On air: Can rape ever be the victim’s fault?

Heba: Since this blog topic  first appeared on our blog on Monday, the number of voices weighing into the debate has grown right round the world here, here and here.

Cara Kulwicki posted her two cents on the Guardian’s Comment is Free website. She says:

‘Women are given further incentive to blame victims of sexual assault through the myth that if they follow “the rules” – don’t go out alone at night, don’t get too drunk, don’t wear anything too revealing, don’t flirt too much – they themselves are safe from becoming victims.’

It’s certainly a view expressed by Karen in Houston who posted on our blog earlier this week:

‘I do not think it is helpful or reasonable to blame rape victims. However, I do believe that we do have a responsibility to do everything we can to keep ourselves from being victims: pay attention, be responsible for your own behavior, and avoid dangerous situations.’

Karen wasn’t the only poster expressing these views, but I’ve got to admit it did surprise me and many other girls on the WHYS team.

Israel posted on our blog: ‘let the women speak!’

Not many women have been posting on our blog. It would be great to hear where you stand on this debate. There are a few comments on this blog about generational attitudes too – are older women more likely to have conservative views about rape?


56% of women who took part in this UK poll said that rape victims should be held accountable for their attack.
Three quarters of the women who believed this also said that if a victim got into bed with the assailant before an attack, then they should accept some responsibility.

So why is it that women are less forgiving when it comes to a victim’s behaviour?According to one rape victim most women who get raped blame themselves and so don’t need judgement from anyone else.

Elizabeth Harrison, who compiled the report says many women think that rape can open happen to you if you invite it. “Women look at court cases and think she was drunk, she wore a short skirt,” Harrison explains. {They think} I don’t do that so it won’t happen to me. It’s particularly worrying that younger women are more likely to hold people responsible for what happens to them.”

One in ten of the 1000 people surveyed by the Haven Centres said that dancing provocatively, flirting or wearing revealing clothing made them partly responsible. But is it right to believe that by wearing a revealing outfit or agreeing to have a drink with someone, a woman is somehow inciting a man to rape her?

Kebab the cat understands why juries will vote for an acquittal if the accused raped someone who was drunk. Maybe you side with this blogger, who says publicising the results of this survey will make victims even more reluctant to go to the police .
While Kingdom of Wrong says that having sex with someone you are in a relationship with when you don’t want to, shouldn’t be described as rape.

So who is ultimately responsible in a rape? Could it ever be the victim?

273 Responses to “On air: Can rape ever be the victim’s fault?”

  1. 1 Crystal Ball
    February 15, 2010 at 18:21

    One third of the women in the survey thought that women dressing provocatively or going back to the man’s place were partly to blame if rape occurred. Whereas far fewer men shared this muddled view.
    Let’s just hope that future rape cases are heard by male judges so at least the victim get’s at least a fairly unbiased hearing!

    • 2 james
      February 19, 2010 at 10:54

      By the opinions of some here apparently if a women was at the beach in a swimming costume,which is clearly revealing,this could trigger someone to rape her,someone here said that rape was violence uncontroled,correct.If you rape someone you are out of control,i mean any man can kill someone but we are not all murderers.Rape is the guys problem not the womens,do’nt tell me they had coming.as for the few psyco women who cry rape,be honest we usually find them out.Women could help by portaying them selves more respectfully,i.e the jordan’s of this country,and prostitutes don’t help women’s personna either.

      • 3 simona Volpi
        February 20, 2010 at 22:24

        Dear James,

        It’s refreshing to hear that there are men who truly believe that a woman has the same rights to be respected, as anyone else, without fearing to be attacked or abused. I agree that some women with a high media profile, should be more responsible and portay themselves in amore dignified manner, but then one could say this about many people in the media- both men and women.

        I belive that the reponse ‘no’, should be taken to mean exactly that. It’s the total lack of respect that sadly, some men have for women, that makes rape an’ acceptable’ aspect of some interactions between the sexes. Why this is so, I cannot even begin to imagine. If we begin to condone rape, in certain circumstances, what we are really saying is that sometimes it is acceptable to commit a criminal offense, if the provocation is there. Often, rapists will state any nimber of reasons to justify their behaviour – and often they go on to repeat this same crime, against others.

  2. 4 Andrew in Australia
    February 15, 2010 at 18:37

    Think about this… are you also responsible for being mugged, or having your house burgled, car stolen? More importantly, male rape is also a reality, so I wont differentiate between the two.

    It has to be considered that crime may be something inflicted upon another by someone who has no regard for their victim’s property of feelings, but many will argue that you can be taking unnecessary risks.

    So how does rape compare to other forms of crime? In a dispassionate way it has to be considered that people will consider that just as other crimes, you set yourself up for it in certain circumstances. That would explain why so many would consider this so.

    I wish we lived in a world without crime but we don’t and sometimes I have to think… just getting up in the morning makes me accountable for anything that happens to me. But of course the problem with the world is – there are people in it!

  3. 5 patti in cape coral
    February 15, 2010 at 18:40

    Knee-jerk answer, NO, but I have a question for the men. When you guys are with a woman, is there a point of no return where it is actually impossible for you to stop? Or can you make yourself stop at any moment? For example, if a couple is necking, still clothed, I assume the man is able to stop, even if he is frustrated; however, if intercourse has already started and the woman changes her mind, can the guy stop? Sorry if this is a stupid question, but how would I know what a guy feels? Will the courts recognize rape if the beginning intercourse is consentual?

    As far as being drunk or wearing provocative clothing, no, it is never a green light or justification for rape. It may be ill-advised at times, but never an excuse for a man to rape.

    • 6 Hannah
      February 15, 2010 at 20:51

      Guys can always stop. Always. It is never the persons fault who has been attacked, never.

    • 7 Tony Palfrey
      February 15, 2010 at 23:19

      Oh Patti, of course a man can stop at any time. It may make him uncomfortable to do so but surely the fault is his. has he pushed into this situation too early. With rape you are inflicting not just sex but fear. As a man I have been in exactly in this position and I not only stopped but was unable to continue when the girl again changed her mind. There is always another day and the next time there was no fear or later shame for either of us. Don’t let men get away with this often used lie.

    • 8 Linda from Italy
      February 16, 2010 at 12:29

      Oh Patti, this takes me back!
      What passed for sex education at my all girls’ school in the UK circa 1965, consisted of an elderly and extremely frumpy vicar’s wife patiently explaining to us that since all men were dangerous uncontrollable beasts with raging passions that, once aroused, were unstoppable, if we so much as held hands with, let alone kissed a boy we would be in danger of unleashing said passions, in other words it would all be our fault . Needless to say for a class of 30 14-15 year-olds, growing up in what was then quaintly known as Swinging London, this was a source of much hilarity, but I have a nasty feeling that 45 years later vestiges of this strange view of men still survive.

    • 9 Denise in Chicago
      February 18, 2010 at 17:55

      Patti, your questions and comments are unbelievable. Of course there is no such thing as a point of no return. Ever!

      • 10 patti in cape coral
        February 18, 2010 at 21:45

        I don’t understand why my questions and comments are so unbelievable. I have questions because I simply don’t know if something I have heard is true or not. I’ve been lucky in the respect that the sex in my life has been consentual and all parties knew what they wanted and a good time was had by all. Rape is an anomaly to me and hard for me to understand. As far as my comments, we just don’t happen to completely agree. I wonder because I bring up questions or ambiguities, do people now see me as supporting rape? If it was as cut and dried as some people suggest, there would be no need to go to court. In any case, I appreciate people answering my question, even if it was a kind of DUH! question to most people.

    • 11 Ron O
      February 19, 2010 at 15:06

      Absolutely a man can stop any time. I’ve done it myself twice with a naked or near naked woman beside me because sex is supposed to be fun and if someone isn’t having fun then I don’t want to do it.

      If this were really the case, then it would be men who need to have their movement restricted because they were a threat rather than women who have to keep themselves properly covered and modest at all times.

      • 12 simona Volpi
        February 24, 2010 at 20:55

        Ron, it’s great to hear you speak so frankly about a sensitive issue, such as this. The fact that you obviously cared about your partner, makes me think that you are a mature and sensitive person who cares about who you are with, and not just about themselves. Thanks for this contribution.

    • 13 Janet
      February 27, 2010 at 20:16

      Patti — I think the confusion arises from a genuine physiological phenomenon — there *is* a “point of no return” in male ejaculation; once he starts to ejaculate, he physically cannot stop in the middle, any more than you can stop in the middle of a sneeze. However, up until that point, he can stop any time he wants to. Since rape has already occurred by the time he begins to ejaculate, he can definitely stop before raping. Does that clarify the issue?

  4. 14 audre
    February 15, 2010 at 18:50

    Rape has always been, and always will be, the result of a society that devalues women. Rape will always be a part of the society as long as women are seen as, and accept the role of, seducers.

  5. 15 Maccus Germanis
    February 15, 2010 at 19:01

    I would hope that respondents could be induced to make a distinction between the possible tactical negligence of a victim and the malicious intent of an attacker. Women do need to understand that communal moral outrage will do little to protect them in the midst of the attack, and so be encouraged to be personally vigilant. But in no way should they feel responsible for the violence commmited against them.

    • 16 simona Volpi
      February 24, 2010 at 20:57

      Maccus, that is great to hear you express this so well. It’s true, women need to be vigilent, but also need to realise that they are not to blame for an attack, and not feel shame. The shame is on the rapist, and them alone.

  6. 17 TomK in Mpls
    February 15, 2010 at 19:08

    I wouldn’t ever say it is their fault. But sometimes acts of gross stupidity are justly rewarded. Blame is then shared. In rare cases there will be honest miscommunication due to things like cultural differences or the misunderstanding of a fetish. The variety of human possibilities makes it extremely hard to write and enforce any law based on personal judgment. I think this is one of those.

    • 18 TomK in Mpls
      February 15, 2010 at 19:53

      A second thought. If the ‘aggressor’ does what they do as part of an honest mistake, they are as much a victim as the other party.

  7. 19 Karen in Houston TX, USA
    February 15, 2010 at 19:19

    I don’t believe that a person who is not a rapist – someone with the mental capability and intention to force sex upon a person against their will – will be induced to rape a woman because she was dancing provocatively, or drank too much, or was flirtatious. I do believe that rapists seek victims and opportunity and select low hanging fruit. I do not think it is helpful or reasonable to blame rape victims. However, I do believe that we do have a responsibility to do everything we can to keep ourselves from being victims: pay attention, be responsible for your own behavior, and avoid dangerous situations.

  8. 20 Frank in the USA
    February 15, 2010 at 19:29

    If you don’t want to be a victim, there are certain precautions you can take to help your chances. If you don’t take them, then you are certainly guilty of stupidity or naivety, and yes, in a world where not all humans are civilized, you are partly to blame for your own misfortune.

    Women dressed with their thighs and breasts half-exposed in the wrong environment, or walking unescorted in a dark neighborhood at 3:00AM–what right-thinking person would not conclude that they were asking for trouble–and got it?

    Agreed that in a perfect world how one dresses is no excuse for assault, but someone please let me know where to find that perfect world so I can move there post haste.

    Feel like challenging reality because it’s “not right?” Better make sure you’re up to the task.

    • 21 helen
      February 18, 2010 at 18:19

      Would a man consider himself partly to blame if he were attacked walking somewhere around three in the morning, or if he were scantily dressed on a beach or at a disco or if he were drunk? I think not. The onus is on men to take resonsibility for controlling their “urges” and making sure any lady he is with is fully willing. Women should not have to tailor their choices to cater to male inability to behave reasonably. Men have no right to judge what women wear, or where they choose to walk, and certainly have no right to take advantage of situations. So women are NEVER responible in any way if they suffer rape. The male of the species MUST learn exercise self control

      • 22 ageofdoublethink99
        February 22, 2010 at 18:23

        Cultural and religious dictates have long recognised this problem and have over time developed and evolved codes of moral conduct to resolve provocative immoral behaviour and its concequencies-ie-Islam.

