their worst fear is that everyone will think that they 'deserved' it and not believe that they were a victim.

They are embarrassed, frightened and ashamed and this is is the stigma that needs to be eradicated.

Sexist and ill-informed comments such as Rivard's, however off the cuff, are completely removed from and out of touch with reality.

He claims that sexual assault is ' misunderstood' and this is certainly true in his own case.

If people in his position, seeking re-election to public office are so out of touch then what hope is there for the electorate, albeit in the US?

This is the sort of message that will take society back decades and there will many voters that will take it at face value.

Let's hope some strong female voices take up the international debate and ensure that there is no further dismissal of such a serious topic and that victims are never afraid to speak up.

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