    • 23 Maja
      February 19, 2010 at 19:18

      I agree with you. In an ideal world we could all do what we want but the reality is that’s not true.

      Do you leave your house unlocked all day long? No.

      Do you walk around holding your wallet in your hand? No.

      Do you accept candy from strangers? No.

      The realities of our world is that you do have to protect yourself. As a woman, I know that there are things that I have to do that men maybe do not have to do in order to protect myself. Women are unfortunately more vulnerable than men when it comes to this (though it does happen to men) and the fact is if you put yourself out that way then you should know you’re drawing attention (and this is the reason most women dress in that way or act in that way in the first place) and some of that attention could be negative and dangerous.

      In a perfect world we would all be equal, free to do what we want, how we want, when we want. But people, wake up, this is not our reality. It never has been, it never will be. Women, take the precautions necessary and take a little more pride in yourself and the way you act and dress.

  9. 24 Michael E
    February 15, 2010 at 19:49

    Rape is a crime of violence. It is not sexual. Rape is a crime of control. This is the reason the Taliban gave for putting women in the burqa. The reasoning is that men have no control, unless they are in total absolute control.
    The very question assumes that women, children, men, prisoners, anyone of any age, from 1 to 95, provoke such intense, overwhelming sexual passion, that it indeed is the fault of the victim.
    Never, never, never.

  10. 26 Patrick
    February 15, 2010 at 21:11

    The victim of rape is never to blame for the rape however there are things people can do to lessen the risk of being raped. Being really druk around strangers sems like something one should avoid(and I guess being really drunk around friends can result in rape as well).

  11. 27 audre
    February 15, 2010 at 21:23

    @Michael E

    Rape is a crime of violence which springs out of the (dare I say learned?) desire to dominate. This desire is directed at woman because women have less value. The idea that women have less value comes from the religious idea that men have dominion over women and children. After all Eve is said to have tempted Adam and no one questions that Adam said, “Eve made me do it.” What has changed?

    The lower down on the totem pole the less value. In Canada, prostitutes and Aboriginals disappear and no one bats an eyelash. An upper class girl disappears and there is an all out effort to find her.

    Rape will not stop until we school girls to value themselves…until they learn that they are not put on earth for the pleasure of men.

  12. 28 Alex V - Chicago
    February 15, 2010 at 22:52

    No–it is never a victim’s fault. Rape is a crime and when a crime happens, it is never the fault of the victim.

  13. February 15, 2010 at 22:56

    I think the issue of rape depends on the situation. I do not know about those happening in developed countries. However for those women who are abused in disaster/war zones by some of those very people who are charge with the responsibility to ensure the protection of women and children cannot be laid at the door of the victims. All the same, a normal human being should not rape. Rape is is bad. One should be able to control themself no matter the degree of provocation.

  14. February 15, 2010 at 23:00

    If we come to reality.the victims are the first to blame,and they are the responsible of what they do, because of the acceptence .so what i can say that; it’s the victim’s faults.And i’m total agree with what “frank in USA” said.all what he said is correct and he turning to the reasons that lead to the rape.

  15. 31 Tony Palfrey
    February 15, 2010 at 23:07

    Absolutely not ever can rape be the victimes fault. There are two simple words every man must instill into his conciousness and one word is NO and the other is STOP. Drunk is no excuse whatsoever and neither is anything else. Rape is theft and it is assault and it is an act of a cowardly and selfish bully. A puny little man trying to take power from a woman or child. No excuses for the rapist please, just a bullet.

  16. February 15, 2010 at 23:31

    Men must take responsibility for their sexuality and their urges. The claim that this urge is so overwhelming that at some point it’s beyond their control is a mythological excuse dreamed up by patriarchy, its inexcusable.

    At no point can they be absolved from this responsibility, not even if the woman wants sex and then at a crucial point decides she does not want it, even if this may seem unfair. Patriarchy presumes to decide under certain conditions what can or cannot be regarded as reasonable provocation. This varies from culture to culture. A head scarf slipping out of place is enough for some men to feel justified in raping in many cultures, a skirt too short, out too late, very drunk, etc. etc. We know all the excuse, but there is only one condition under which a man may have sex with a female and that is when she truly desires to have sex and continues to desire to have sex with that man. It’s hard guys but you know your moral standing is worth it, you can control your sexuality, you really can and claming that it is uncontrollable is no excuse at all.

  17. 33 Alan in Arizona
    February 15, 2010 at 23:45

    90% NO
    10% YES – I’m sure there are cases were the blame is shared. I’ve known women that love driving a man crazy and then say NO just for the fun of it. I’ve known guys to do the same thing. Neither are worth spending more than 2 or 3 minutes with.

    But when a woman is raped on the street by a total stranger there is no fault on her. Let’s just hope every good father shows his daughter how to remove that desire in a man instantly!

    • 34 Sharafadeen A. (Sokoto)
      February 17, 2010 at 23:21

      @Alan in Arizona “But when a woman is raped on the street by a total stranger there is no fault on her”
      yet you mention of “I’ve known women that love driving a man crazy…”
      how can you corroborate these two statements of your? A woman who drive men crazy and then thereupon rape by the stranger…” then who’s fault or who’s to be blame? I’m not saying that rape is ok but who is the cause.

  18. 35 mat hendriks
    February 15, 2010 at 23:58

    -Never !

  19. 36 Anthony
    February 15, 2010 at 23:59

    The thing about rape statistics, is that they are biased. If a woman get’s drunk and has sex with an unattractive man, they will scream rape in order to save face. “I was too drunk” is never an accuse to go home with some random guy. If having sex with someone you didn’t want to because you were drunk is rape, then killing someone while you are drunk isn’t wrong.

    Don’t get me wrong, someone FORCING themselves on someone is wrong, but a lot of rape cases I hear about are garbage.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  20. 37 Anthony
    February 16, 2010 at 00:01

    When ever I go to a bar or club in a not so good area, I understand that potentially I could get mugged, beat, or even worse. I take my chances. That’s why I go to the nicer areas now.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  21. 38 Bert
    February 16, 2010 at 00:59

    It all depends how you define rape. The stereotypical event, where some whack job grabs a woman randomly off a deserted street, is clear cut. But what about the gray areas? What about the flirtatious or even agressive woman who decides to cry rape only after the fact?

    No, Patti, I’m quite certain that no man with any backbone has a “point of no return.” That might be used as an excuse by the feeble minded. Then again, the gray areas might help explain why so many women aren’t too hasty to judge.

    I make a parallel here with, say, muggings. Everyone has a “right” to walk in whatever part of town, day or night, as he/she chooses. Right? Surely, if I make such a banal comment, no one would disagree. That’s why it’s called “banality.” In fact, walk in the wrong part of town with money hanging out of your pockets, and everyone will think you were a complete idiot if you complained about being mugged.

  22. 39 lambdaenigma
    February 16, 2010 at 01:50

    I was astonished at the results of this survey when it first appeared. It seemed to justify sexual violence, in this survey, heterosexual but it could be homosexual rape.

    Not having been in any deviant relationships, I cannot agree that rape is either consensual or a fantasy. No means no.

    Without trivializing rape nor glamorizing The Troubles, it is odd that one would find any terrorist bomb to be unacceptable yet one would find sexual violence to be either consensual or justified.

    It would be interesting to know what percentage of the 54% have been victimized by people or institutions in their past.

    Is this a bizarre variant of survivor guilt?

  23. 40 clamdip
    February 16, 2010 at 02:40

    I think men have thousands of sexual messages synapsing every minute throughout their brain. Men are very different from women and women should be on guard not to project the wrong or mixed message to a man. I don’t think rape is ever justified because if a women is shouting no, no, stop and is fighting with you it’s obvious she doesn’t like what you’re doing and is asking for you to stop.
    I think men have viewed women as objects for a long time and they think they are entitled to sex. Men need to understand how much they destroy a woman’s life by putting her in that position. Probably even most prostitutes don’t enjoy sex with men so why would a man be with someone that doesn’t enjoy sex with him? It’s wrong to indulge yourself without a willing partner. There is a spiritual cost . Men need to be more enlightened on this subject and women should stop selling sex as if it were a commodity.

  24. 41 Tan Boon Tee
    February 16, 2010 at 03:32

    When is rape a rape? When is it not?

    Is there a clear demarcation line?

    • 42 Linda from Italy
      February 16, 2010 at 12:17

      Quite simple Tan, when someone (male or female) says “No I don’t want to have sex with you”, if you proceed, that is rape.

  25. 43 uneza
    February 16, 2010 at 04:03

    i’d agree, if women wear revealing outfits they are really asking for trouble! i do hope future rape cases are heard by male judges so at least the victim get’s an unbiased hearing.

  26. February 16, 2010 at 12:08

    28 uneza
    February 16, 2010 at 04:03
    i’d agree, if women wear revealing outfits they are really asking for trouble! i do hope future rape cases are heard by male judges so at least the victim get’s an unbiased hearing.

    Consider the implication of what you state so confidently. Who should be allowed to define which codes of dress provoke men? In Saudi Arabia to let the niqab slip is provocation enough. In a nudist camp complete nakedness does not provoke? Who draws the line? Is the penis, and in particular any one single man’s penis to be the barometer? If she is the cause of you becoming erect is that the indication that she deserves to be raped?

  27. February 16, 2010 at 12:10

    February 16, 2010 at 02:40
    I think men have thousands of sexual messages synapsing every minute throughout their brain. Men are very different from women and women should be on guard not to project the wrong or mixed message to a man.

    This is a myth that patriarchy holds to excuse men. Women’s sexuality has been curtailed by severe restrictions from Draconian moral codes that do not apply to men, to severe mutilation as in fgm. If men were subject to equally sever restrictions on their sexuality they too would find, as women have, the means to control their sexual urges.

  28. 46 Linda from Italy
    February 16, 2010 at 12:14

    The apparent paradox of “women being nasty to women”, should not really surprise anyone since most of us take the pragmatic view that while a great many men still have appalling attitudes to women we should perhaps opt for safe rather than sorry. These attitudes are born out of the sort of male fear and insecurity that has led to the vast majority of the world’s religions, particularly the monotheist ones with a paternalistic male stereotype god figure, labelling women as dangerous temptresses, sinks of vice and depravity from whom men can only be protected by controlling them sexually and socially and categorising then either as a) obedient wives and daughters of men or b) whores. Turning women into possessions over whom men can exert their superior physical strength, sanctioned by cultural norms, justifies rape if a woman flaunts their norms and by extension, rape becomes a weapon of war because by violating their women, you are damaging your enemy’s property.
    Unfortunately many of the women who level the “asking for it” accusation at their fellow women, have bought into this perverted ideology, hook line and sinker, so those of us who have seen the light have a duty to try to educate them, rather them condemn them out of hand.

  29. 47 Ibrahim in UK
    February 16, 2010 at 12:30

    No. The person who commits the crime is at fault.
    The victim can sometimes be blamed for being wreckless with their own safety, but being stupid pr naiive is not a crime in itself nor worthy of punishment.
    Just as people are careful to protect their homes and their cars (e.g. close the door, have arlams, don’t open the door to strangers), they should also be careful to protect themselves from criminals.

  30. February 16, 2010 at 13:33

    Of course rape can never be excused or justified. The survey’s meaning has been twisted a little, I think. I’m sure no reasonable person could consider any rape in any way justified, no matter what the demeanour or dress sense of the woman involved. Although some women do undoubtedly dress provocatively to attract certain men at times, almost no woman does so as an open invitation for any man to approach them, and this is never a reason or justification for rape. A woman who openly flaunts her body in revealing clothes and puts herself in danger is guilty of stupidity and naivety, just as much as the rich person flaunting his wealth in a poor area. But neither ‘deserves’ any violence visited upon them. This kind of survey seems to imply that they do!

    I am always shocked when this topic rears its head, at the number of people who find the idea of a man being wrongly accused as so abhorrent, yet never see the unfairness in society that allows guilty men to walk free in so many more cases. It clearly suits men to claim that they have an unstoppable bestial nature so as to escape punishment and shift blame onto the woman herself. I am amazed that a civilised society still falls for it.

  31. 49 Kate M.
    February 16, 2010 at 15:04

    No means no. It’s as simple as that.

  32. 50 steve
    February 16, 2010 at 15:55

    Are we talking Oprah Winfrey “rape rape” here? Or are we talking get drunk, regret the decision, then rape allegation like has been happening?

    There’s a HUGE difference between going jogging and getting forcibly raped, than going out and getting really drunk and then regretting your poor decisions and saying it was rape because you wouldn’t have done that if you were sober.

    • February 21, 2010 at 05:12

      Why do you assume that women who accuse men of rape, actually drunkenly consented and later regretted it?
      Is it possible for you to comprehend that she might have drunkenly consented to going home with him and then drunkenly said she didn’t want to have sex? In such a scenario, if he has sex with her despite her saying “no” it is rape – it is just as forced as someone who jumps out at a jogger.
      The moment consent is withdrawn is irrelevant, non consentual sex is rape.

  33. 52 John in Salem
    February 16, 2010 at 16:00

    So if a man backs out of having sex at the last minute it’s considered rude, but if a woman does it she deserves to be raped?
    I swear, sometimes I read this forum and I have to check the calendar to make sure I’m still in the right century.
    Rape is forcing someone to have sex. Circumstances are irrelevant, prior behavior is irrelevant, clothing worn by the victim is irrelevant, spoken or unspoken agreements are irrelevant.
    No one gets a pass to act like an animal. There is no gray area in the word “NO”.

  34. February 16, 2010 at 16:29

    I knew somebody would come up with the argument that women get drunk, have sex with some poor guy, wake up, regret the decision, and then proceed to accuse him of rape. I’m not saying that this never happens, but this is real ‘man bites dog’ stuff! Compare the instances where this happens to the number of times women suffer the pain of seeing a perpetrator let off because of lack of admissible evidence, prejudice, and sheer bullying from the judiciary system. There is unfairness on both sides, sure, but maybe it’s time the pendulum swung the other way.

  35. February 16, 2010 at 19:13

    @Linda from Italy February 16, 2010 at 12:14

    here here and hear hear

  36. 55 clamdip
    February 16, 2010 at 19:28

    I’m not excusing men I just think their biology is different and women need to understand it. Condoning violence towards women is wrong and has been going on for a long time and this past generation of women haven’t helped the plight of women much by becoming “Girls Gone Wild”. This is the type of exploitation that men usually love but women need to stop. Both sexes need to work at this issue. That’s my only point.

    • 56 Jennifer
      February 18, 2010 at 19:23

      I think that we are overlooking the issue that rape is generally not really about sex. There are often motivators that are deeper than physical need. like the need to control, dominate, humliate, posess, etc.

      Any woman can be raped no matter how meek, conservative, etc she is. A woman who is covered from head to toe can still trigger this horrible behavior in a particular man. This is not just about woman who dress provacatively or anything else.

  37. February 16, 2010 at 20:03

    @clamdip February 16, 2010 at 19:28

    You write, “I’m not excusing men I just think their biology is different and women need to understand it…”

    Yes you are excusing men and once again asking women to understand your plight, ” We can’t help it. ”

    The claim that men’s sexual urges are more acute, stronger, far less controllable, then women’s sexual urges just wont wash anymore. Stop raping and stop making this ludicrous claim to excuse rape.

  38. 58 Meg in Canada
    February 17, 2010 at 03:19

    There are precautions a person can take – usually these are actions of common sense… not walking alone down a deserted street, not wearing provocative clothing, etc etc.


    Even if a person neglects to exhibit this common sense, doesn’t EVER mean that a person DESERVES to be raped or has ‘received what’s coming to them’. So in that sense, it is never a victim’s fault. Never.

  39. 59 Clamdip
    February 17, 2010 at 06:27

    Get a grip. Are you a biologist? I doubt there’s been little study on testosterone and impulse control. Since men have raped women since the beginning of time I’d at least like to fully understand the compulsion. Making sweeping generalizations and accusing me of condoning rape is ludicrous.

    • February 21, 2010 at 05:20

      Perhaps rape has always occurred, so has theft, so has murder – non of these things are excusable by biology. The vast majority of men are not rapists, having “hard to control testosterone” does not make you unable to stop raping women.

  40. 61 Bob in Queensland
    February 17, 2010 at 11:37

    No, it is never the rape victims fault. To think otherwise is to decide that men are wild animals who can’t control their sexual urges at the sight of a short skirt or revealing blouse. I, for one, am not willing to be categorised as an animal with no self control.

  41. 62 @guykaks
    February 17, 2010 at 12:12

    The worst thing is some women are always so suggestive to their hunters.The brief skirts and see me through fashions..I feel the rape cases are mostly encouraged by this queer behavoiurs,unless the rapist is sick.

  42. 63 Nigel
    February 17, 2010 at 13:12

    I cannot think of one single reason that could justify the rape of a woman.

  43. 64 Peter Gizzi UK
    February 17, 2010 at 13:28

    I have read your many posts with interest. I am one who first of all questions the validity of this survey? How was it done and with whom?

    As for rape itself it is WRONG. Liking a pint or 2 I have encountered people who have admitted that both parties were so drunk they didn’t remember “doing it” Whether someone could interpret that as rape I do not know? They didn’t.

    A book I read recently by a very well known author described a situation in Chechnya where after being raped a woman became pregnant but was allowed to have the baby. When born the baby went to an orphanage for “defiled children”. The mothere was put to death by a family member as being defiled herself. This horrified me as it is based on truth. Are we actually in The 21st Century?

  44. 65 gary indiana
    February 17, 2010 at 14:43

    Rape is criminal control of a sexual event and it isn’t important at what stage the victim loses control, nor exactly what is intended by the perpetrator on assuming it. The activity following “No” is rape. An unwilling partner is a victim because they no longer have control of the disposition of their own body. Their trusting of an unreliable partner, choice of revealing attire, or presence in an unsafe venue may indicate poor use of intellect and sometimes contributes to their vulnerability; but it never diminishes their rights to personal bodily control. Not ever.
    This isn’t a question of, “She (or He) is just too, too cute.” It is always the act of a criminal bully and the coercion isn’t always physical. The WHYS question is indicative of deep societal problems concerning this mostly unreported, so-called “sex crime.” Its asking implies the existence of an affirmative answer. You folks should (and I trust do) know better!

  45. 66 Gary Paudler
    February 17, 2010 at 15:55

    No. Period. No means no.
    I would include as rape an instance in which somebody consented to sex under false pretenses.
    If someone, in any state of mind, consents then, later, regrets and calls it “rape” is not rape so there can be no legitimate assignment of blame, no victim, no perpetrator, for a rape that did not occur.

  46. 67 steve
    February 17, 2010 at 16:24

    Nobody is defending the acts of a hide in the bushes, and attack a lady who is dressed provactively. Nobody is defending that, it’s forcible rape and totally verboten. However, there are so many areas where regret gets turned into a rape allegation, and that’s a totally different scenario. A guy and a gal get drunk, have sex, and she later regrets it. There are plenty who would say that’s rape. But if they were both drunk, why wasn’t he raped as well? Why is consent only seem to be deemed ineffective for intoxicated women who agree to it at the time, but not for men? Those are the situations I’m concerned about, not actual no questions asked, forcible rape..

    I think those polled are also taking into account personal responsibility. Sure, if a woman drinks herself into an oblivion, and passes out, she shouldn’t get raped, but also she should engage in the personal responsibility of not getting passed out drunk. Kind of like how you shouldn’t drive in those situations either, or walk around in public, because you could get arrested for public drunkeness. There are personal responsibilities involved here, as with many other areas of life. You should ALWAYs be responsible for yourself, and not rely on others to be responsible for you. Kind of like why I wouldn’t walk around Harlem at 3AM with $100 bills taped to my coat.. I shouldn’t get mugged, but it would be very unwise of me to do that.

  47. February 17, 2010 at 16:28

    @Clamdip February 17, 2010 at 06:27

    Sex is not driven by biology, it’s socialised and has been since any form of civilisation began. If it were purely biologically driven you, and you in particular, would be quite shocked as to just how sexually driven females are. Patriarchy having been in control for many, many centuries controls female sexuality in its various ways, all of which are designed to curtail and control the females to the extend that the male feels safe. Men like to pretend that females do not have such a strong and impulsive sexual urge, but this little self deceptive game men play with themselves over their own rights to sexual gratification is inconsistent with the laws and restrictions, and in fact horrific mutations, they impose on women and little girls to curb their sexual desires.

    If women we so under sexed, if their sexuality were so un-urgent why the Draconian measure to restrict them? It’s inconsistent is it not? There is no doubt that men are fully aware of the extent which the female feels her sexual urges. First men put really horrific restrictions with dreadful consequences, from the fairly innocuous, “Your a slapper” to stoning women to death to prevent them being allowed to be sexual at all, and then claim that their sexual urges are less urgent than men’s. Its myth and its been a very useful one for keeping women under control.

  48. 69 ms_cellaneous
    February 17, 2010 at 16:47

    Women are no more to blame for being raped than a man carrying a briefcase walking through a disreputable area is to blame for being mugged!

    Quote: ” 54% of women who took part in this UK poll said that rape victims should be held accountable for their attack.”

    Who were these women? I strongly suspect they are middle to upper class catholics .

    Women of all ages, sexuality, disabilities get raped.

    How is a vulnerable woman with learning difficulties to blame for being raped?
    How is an elderly lady in her 80’s to blame for being raped?

    We’ve come a long way from our primitive beginnings. So It’s about time men were held to account for their behaviour. Men CAN control themselves. A minority of disgusting men (and women) however, prefer to control others by rape.

    Of course women will ‘blame’ themselves for things that happen to them. Children also ‘blame’ themselves when they get abused. This does in no way mean it is their fault.

  49. February 17, 2010 at 16:52

    Raping on ladies in the army is something that cannot be accepted. it is the responsibility of the gorverment the ladies are serving to be protected fully. and what makes me more upset is that the fellow co-army are the ones who conduct such behavior. harsh discplinary actions must be taken against the offenders.

  50. 71 Clamdip
    February 17, 2010 at 17:08

    The point is why would a man take advantage of a drunk woman? This is a spiritual deficiency or at least follows the world’s opportunistic philosophy. Why don’t religions stem this type of twisted logic?

  51. 72 steve
    February 17, 2010 at 17:19

    @ Clamdip

    So if the guy is drunk as well, is the woman taking advantage of him as well? Why is this intoxification only a one way defense?

  52. February 17, 2010 at 17:27

    Men have no right to abuse women or take advantage of them . Respect is the key to all relationships. No one has a right to touch another physically unless there is a loving relationship between the two consenting individuals. Even when they have mutual consent to touch each other they have no right to harass the other physically or mentally. All contact has to be based on respect with no intention to hurt. Men behaving badly and taking advantage of drunk women are no better than beasts. They should be restrained and be charged in court if they have violated women. It is high time that civility exists and is practised.

  53. 74 Elizabeth Kuranchie
    February 17, 2010 at 18:16

    Rape can never be the victim’s fault.What is rape? I think by definition,rape is not the victim’s fault because before two people can make love,there should be an agreement.If they both agreed and everything goes on,I don’t think it would have be called “rape”.Now, it is rape because one person did not seek the consent of the other!Meaning that there was no room for consensus.So how can such thing be a blame on the victim.Ok,lets take it from a different perspective like the victim was not properly dressed or was intoxicated and so on.But there was nothing like “agreement” so personally, I don’t think the victim should be blamed for!

  54. 75 Chintan in Houston
    February 17, 2010 at 19:02

    Rape is an act of violence and not sex.
    Hence no rape can ever be considered as an outcome of the victims actions.

  55. 76 Clamdip
    February 17, 2010 at 19:24

    Yes, it goes both ways. You don’t take advantage of people when they’re drunk or emotionally vulnerable period!

    I don’t think you can chalk it up just to social/cultural conditions. Biology plays a big part. We need to understand this connection so that women are better protected in the future.

  56. 77 Robyn Lexington, KY USA
    February 17, 2010 at 20:14

    Rape is never the fault of the victim period. Some people use poor judgement in the decisions they make but that never excuses rape. I didn’t care for the people who blamed the drunks. Should a woman drink till she passes out. NO. But that doesn’t mean she deserves to get raped. My dad used to say “It is a sorry man that has to get a dead piece of ______.” Both sexes have been victims of the date rape drugs. Also the women who use false claims make it double hard on the true victims.

  57. 78 ms_cellaneous
    February 17, 2010 at 20:48

    By blaming the person who is raped you make exceptions for rapists and accept rape, as if you believe a member of your own family or indeed yourself could be capable of rape.

    Men are victims of rape as well as women.

    Women are capable of rape as well as men.

    If the women in the article were not drunk – making them an “easy target” then the rapists would still seek out other victims. Either way, the rapist is perverse criminal by definition.

    • February 21, 2010 at 05:43

      Thank you for pointing out the obvious, that so many people overlook – if there were no drunken women- rapists would rape sober women. The victim’s behaviour is irrelevant and if it is used as an excuse not to convict rapists, then they will continue to rape other women.

  58. 81 Colin L Beadon
    February 18, 2010 at 02:23

    There are men who have such low self esteem, they find themsleves unable to romance a woman, and so have to resort to rape. Such men must be pittied, since they will never fully appreciate the wonder of deep true love, and rape can find them eventually in jail, or dead.
    It is also true that there are women who do go out of their way in their dressing and behaviour, and so find themselves victimes of sexual abuse. And there are unfortunate women who get caught under exstreem un-looked – for circumstances and situations, through not fault of their own.
    I would implore all women to make sure they had some form ( or training) of self defence. My father, a Colonial policeman all his life, told me a woman was permitted to kill in defence of her honor. Never having permitted rape to enter my mind, I’ve prefered,… to have her fall in love with me.

  59. February 18, 2010 at 05:24

    I remember an Italian court overturning a rape conviction because the victim (threatened with a weapon) removed her jeans. Typical “blame the victim” thinking.

    The true point that is being lost in the noise is that rape isnt a crime involving sex – it’s about violence and damage.

    It’s only possible to believe that the women is at fault for being raped if you view females as purely sexual objects with no real worth outside of reproduction.

  60. February 18, 2010 at 07:53

    rape can never be by anybody’s consent! And dressing up or any of that has nothing to do with damaging the woman forever!

  61. February 18, 2010 at 12:37

    “So who is ultimately responsible in a rape? Could it ever be the victim?”
    Incidents of rape differ in situational variables so all parties involved do have a share of the blame. While the victim is plain unlucky in an event of rape. One cannot say that its was only the victims fault. The person committing rape is someone who is not mentally stable and has lost sense of control. Rape is committed often by someone who cannot take women from being more than a mother/wife/sister or being at equal in all terms with men. And at the point, when he cannot adjust to this in a more social, sensible, constructive way, all he thinks is to satisfy the bruised ego is the supreme act of showing that he is nothing more than an animal and cannot be tamed by her intentions of looking for an equal status.
    All this being said. Rape is not supported in nature, any form of society and thus individuals who go against this law of land and commit it are to be subjected to harsh punishment. While the victims bears the brunt of being a living example it is reasonable to blame one who commits entirely unless the victim has a share by the act of plain stupidity.

  62. 85 Nengak
    February 18, 2010 at 14:16

    No, no one can reasonably say rape was a fault of the victim.
    W may have complains about the victim – she was suggestive in her dressing, she was alone in dark corners, etc. but that is no ticket to getting rape. So we still have to address why an individual gets raped and the only person to answer in all honesty would be the rapist – but I doubt if any will be joining us on the show/blog.
    People give some nice advice: don’t walk alone in the dark etc. there is no guarantee that an individual who faithfully adheres to this piece of advice will never be raped. Conversely, there is no guarantee that those who disregard this advice in advertently get raped.
    Think about that.

  63. 86 Helen Richmond
    February 18, 2010 at 15:05

    I thought that this was an interesting article.


    Anna North – Do 18-24-year-old women believe that “ownership” of their sexuality — the freedom to dress and dance sexily if it makes them feel good — also means ownership of rape?

  64. 87 JanB
    February 18, 2010 at 15:18

    Of course it’s never the victim’s fault. That being said, it becomes a bit blurry when the victim was intoxicated (alcohol or other drugs) or when the “victim” was already in a sexual relationship with the perpetrator. I’d say rape is not when someone has sex with a person against that person’s will, but when someone has sex with a person knowing it is against that person’s will.

    There are women who tease men to the point of frustration, but that just means that she doesn’t deserve your attention and that you should ignore her, not that you should rape her.

  65. 88 gary indiana
    February 18, 2010 at 15:27

    I believe a raped individual within a close circle of women would find hiding the crime from her friends virtually impossible, and am wondering how many (what percentage of) female respondents have experienced dealing with the unreported rape of a friend (including from childhood). Also, one or more respondents seem to imply “drunken false rape allegation” accounts for significant percentage of such reported crimes. I don’t think this is true; but finding believable statistics on these subjects has been difficult. Can anyone cite peer-reviewed references reporting such data? Thanks.

  66. 89 patti in cape coral
    February 18, 2010 at 15:59

    I wonder if a lot of the gray areas in rape cases are because people are unwilling to be straight up about what they want. For example, my daughter was telling me that a lot of guys at the university level won’t ask a girl for a kiss, they kind of just go for it and see what happens, that seems to be standard operating procedure. Also, girls don’t seem to want to be asked, they want guys to “intuit” what they want. Asking the question straight up seems to be seen as ruining the mood. Maybe we need to get more comfortable with voicing what we want and what we don’t want clearly. As people have stated in the above comments, there is no gray area with the word “NO.” Maybe people should state clearly when they mean “YES” as well. I don’t think his will always solve every problem of mixed signals, but I think we’ve been depending too long on signals and need to just speak up and say what we mean, men and women both. And please don’t take this to be a defense of rapists or condemnation of the victims, that is not what I mean at all.

  67. 90 ML
    February 18, 2010 at 16:09

    What about this situation: If a man is walking down the street at night and he is beaten and robbed, do we say “he was asking for it”? Do we say, “he shouldn’t have been out at night — a man shouldn’t be out at night.” Do we say, “he shouldn’t wear a watch or an expensive sweater, or he’s asking for it. It’s his fault because he was walking home from the bar at 9 pm and he’d had a drink, so he deserved to be beaten and robbed?”

    Most cultures seem to really believe that women should be covered in long sleeves and long dresses and stay at home. Islamic cultures say this openly, but I would say these discussions about rape reveal it is the prevailing attitude around the world. If a women is not hidden — by clothing, or locked indoors — she is fair game for any man to attack her. Isn’t that what we seem to be hearing, from both women and men?

    Women are still considered prisoners and possessions of men.

  68. 91 Andrew in Australia
    February 18, 2010 at 16:10

    Ask yourselves this question.

    If a man is intoxicated and passed out in a dark laneway – would he be responsible if someone came upon him and (lets face it criminals are everywhere just waiting for a chance) stole his belongings?

    What if this criminal felt like beating the drunken man up? Still his fault for allowing himself to be drunk and out of control, placing himself in a vulnerable position?

    What if this man was sexually assaulted? If he was raped, as happens? Still his fault or not? He put himself in that situation didn’t he?

    What if it was a woman instead of a man?

    I didn’t raise this in my earlier post, but surely if you deliberately incapacitate yourself, regardless of the crime, you are ultimately responsible for your own well-being and what could happen to you? And in this day and age of an inability to accept responsibility, this must be considered as unsavoury as it sounds. Reading comments I feel that some people expect women to be able to skip down the roads and laneways naked and expect nothing to happen to her. I don’t even go around my own neighborhood at night on my own and I am 6’2 and solidly built.

  69. 92 audre
    February 18, 2010 at 16:17

    Why won’t anyone discuss the real issue… the role of women? For therein lies the clues to rape.

  70. 93 George Williams Bangirana
    February 18, 2010 at 16:25

    Hell Never.
    No matter what the circumstances.. rape in any form can never be a victim’s fault.
    I have reservations though about men being raped, as it doesnt click in ma world.
    Scared that some women blame themselves for the misfortune of being raped.
    Just lost for words

  71. 94 Kate M.
    February 18, 2010 at 16:27

    I used to be one of those people who thought “She should know better than to get in his car drunk or go up to his room dressed like that.” and “Going out alone is like asking to be raped.” That way of thinking is totally wrong. It’s insane. Rape is about control. Whether it is someone the victim knows or a stranger it’s no different. The attacker took advantage of a situation and asserted their control over another person. If sexual urges were that uncontrollable daily life would be nearly impossible. Can you imagine trying to go swimming?!

  72. February 18, 2010 at 16:29

    WHYS — what the heck is the matter with you guys? This is a non-issue to thinking people, especially if you substitute the word “murder” for “rape.” It’s a CRIME. A horrible, awful, hideous CRIME. I don’t care if the woman is lying naked unconscious in the street, SHE DOESN’T DESERVE TO BE RAPED, no more than she deserves to be murdered. The man has committed an EVIL. It’s WRONG. Yes, women should be sensible and not put themselves in likely danger of crimes — that’s just common sense for anyone — but I’ll tell you what a prison warden I know here in L.A. once told me. He said that, if someone wants to do something terrible to you, they’ll find a way. So here I am to tell any man who dares blame the woman that, when they rape a woman, they commit an unjustifiable act of evil. Period. Women are not responsible for when someone else makes the decision to hurt them. EVER.

    Not getting a lot of women commenting? Because it’s freaking obvious that rape is wrong. Just because 10% of the people in a survey are stupid beyond belief doesn’t mean it’s worth discussing. It just means that 10% of the people in that survey are stupid beyond belief. Maybe we should discuss THAT. Although, frankly, I don’t think it’s worth discussion. Mockery maybe. But not discussion.

    I might have to leave the blog altogether. It might be good for the show, but it’s NOT good for humanity to be debating this sort of thing. Advanced countries like Britain shouldn’t even give the appearance that things like this are up for debate. Where do you draw the line on a topic? When do you decide to not pander to backward thinking? It doesn’t deserve a voice, especially when it advocates evil like this.

    • February 21, 2010 at 06:10

      I totally agree with your stance on rape, but unfortunately lots of people don’t. I think that is why the BBC decided to do this, it is better to confront the misogynist views of an alarming portion of the British public than allow them to continue.

      I agree though that posing it as a question, as if any answer is equally valid is outrageous and they could have addressed it differently. I hope that the BBC uses the information picked up here about people’s attitudes and does some programs about rape that smash these “victims fault myths”.

  73. 97 dan
    February 18, 2010 at 16:34

    How a person walks and their overall demeanor can have an affect if they are a target to be mugged or not.
    Similarly with rape, the politically correct amongst up always claim it is a crime of violence and men are always to blame but I think there is more going on.
    Men and women are different in their sexual arousal mechanisms.
    Once aroused men can usually stop but it has its consequences.
    Then there are the women who bait a man to see how far along they can stimulate a man before he is able to shut off. There is a street description for these women and afterward an avalanche has occurred scream they have been raped.
    Outside of that my thoughts are that a woman should be cognizant where she places herself and be familiar with her surroundings to avoid getting raped.

    • February 21, 2010 at 06:20

      Dan, whether someone is sensible about taking precautions is not the same as being responsible for becoming a victim. You seem to think that the rapist has no control, as if wearing sexy clothes is like stepping out in front of a car. If you step out infront of a car and the car driver is too close to be able to stop, then yes you are responsible for being hurt. Rape is more like being on the pavement when a driver swerves onto it and deliberately knocks you down. Men are always capable of controlling themselves with regard to sex, some chose to rape.

      Also, surveys show that being in control is precisely what rapists like and part of why they rape.

  74. 99 Mohammed Ali
    February 18, 2010 at 16:36

    Interesting topic. As a person working to eliminate violence against women in Liberia with ActionAid International, it pains my heart to know that there are still people blaming survivors of rape for the untold sufferings brought to them by heartless and uncivilized men. Here in Liberia, most men blame women for their own rape because of how they dress and stuff like that. The question I want to ask is what about those babies, I mean 9 months, 2 years and so on that are raped in Liberia very frequently, are they to be blamed? or are just lossing our sense of humanity here?

  75. 100 landshar
    February 18, 2010 at 16:36

    No! Never ever! The morality bar is dragging the ground.
    Wake up Folks, look what your children are doing to each other. While we set around making excuses. Rape!
    Can you imagine more than 1 or 2 people actually state the victim might have some responsibility in the crime.
    Are you folks crazy!

  76. 101 Shona Elliott
    February 18, 2010 at 16:38

    I have just read all the comments above and feel very disheartened. Rape by it’s very definition is having sex with another person without their permission. The situation in which it occurred or how the victim behaved prior to the crime does not make it less of a crime. Those who have sadly experienced rape in their lives are truly victims because someone decided to take control of their body without consent. They were not responsible in any way and fault lies entirely with the attacker.

    The most cruel and destructive myth in our world is that somehow because of the way men are wired they are not responsible for acting on their own impulses. This is a rotten lie. Individuals are responsible for their own actions. It is not the duty of women to behave in a way that prevents men from acting in a specific manner as they are in control of how they behave not anyone else. It is views like those expressed above that prevent those who have been victim to rape from seeking help or even reporting the crime.

  77. 102 steve
    February 18, 2010 at 16:38

    YOu are ignoring that included in these rape statistics are “regret sex” where Radical feminists consider it to be “rape” for a woman to be drunk and consent to sex, and then later, the next day, retract consent by saying she wouldn’t have consented had she been sober. It is THESE cases that women are saying women bare some responsibility because they got drunk, and willingly had sex, then later regretted their decision. This is NOT talking about a woman being raped while walking down the street, or her house broken into, or being passed out drunk and being taken advantage of.

    • 103 Linda from Italy
      February 18, 2010 at 18:11

      Steve, I really don’t think you have much grasp on what feminism is and what it isn’t. From many of your posts you have obviously had some bad experiences with women, so I’ll be gentle.
      If I, as woman get drunk and consent to sex and then regret it, that is my problem and I would be just plain dishonest, to claim anything else, so far not so radical.
      I’ll freely admit that in my younger, single days I did occasionally wake up next to someone I wouldn’t normally pass the time of day with, but that’s life, you win some, you lose some.
      If however, I don’t consent, regardless of whether I am drunk or sober, and not consenting means simply saying no, stop or just gerroff – that is rape. The bit about women saying no when they mean yes is plain rubbish, and if there is the slightest doubt, stop what you’re doing!

  78. 104 Mukul, Groton,CT
    February 18, 2010 at 16:42

    Absolutely absurd to blame women for rape.
    Let’s do following then:
    * Put up signs on public beaches “BEWARE OF RAPISTS” so that women who
    would dress in a bikini are aware of the danger.
    * Apparel manufacturers should statutory warning “WEARING THIS DRESS INCREASING CHANCE OF RAPE”

  79. 105 Brad
    February 18, 2010 at 16:44

    All I have to say is that rape still occurs in those societies that require woment to be covered up – it is about control and not sex – it is about the belief that men should not be responsible for their urges.

    If a woman forgets to lock her dor brcause she dashes for the phone and some on comes in and rapes her is that her fault as well come on folks rape can never be a womans fault.


  80. 106 Robert Evans
    February 18, 2010 at 16:49

    Utter twaddle women and men who are raped are not the ones responsible for being raped it is the person who does it who is at fault. I should know having been raped before

  81. February 18, 2010 at 16:58

    I think there are two issues here:

    1) Is rape always rape? By definition: rape is the use of physical force or duress to impose sexual intercourse on another (usually women), hence there is no question that when force or duress is involved RAPE has taken place. (The definition does not include qualifiers as to dress, drunkenness, mental state, etc.)

    2) The British survey exposed that a majority of respondents blame the women victims for the rape, and this makes perfect sense. Until recently, the law held women to be responsible when men “lost control”, portraying men as the victims of seduction, teaching society that violence is excused in the case of forced sex, and even compromising the concept of violence in sex by terming it a crime of passion. In addition, women, as the historic caregivers, are used to feeling responsibility when harm befalls their family… hence (in a convoluted way) women blame other women for not “having behaved responsibly” through proper behavior / dress / etc. when rape befalls them. The report saddens me for my sex. We appear to deserve the stereotype of being the irrational half of society.

  82. 108 BRINDA
    February 18, 2010 at 16:59

    rape is never the victims fault, and i do not understand why the victim blame themselves for it. After all these years that must change.

    but i do believe that woman need to be more careful of what message they are trying to send. for example If you are not dressed conservatively and are going out to a party ,then go out with a bunch of reliable friends.Nothing wrong/weak in being careful.

    The fact is not all human being are saints nor have super self control. That said this is no excuse either. hurting someone physically has no excuse.It is plain wrong and the culprit /attacker must pay.

  83. 109 Linda from Italy
    February 18, 2010 at 17:09

    The trouble with the women’s behaviour causing or contributing to the crime argument is that it is so arbitrary and culturally dependent.
    What is “asking for it” in some cultures involves a woman going out anywhere unaccompanied, not wearing a tent or showing a strand of hair or two. In other others, wearing short skirts, skimpy tops and yes even (horror of horrors) getting a bit the worse for wear on alcohol should be acceptable and not an open invitation for some bloke to help himself to what he considers the goodies on offer.
    At the risk of repeating myself rape = continuing with a sexual act when the other person has said no, or is incapable of saying a rational yes, for one reason or another.
    However, regardless of what are considered societal norms, (usually imposed by men and/or a patriarchal religion) why does it always seem to be women’s behaviour, what they choose to wear or where they choose to go that is so often used to defend this crime of violence? Are we not all aware that rape has nothing whatsoever to do with sex, but is all about power and the attempt by those who feel themselves powerless to exert it any more civilised way.

  84. 110 kobi Hanson
    February 18, 2010 at 17:19

    its really hard to put any blame on a rape victim…they are just victims of of circumstances.There have been cases where girls known to be decent are raped,so you cant say its because “she wore a too revealing dress,too flirting etc.we should support victims of rape other than blaming them!

    Sent on a phone using T9space.com

  85. 111 Tom in the U.S.A.
    February 18, 2010 at 17:20

    The questions posed by “World Have Your Say” get more absurd as each day passes. I wish the editors would rethink the mission of the show.

  86. 112 DaveUK
    February 18, 2010 at 17:33

    I believe there is a point when the actions of the person allegedly raped led to the crime taking place. I myself got caught up in a situation whereby I met a girl at a party and after a while sh suggested going into a bedroom which we did and laid down on the bed and started to kiss and cuddle, after a while our hands began to roam over each others body intimately and i became highly aroused. At the point intercourse was going to occur she suddenly said she couldn’t. Although aroused I backed off however. Now had I ignored her protest at that precise moment would you call it rape? Rape is a horrible and degrading act for the victim but, as I said we have to be careful when stating there are no exceptions.

  87. 113 Linda from Italy
    February 18, 2010 at 17:33

    I’ve just read that “King of Wrong” codswallop and I’m seething.

    To quote: “Have 25% of women been forced down an alley at knifepoint and abused? No. It turns out that the definition of rape they’re using is “having sex when they did not want to”.
    So, yeah, “Not tonight dear, I’ve got a headache. Oh, go on then…” is rape. Who knew? Not feeling horny makes you a rape victim. Wonderful. So a substantial number of men will have been raped, too, when their wives were in the mood but they weren’t.
    Sometimes people have to do things they’re not keen on, but which mean a great deal to someone else. It’s hard work, and people are not entitled to happiness or effortless utopian relationships.”

    See what I mean about male attitudes? I would suggest, without going into the physiological details, that a man who isn’t interested, is unlikely to be able to complete the act (I’m not talking about male on male rape of course).
    Of course “not feeling horny” makes you a rape victim if the other person doesn’t respect that choice.
    I do not call a relationship in which a man respects that choice “Utopian” not least because any remotely sensitive man would not exactly get much pleasure out of a sex act with an unwilling partner, be she his regular or occasional partner.
    These sort of men are doing their own cause no good whatsoever by perpetrating the myth of beast with uncontrollable urges.

  88. February 18, 2010 at 17:40

    If I walk around carrying money, visible in my hand and someone knocks me down and steals it, is that my fault? What a silly question. Is that the best thing you could think of for today?

  89. 115 rob z.
    February 18, 2010 at 17:48

    I think we have done this one before.
    Simple,rape victims don’t (Ask for it);some may put themselves in bad situations,but that is no excuse for the assault.
    For men,it is frustrating to be told (No) after some physical contact;and his motor is running at full blast. But that is part of life.

  90. 116 Denise in Chicago
    February 18, 2010 at 18:00

    I am stunned that there are so many comments suggesting that there is a gray area where rape is concerned. There isn’t. Rape is a crime, and always, always the fault of the rapist – not the victim. No variables, no excuses.

    • 117 patti in cape coral
      February 18, 2010 at 18:42

      @ Denise – In general I would agree with you except that the fact that many rapists are not convicted shows that there are gray areas, at least where perception of rape is concerned. “No variables, no excuses.” Maybe no excuses, but there are definitely many variables.

      • 118 Denise in Chicago
        February 18, 2010 at 19:11

        Patti, I do not agree with you. If a woman says no, that’s it. If a man pushes further then he is guilty of rape. No variables, no matter what excuse is offered.

  91. 119 steve
    February 18, 2010 at 18:07

    There are some cases where the victim gets blamed. Going to “bad neighborhoods” and getting mugged or murdered, people will ask “what was he doing in Anacostia anyways?”

  92. 120 Cabe UK
    February 18, 2010 at 18:11

    The basic upbringing of a criminal should be looked at more than the Clothing or appearance of the wearer/ victim OR whether she/he chose to be drunk etc, etc. Children get raped and they don’t dress inappropriately and if people take sexual advantage of another persons incapacity or the way they ‘look’ etc – then that is exactly what it is – ‘Advantage’ and an exploitation of that person and they, (the rapist) are at fault. Rape is Never – Ever the fault of the victim.

  93. 121 Jalila
    February 18, 2010 at 18:16

    As a victim of sexual assault but not actual rape as a teenage girl by a 74 year old man, I think I have something to say. For the record, I was not provocatively dressed—in fact, I was working on a farm, wearing baggy clothes and I was probably smelly more often than not. I was not drunk, nor was my assailant, and I did not encourage this in any way.
    I worked with this old man every day and I trusted and respected him like a grandfather figure. I think ultimately I can blame myself only for being too polite and too trustful.

    Women—and men—should always make safe choices, but rape, sexual assault and abuse are never the fault of the victim.

  94. 122 steve
    February 18, 2010 at 18:17

    Argh, the “asburdity” of the question is only because thrown into rape, is “regret sex”. I dont’ think anyone is possibly referring to true, forcible rape. WHYS should just clarify the question.

  95. February 18, 2010 at 18:40

    Rape is a disgusting demonstration of male sexualty and barbarism. Sex should be a beautiful coming together of two consenting adults. Men who commit rape should be jailed for a considerable period. Rape recidivists should be admitted to secure mental homes. Being dressed provocatively should not come into the picture at all. Women should be allowed to dress the way they like.

  96. February 18, 2010 at 18:41

    Rape is an act of barbarism,it can never be the victims fault,even on a marginal basis.

  97. 125 patti in cape coral
    February 18, 2010 at 18:53

    Tom in the USA’s comment made me look at the question more carefully. The answer has to be an emphatic NO because if there is a victim who did not consent, it is always rape, and rape by definition cannot be the victim’s fault.

    I still think that clear communication between sexual partners with no ambiguity would be a good idea and would go a long way toward rapists not being able to say “I thought he/she was into it,”, etc.

  98. 126 jude
    February 18, 2010 at 19:06

    Talk about one step forward and three steps back! This question should not even be asked, let alone devoting a show to it. I’m actually disgusted by today’s broadcast–SHAME ON YOU!

    • 127 Natalie
      February 19, 2010 at 01:14

      I think that question is only being asked because there are people who do think that in, in certain situations, rape is the victims fault.

      I imagine that this is a topic of discussion to bring awareness of how, even in this modern day, we still have such backwards thinking.

      I am myself surprised that there are so many who think that a victim could be responsible for the crime of a rapist. I am not abhorred by this segment because it is bringing to light an area where we obviously need to change our thinking. There is no gray area in rape crimes rape is black and white. If the intercourse was not consensual then the rapist needs to be convicted. If the intercourse WAS consensual at the time that intercourse occured- then it is not rape!

      -Natalie in Portland, OR

  99. 128 steve
    February 18, 2010 at 19:09

    I think a woman can out herself in harm’s way but the raper is the one who commits the violation. The woman still has the responsibility to conduct herself in safe manner. On the other hand I think for men to under stand, we have to address male rape.

  100. 129 Brian
    February 18, 2010 at 19:10

    Let’s not forget men can be raped too.

    Los Angeles

  101. 130 Sherrie
    February 18, 2010 at 19:11

    No, no, NO! No one, regardless of how they dress, or their actions, is ever responsible for the reprehensible act of rape. Rape is not about sex, it’s about power and aggression. It is a crime. Period. The victim of any crime should never be blamed for being a victim.

  102. 131 Eric in France
    February 18, 2010 at 19:13

    If we think that NO has a contextual meaning, then you probably those christian, jewish and muslim religious who want women to remain cover outside and otherwise at home to serve the male. But even then, NO means NO.
    Those thinking otherwise are undercover criminals for whom the end justifies the means.

  103. February 18, 2010 at 19:13

    Consider what Susan is saying about men. Men have so little self control that the mere sight of a provocatively dressed woman pushes them into a forcible assault for their own pleasure.

    She also implies that the men have a right to expect sex from a provocatively dressed woman. Men are half of the human race; they are not the rulers of women, although many men think they are, they are the partners of women, and they have to be trained to say NO to their own impulses if those impulses would lead them to impose sex on a woman without her consent. No means no.

  104. 133 steve
    February 18, 2010 at 19:13

    I’m shocked that your guest says that men are leniently treated in cases of rape. It’s seriously prosecuted, and a mere allegation of rape can completely destroy someone’s life. People get very very strong penalties, including life in jail and execution for rape. it’s dishonest to say men are treated leniently.. The Duke Lacrosse players had their reputations completely destroyed by a mere false rape accusation and an overly zealous prosecutor breaking the law to make a name for himself.

    I’m really shocked that people are talking about forced, nonsentual rape as if it’s the woman’s fault, however, the show IS ignoring that many cases “of rape” are actually after the fact regret about having sex drunk, where they say that the alcohol makes it rape, even though she consented.. THAT’s the issue here.

  105. 134 Denise in Chicago
    February 18, 2010 at 19:15

    The first guest, Susan, hasn’t a clue. Suggesting that behaviors or manner of dress invites rape – good lord, what planet does she live on?? I’m going to have to stop listening if BBC keeps allowing such ludicrous guests.

  106. 135 Mac
    February 18, 2010 at 19:16

    Absolutely not!! That would be the equivalent of blaming someone for getting murdered because they walked down a dark alley alone. There are simply two types of sexual intercourse: consensual and rape. We must remind ourselves not to be victim focused. That is, look at the crime committed and the criminal involved. If a trial were to take place for the person walking through the dark alley, it would be preposterous to claim that it was his fault for doing so.

  107. 136 Torch
    February 18, 2010 at 19:17

    Absolutely not, period!

    It isn’t that they are contributing to the problem or that they are responsible. What it is, is that they are not doing everything that they can to keep themselves safe. They shouldn’t have to, but the reality is that in many parts of the world, for now they do.

    Some situations are equivalent to someone walking through the most dangerous part of town in the middle of the night. If they are robbed or killed, they aren’t to blame, but they didn’t take all the steps that they could to protect themselves.

  108. 137 Tracy in Portland
    February 18, 2010 at 19:17

    Never, never, never is it their fault. A person can mitigate their risk of being a victim. But to say it is a victims fault is vile.

    If you forget to lock your car is it your fault someone steals something from it. Is it your fault if someone breaks into your home, you really should have had an alarm system. Some guy is beat half to death in a bar fight, well he really was annoying.

    How we can excuse a rapists this way disgusts me. Rapists are predators. They are looking for an opportunity. Yes, if a woman makes the mistake of putting herself somewhere he has the upper hand she will become a victim. That doesn’t change that the rapist is a predator. Like a child molester. Would we blame a child for trusting a pedophile? These people are monsters, they just prey on adult women. And hey whose to say your young daughter might not just suit his needs, given the opportunity.

  109. February 18, 2010 at 19:17

    I am tired of this type of ignorance. Rape is rape. No woman is at fault. I am tired of men behaving badly but the woman gets the blame. Are they so stupid or dimwitted or weak that seeing a woman in a bikini means she asks to be raped? Rape=power. It has nothing to do with sex. It has nothing to do with who is to blame. It is the man’s way of proving his domination and society abets in this sterotype. It works the same as sexual harassment. Power. The one in power abuses it to prove they are men or manly. What it truly does, is prove what a whimpish, sorry loser he is. Especially when date rape drugs are deliberately used to render the person helpless. I do not care if she is naked. If she said no. IT MEANS NO!!!! GET IT!!!! Grow up and get a grip.

  110. 139 Kelly in North Carolina USA
    February 18, 2010 at 19:17

    If a man shares a room with other men at a hotel and is then raped by the other men, is it the fault of the man? That logic follows the arguments of people who say a woman who is raped is at fault because of the circumstances in which she places herself.

  111. February 18, 2010 at 19:18

    I think the subject is being clowded. Of course A woman is not responsible for being attacked. However, women need to take care. If I leave my wallet on my dash and the window rolled down, I can’t expect it to be there when I get back. Likewise, a woman is far less likely to be attacked sober in her livingroom as opposed to passed out at the end of the bar at 4 AM.

  112. 141 Jennifer From Albany, NY
    February 18, 2010 at 19:18

    Saying that a woman contributes to her attack by wearing certain clothing is like saying that by going out and having a few drinks she is contributing to someone else’s alcoholism.

    • 142 Ibrahim in UK
      February 18, 2010 at 19:38

      If someone is alcoholic and she offers them a drink?
      If someone is a murderer and she offers them a knife and her back?
      If someone is a thief and she offers them her house keys?
      If someone is a rapist and she offers them a drunken, semi-naked body alone in a dark alleyway?

      She’s not to blame for who someone else is and the crimes they commit, but she is to blame for being irresponsible. Blaming for being irresponsible and blaming for being raped are 2 very different things, but there seems to be the tendency to confuse the two and suggest that irresponsible people deserve what they get. It’s almost like a parental attitude to a naiive child: “stupid child, that’s what happens when you play with fire”, except “fire” is all the evils in the world.

  113. 143 Jerry
    February 18, 2010 at 19:19

    While the vast majority of rape victims are just that – victims and nothing else, it is absurd to deny that certain behaviour can provoke this crime.

    If a man walks through Compton in LA dressed in a KKK outfit and chanting racist slogans, he’s quite likely to be killed or seriously assaulted. How many people would say he was an innocent victim?

    Rape, like murder or assult is never ok, but the victim is not always entirely blameless.

  114. 144 Becky Smith
    February 18, 2010 at 19:20


    I do feel strongly that guys that truly rape a woman should be punished much more harshly than they are at present.

    However, there are a number of cases where girls lead a guy on, make bad decisions and then “cry rape” after the event to make themselves look better.

    This is always going to be the problem, who really knows what happened? The perception of the “come on” is so subjective, we can never know.

    If the sentences were more severe, it would be a deterrent to guys to not get into a compromising situation.

  115. 145 richard
    February 18, 2010 at 19:20

    the question should not be whether rape can ever be justified. it can never be justified, because it is rape. nevertheless, women should face up to the fact that men might react to certain behaviours in a certain, testosterone related, way. so to avoid the kind of suffering that rape brings, women should have that in mind in situations in which such things may occur. this is not said to justify violent behaviour from men, but just practically to avoid rape from happening.

    another important question then is: was it rape or was it not? there have been enough cases where a woman who actually consented to having sex in the instant that it was happening “reinterpreted” the situation afterwards, accusing the man of rape. that is the point where the man becomes the victim, often leading to terrible consequences for him.

  116. 146 Ron
    February 18, 2010 at 19:20

    Men are not animals who cannot control their passions. We should not encourage this mis-perception. When a partner or potential partner says, “no.” It is the man’s responsibility to be in control enough to stop, no matter how aroused or disappointed he may have become. The more parents teach their sons that to be in control of themselves in this way is what society expects of “good” men, the sooner a culture that looks the other way to crimes against women will become a thing of the past. Let us not forget that rape is really about power. We must make it a thing of shame for the more powerful to exercise unwanted force upon anyone less powerful — physical or otherwise.

  117. 147 Alan in Arizona
    February 18, 2010 at 19:21

    A real man would not take advantage of a drunk, sexually provocatively dressed woman. A real man would respect her no matter what her condition. If she couldn’t say no because of excessive drink or drugs then a real man should be intelligent enough and considerate to know that the answer is no right from the start.

    If a man can’t understand the simple rules then they are just Neanderthal’s running amok. We need to cull the herd.

  118. 148 Michelle from Jamaica
    February 18, 2010 at 19:21

    I feel for the victims of rape who have to endure this programme!!

  119. 149 matthew in Oregon
    February 18, 2010 at 19:22

    Perhaps a more sensible sort of question is what is the appropriate punishment for rapists, along the continuum of violent brutal rape of a stranger to rape involving two drunk naked people in bed together.

  120. February 18, 2010 at 19:22

    There is a difference between rape and regret.

  121. 151 Jamzz Gee
    February 18, 2010 at 19:22

    This is an amazing concept.

    What restrictive attitudes exist in the world.

    No. Never is the victim ever responsible for rape.

    Now I’m not saying accusations of rape can not be falsified or exaggerated.

    But the idea that “She DROVE me to the point of no return” is patently riduculous. There is no amount of seductiveness that could ever “Drive” a man to rape if he has even a modicum of self control. This concept abuses women and is embarrassing to men.

  122. 152 Shane
    February 18, 2010 at 19:22

    Just as much as you would blame someone who had their bicycle stolen after leaving it unlocked and unattended, if it was locked in your garage then that would be a different story.

  123. 153 Clamdip
    February 18, 2010 at 19:24

    Male dogs often have the compulsion to mount any random female dog. Similiarly, some men can have this same compulsion. It seems to be a hard wired response in their brain. Women need to understand how men’s brains work in order to protect themselves. I would never condone rape but I do want to understand the male psyche and how it works because that knowledge would help me avoid any potential risk.

  124. February 18, 2010 at 19:25

    How come in some cultures people are naked all the time/daily, and they are drunken and what not, yet you don’t see anyone being raped daily?

    See, it doesn’t make sense. It’s pure cultural/religious crap.

    “If you are asking for killing, you deserve being killed”.

  125. 155 Naomi Derner
    February 18, 2010 at 19:25

    I think the answer is clear cut. Sex is either consensual or not consensual. If its not consensual it is rape, end of story. I don’t care what the woman is wearing, what she has drunk, if she was dancing provocatively, kissed the man or went further. The second the woman decides things have gone far enough, that is the end, even if they are naked at the time. if the man ends up having sex with her after that, its rape and he should be prosecuted like a criminal.

  126. 157 Karma, London
    February 18, 2010 at 19:26

    If you think the woman is somehow to blame, consider a slightly different situation: what if a vulnerable, elderly person walks through a dangerous neighbourhood at night and gets mugged or beaten up? Should they be held in some way responsible for that violent act against them? Are they consenting to be beaten up just by walking through a dangerous neighbourhood? I think most people would agree that, at worst, the elderly person has taken a foolish risk. But surely no one would say that somehow they “deserved” to be hurt. So why do people think women deserve to be raped?

  127. 158 Todd in Atlanta
    February 18, 2010 at 19:27

    Let’s not be naive.
    We ALL know, or have heard of women that behave in an inappropriate manner, carry themselves in an over-provocative way, and (passive aggressively) put themselves in situations where the WRONG individual will fully take advantage of the opportunity and rape a woman. There are also cases of such women entrapping men into a rape accusation.

    That being said, there are always boundaries and MEN need to learn to exercise those boundaries much more.

    Guys, I don’t care what signals she sends or how naked she gets in your bed, ‘NO’ means you put a stop to the situation, and as a rule avoid any sexual situation with any woman that is drunk in any way, Sex is only okay if it’s consentual and you’ve both given each other permission. End of story!

  128. February 18, 2010 at 19:27

    A few years back, a girlfriend of mine was raped by her boss at work. I considered her partly responsible and could never forgive her because she went out with him willingly, drank until she was drunk, then went to his house with him.

    Obviously, he is responsible and broke the law, but I also consider her responsible because she broke our trust.

  129. 160 dan
    February 18, 2010 at 19:27

    @Shona Elliott
    “Individuals are responsible for their own actions” WOW!!! What a concept but it flies in the face of today’s political climate where everyone is a victim.

    Seriously, I cannot see an absolute here. I have taught my Daughter how to observe and be aware of her surroundings and if she even FEELS threatened, what to do but if confronted to scream “FIRE” at the top of her lungs, kick the guy in the groin and run.
    In the end we each are responsible for our own safety and a woman who walks alone in a darkened area, or is oblivious to her own surroundings, dress inappropriately for the circumstances, leave a window open or “baits” a man hold some degree of responsibility for as YOU said “individuals bear the responsibility for their own actions”.

    • 161 Leslie
      February 18, 2010 at 20:10

      I think the issue is that usually women are not followed down a dark alley by a stranger and raped at knifepoint, though that does happen. We’re talking about a situation where there’s no opportunity to yell FIRE and run. Your daughter should not have to go through life looking everywhere for would-be rapists. She should be able to go out, drink, dance, and enjoy a night on the town without thinking that any man she talks to might rape her. As for “baiting”, does that mean a woman should never flirt with a man, in case he misconstrues her innocent act with a desire to be raped?

      By the way, it’s better to kick out the knees than the groin – better chance of getting away.

  130. 162 patti in cape coral
    February 18, 2010 at 19:28

    That’s an interesting point. It’s obvious that when a woman is drunk or nearly passed out, and a man takes advantage, that is rape because she was in no state to consent. But what if they are both drunk? Gosh stupid behavior does provoke some interesting questions…

  131. 163 Kate M.
    February 18, 2010 at 19:28

    So if a woman kisses a man he has the right to rape her?

    • 164 patti in cape coral
      February 18, 2010 at 21:20

      @Kate- I’m not sure if your question was directed at me, but no, if a woman kisses a man, he does not have the right to rape her. A person never has the right to rape another person because rape is engaging in sex without consent of the partner. What I am saying is when one party is drunk, and the other party is equally drunk, there is a question as to how much either of them are responsible for their behavior and consent gets muddled.

      I hate to agree with Steve, because sometimes his comments seem borderline misogynistic to me, but I have to agree that we cannot just take the word of an alleged rape victim without further investigation and due process.

      • 165 Kate M.
        February 19, 2010 at 16:08

        Oh no Patti, it was not directed at you. It is my interpretation of the comments from one of the women on the show. The idea that the lines of how far someone will go sexually are blurred. It’s like saying because you kiss or touch someone they can expect sex. And if they are denied then rape is not so bad. That is a dangerous way of thinking. Maybe I am taking her comments the wrong way but that is what it sounded like to me.

  132. 166 Jeanette
    February 18, 2010 at 19:28

    I don’t think women realize how much the visual can be a trigger for men. For many men the first step of arousal is merely sight. Thus we women need to be more conscious (most of us don’t have the same trigger) and careful about how we dress.

    That said, rape is NEVER justified. I don’t care if a woman is stark naked–that doesn’t give any man the right to assault her. “No” means “no”. Period.

  133. 167 Deb
    February 18, 2010 at 19:28

    Often when women say that rape is the fault of the victim it is often because we need to identify why this happens and if I don’t do this same action it can’t happen to me.

    Rape is a crime of power not a crime of passion.

  134. February 18, 2010 at 19:29

    Obviously, there is considerable ignorance about this topic on the part of a lot of people in the developing world. I am a retired law enforcement officer and I can tell you that here in America we are all on the same page about rape. Rape is clearly a crime against the victim (yes, a man can also be raped) that involves force, not passion and it is all about power, not sex. In other words, it is NEVER the victim’s fault. Yes, there are often circumstances leading up to the event that in hindsight might be viewed as assisting the rapist in his activities but there is a general presumption within civilized society that we are safe from such attacks under normal circumstances. Rapes occur when a criminal crosses the line, not when the victim crosses the line.

    Yes, women sometimes get carried away in terms of dress or actions, but the idea of any rape victim being responsible for their rape is repulsive and incredibly ignorant.

    By the way, I have never heard of a case of rape being filed after both parties end up in bed with their clothes off. If two consenting people reach this point, the result of sexual intercourse should be predictable. This is NOT what “Rape” is all about.


  135. 169 john sims
    February 18, 2010 at 19:29

    Rape has no excuse. The responsiblity rests on the person that is forcing themselves on someone else. I doesn’t matter if minds change once “no” is said that is it and men using their physical power to take advantage. Rape is more of a power fetish than a sexually fetish. Putting the ottis on the victium is rediculous.
    John, salt lake city

  136. February 18, 2010 at 19:29

    I have known of a case where both parties mutually agreed to have intercourse, yet because someone else complained, a person was sent to court and had to pay fines. So, in some cases the law is so screwed up.

  137. 171 Amy Field
    February 18, 2010 at 19:30

    Rape is the fault of the rapist and only the rapist. I agree with jude the question should not be asked as this very question is irresponsible as it gives permission to a potential rapist that it is the woman’s fault and not theirs. They are off the hook if this view is accepted.




  138. 172 Irene
    February 18, 2010 at 19:31

    What’s with these women who like to blame other women for being “too seductive”? Just how ugly and bitter are you that you need to blame another woman for being raped?

    • 173 Linda from Italy
      February 18, 2010 at 21:18

      Irene, couldn’t agree more, I’m knocking on 60 and am not exactly a pretty sight as I work from home so no longer have to create the “right” visual image , I wear make up about once every 6 months, and my legs are long past mini-skirts. But if I were 30 years younger and dressed up to the nines I still don’t get it that if I say no to some bloke and he takes no notice because I happen to be young and pretty I have somehow brought this all on my self. I sense a Right Wing findamentalist “Christian” agenda here, I definitely smell a rat……

  139. 174 A.J.
    February 18, 2010 at 19:33

    Gawd, no! It may be irresponsible, it may be stupid, but no matter how drunk or provocatively dressed a woman is, there is no excuse for men to rape someone. If a man ends-up in bed with a drunk woman, for instance, how can he believe that she is an equal, cognizant participant in a sexual act? And if a woman says “NO”, that should be respected. I am a man, but regardless of how “slutty” a woman may dress or how unsafely she may behave, there is no excuse for rape. However, a woman must always keep in mind that most men have great difficulty controlling their libidos and any enticement may be misinterpreted or could lead to a lesser man finding himself unable to control his overpowering sexual drive. But, that still isn’t a woman’s fault.

  140. 175 Myrene Brown
    February 18, 2010 at 19:33

    The British study that found a conviction of rape was less likely if the woman was drunk makes me wonder if a man was drunk and beaten would it be less likely for an assault conviction to be made. If in either case the victim being drunk makes a conviction unlikely our attitudes need to be changed.

  141. 176 Steve in Portland
    February 18, 2010 at 19:33

    this idea that there is a difference between “stranger rape” and “frat boys getting drunk” is unbelievably ridiculous. If a guy shoots and kills another guy, can he use the excuse “well, I was drunk, and that guy was yelling at me a lot, so he was asking for it” ? NO! theft, vandalism, etc – there is no other crime that i have ever heard of where a victim can potentially be blamed. there is no such thing as “invites it on themselves” – it’s always a woman’s choice, regardless of the circumstances, and if a girl says no or objects, and a guy continues anyway, it doesn’t matter if they know them or not, it is rape.

  142. 177 Wade
    February 18, 2010 at 19:34

    I can’t believe we’re still having this discussion. Non-consensual sex is always rape. No means no and there are no excuses!

  143. 178 Tracy in Portland
    February 18, 2010 at 19:34

    If the law enforcement community started prosecuting drunken party boys maybe views would change. Ironically one could make a similar argument against the frat boys. Maybe if they stayed sober they wouldn’t potentially get convicted of rape. If there is compelling evidence sexual intercourse occured and evidence of which male had sex with the woman, why not convict the male. Does his testimony carry more wieght.

    Hmm, men might be a lot more careful who they choose to lay down with.

  144. 179 Rob
    February 18, 2010 at 19:34

    Rape is a power and control issue by men. Sex is they way they administer it. It has no bearing on the on othere factors. NO means no, period, no matter at what point it is applied.

  145. 180 Sean
    February 18, 2010 at 19:35

    No will always mean no, but for rape to occur someone needs to say “no” and be ignored. There shouldn’t ever be ambiguity when it comes to sexual relationships; women need to be adamant that they either want sex or they don’t, and “maybes” or “we’ll sees” don’t count.

  146. 181 Alexandra
    February 18, 2010 at 19:35

    I can’t believe that anyone could image that rape is the woman’s fault. A woman has just as much right to get drunk and enjoy a party as a man does. So why is it only their responsibility to make sure nothing happens? If that’s the case then men shouldn’t get drunk on the off chance that they would misunderstand something and end up taking advantage of a woman.
    There are no “levels” of rape. Rape is rape PERIOD. If either partner says no, that’s the end of it. There is no wiggle room.
    People are responsible for their choices, but when they say NO they’ve made their choice.

  147. 182 steve
    February 18, 2010 at 19:36

    It’s sad that some guests think that the word of an alleged rape victim should be taken as gospel. The reason why the victim has to give testimony is because the accused has a RIGHT to confront their accuser. So men should be just thrown in jail and the key thrown out if a woman just says a gman raped her, and not worry about the truth of the matter?

  148. 183 Malaika
    February 18, 2010 at 19:36

    The woman discussing “Acquaintance Rape” clearly doesn’t understand what the definition of that is. Acquaintance Rape is defined as rape by someone you know, period. It doesn’t mean you got into bed with them or that you were drunk and making out with them. It means that you were raped by someone you know and trusted yourself to be alone with and not get attacked. There are many women on US campuses who are raped by male friends after they had made it clear that they were not interested in any sexual interaction. A lot of the victims are sober. By the way, we’re excluding how many acquaintances drugged their victims to obtain an appearance of consent. Alcohol is a drug often used by guys for the sole purpose of lowering a woman’s inhibitions before they “make their move”. How often have we heard guys talking about taking a girl out and plying her with drinks in order to get her to go home with him? Isn’t that already a sign that he’s not interested in her conscious consent?

  149. 184 Mike in NC
    February 18, 2010 at 19:36

    When a lady is raped it is in every circumstaance the mans fault, no questions. However women who engage in limited activity cannot expect the man to know where thier boundaries are unless they “COMMUNICATE” those boundaries. in the instance where they have and the man has exceeded those boundaries it is unquestionably rape.

  150. 185 jesse
    February 18, 2010 at 19:37

    the only thing a woman invites or should expect if she dresses or acts provocatively is to be ogled and at worst talked about by others who are there to witness her behavior. anything else is clearly a violation of rights.

  151. 186 Bob
    February 18, 2010 at 19:37

    Interesting question. Can murder ever be the fault of the victim?

  152. 187 Natalie
    February 18, 2010 at 19:37

    The rapist is ALWAYS the person responsible for a rape.

    Of course, in certain situations, a person can blame themself for being there… but the victim cannot be held accountable for the actions of the rapist.

    If you cannot control your sexual desires… Drunk or not then you need to be rehabilitated in some way so that you can.

    You can expect with certain behavior ie drinking, going with strangers etc that you are putting yourself in higher risk for rape… But that doesn’t change the fact that rape is UNWANTED and the violater needs to be convicted.

    I also believe that there is such a thing as consensual rape…. where a person gives in so as to stop further and possible violent rape.

  153. 188 janni
    February 18, 2010 at 19:37

    To the woman who seems to think that the only stranger rape is rape: I was raped by by my own husband, and I had gone to bed with him willingly and even began to consent to sexualy activity, But I did not consent to violent premature penetration with my throat being strangled. Rape occurs when a boundary is crossed, when consent does not occur.

  154. 189 Kristin
    February 18, 2010 at 19:38

    I think it is fascinating that we don’t impute responsibility on the victim in other crime situations if he or she was drunk at the time–i.e., muggings, battery, or other forms of physical assault. The topic simply does not come up. I think the fact that we are even asking these questions reflection of deep, ancient, cultural biases about women and sexuality.

  155. 190 Wade
    February 18, 2010 at 19:38

    Date-rape is NOT Hookup regret. And forced sex IS a power game and an oppressive dynamic. Alcohol is not an excuse.

  156. 191 Todd in Atlanta
    February 18, 2010 at 19:38

    To add to what I said earlier…

    …men, who aren’t necessarily seductively dressed, have been rendered drunk or unconcious, and raped by other men. What’s the gray area there?! Rape, any rape, is ALWAYS wrong, and we don’t need to dance around that.

    Now how issues surrounding provocative inappropriate behavior needs to be addressed too, but rape is NOT deserved.

  157. 192 steve
    February 18, 2010 at 19:39

    I don’t think the one caller understands that the scope rape is greater than a college campus. Countries that have no colleges still have rape. The caller seems to be polarized around the college experience for her.

  158. 193 Melissa
    February 18, 2010 at 19:39

    The american woman obviously has issues with the campus rape issue and women getting drunk, I wonder why? Rape is rape, no means no, and if the women was consensual then it’s rape whether the woman is drunk or not.

    This american woman is talking about something more off topic than the rest of the women.

  159. 194 Leslie
    February 18, 2010 at 19:39

    Ms. MacDonald, I am amazed that at this day and age some people still hold the outdated idea that any woman who drinks and parties and also happens to get raped is responsible. I also deplore the idea that college students who get raped are usually responsible. I have a friend who got drunk at a bar and caught a cab home (instead of going home with a man). She was raped by the cab driver. So what would you suggest she should have done? By your rules, she did the right thing, but she still got raped.

    Furthermore, you define “stranger rape” and “rape where the woman is responsible”. Do you believe that a woman can never be raped by her boyfriend or husband? In that case, is it her fault? What about a male friend that suddenly decides he wants more?

    Most of the women who sleep with men at parties do NOT claim that it was rape. Please do not belittle the horrific crimes that regularly occur, for which women are NOT RESPONSIBLE!

  160. 195 John R.P. Russell
    February 18, 2010 at 19:40

    Firstly, no, rape is never the victim’s fault, regardless of what lead up to it – the suggestion is absurd. However, there is a side issue that is not being well addressed: public intoxication and public indecency are also crimes, albeit much lesser crimes, the better enforcement of which would likely reduce the number of rapes.

  161. 196 Tom D Ford
    February 18, 2010 at 19:40

    About this guest talking about date rape at campus keggers or hookup parties;

    She wants to blame the women.

    But I think that we need to hold the alcohol companies accountable because they promote those kinds of parties and that kind of irresponsible drinking.

  162. 197 Adrien From San Francisco, CA
    February 18, 2010 at 19:40

    The only possible way a woman can be blamed for rape is if she literally and verbally asks to be raped. As a man I resent the idea that men are somehow not responsible for their actions. There is also an implication made by those who would blame women that men are not intelligent enough to know what they are doing is wrong. Believe me, 99.9% of men in this world know they are doing something wrong if they rape. That rape still exists in this world is due to cultural dysfunctions that sadly still exist in every society to a lesser or greater degree. We must continue to evolve away from this state of affairs.

  163. 198 Amanda in Portland
    February 18, 2010 at 19:41

    I don’t understand why the American conservative is assuming that every drunken rape is actually when people get in bed together.

    When I was 17 I got drunk at a small New Year’s Eve party and passed out. I woke up to someone I barely knew raping me. While I should probably have not drunk that much, the responsibility for this rape is squarely on the man.

    Rape is the responsibility of the one committing it. When a woman is drunk, passed out, or incapable of making her intentions known, you don’t have sex with her. It is an act of violence.

  164. February 18, 2010 at 19:42

    I’m tired of listening to this woman argue that if you’re a drunken coed, the rape is your fault. Given a drunken frat party, if the girl changes her mind at the last minute and says “no” – and the example someone gave of agreeing to sex with a condom and then finding that the man has no condom but intends to go ahead anyway is absolutely valid here – the minute she says “no” and he proceeds anyway, it becomes rape. Period. No matter how drunk they are.

  165. February 18, 2010 at 19:42

    By definition ‘rape’ can not be the victim’s fault. The question is loaded so to speak. However, there is a difference between rape and regret.

  166. 201 TS
    February 18, 2010 at 19:43

    No. I do not think a woman can be held accountable for rape. Rape IS a power and violence game. I was the victim of date rape before that terminology was defined.

    I knew my attacker and declined his advances, but he was twice as strong as me and overpowered me. Neither of us were drunk. He was my tutor.

    THAT WAS NOT MY FAULT and any woman who finds herself in that position is NOT accountable for such actions.

  167. 202 ikate
    February 18, 2010 at 19:44

    I can’t believe this is still a discussion! No means no weather you are turning down an unwanted advance at the grocery store or telling a man that you want to stop after some foreplay.

    And sober or not, since when does doing or saying something make you contractually obligated to have sex with someone? I could be ready, willing and wanting to have sex with someone until I realize they don’t have a condom, or they look ill or a million other little things that could change my mind. But some people are saying that if he then physically forced me to have sex then it’s not really rape? That’s the most insane train of thought I’ve ever encountered!

  168. 203 roxie in usa
    February 18, 2010 at 19:44

    I think a woman should avoid situations where she wouldn’t be able to protect herself. Dark parking lots; driving with one’s doors unlocked; driving to strange places without first learning ‘where’ you’re going; taking drinks from COMPLETE STRANGERS – these activities open a door of opportunity that is best left closed.

    There are unfortunately also situations such as a male acquaintance KNOWINGLY takes advantage of a situation like a woman’s prescription medication that might incapacitate her ability to object. Even if there is no PHYSICAL injury, the emotional violence still exists – one person stealing sexual power over another.

  169. 204 Petrina
    February 18, 2010 at 19:44

    Rape happens in other situations then “drunken frat parties”. Also it is very important to remember that there is not just 2 types of rape. Drunken rape or “stranger rape”. 90% of rape is committed by people the women knows, it could be one’s boyfriend, husband, friend etc. The fact that you are dating someone or know them does not mean that you want to have sex with them all the time. Being thus forced, and by that I do mean she has said she is not interested and still being forced.

    There is also a big difference between a “one night stand” and rape. I would say most women understand that. And most women who have been raped definitely know the difference between being raped and not.

  170. 205 Traci from North Carolina, USA
    February 18, 2010 at 19:46

    No, there is no excuse for rape…ever.

    My only issue with drinking and rape is perception. If you drank so much the previous night that you cannot remember anything about that night, then how do you know what you did or said to the man you were with? Still not a justification for rape, just a curiosity question. If it was consensual when you were drunk, but you have regrets when you are sober, is it still rape?

  171. 206 Tony Dunham
    February 18, 2010 at 19:46

    Isn’t there a correlation here between non-Muslim’s criticism of the radical Muslim view that women should cover up and the idea that a woman can wear what she wants, where she wants, when she wants without tacitily agreeing to sex with anyone? In a civilised society you can wear what you want, I hope, without some immature and frankly criminal men deciding that they have been provoked too much. Men who attack are sad, ill people. That’s it. No excuse.

  172. 207 Fred in Portland Oregon
    February 18, 2010 at 19:47

    As a guy, I’ll say:


    Alchol lowers my inhibitions down to the reptile level: fight, flight, eat and reproduce. If you want higher primate functions like love, and cuddling, get my phone number and call me tomorrow afternoon, after the hangover is done.

    • 208 Tracy in Portland
      February 18, 2010 at 20:49

      Geez, hope you don’t get convicted for rape someday. Of course getting out of control drunk like that I suppose it really is you fault after all.

  173. February 18, 2010 at 19:47

    With all due respect to your guest Heather, rape and sexual assault is far more than women getting drunk and hooking up with people. This is fundamentally an issue of power from the perpetrator’s perspective and not whether a woman (or anyone else for that matter) gets drunk and hops into bed with someone. As a man, I find Heather’s eagerness to single out feminists in her arguments rather ludicrous and quite frankly offensive.

  174. 210 Chris
    February 18, 2010 at 19:51

    My ex in college went to a bar with her sorority to meet a fraternity. there was a guy trying to take her home. she said no, no and told the other girls she wasn’t interested. she got drunker and her friends allowed her to be taken home by the guy who raped her while she was sleeping. She was blacked out. It is rape whenever it is not consenual. just because a girl cant fight a guy off and he didnt break into her apartment doesnt mean its not rape. I have been in situations with blacked out girls and you have to be able to use your head and not prey on incapacitated women. What really hurts me is that she blamed her self even though she had so no, no and no.

  175. 211 Amee
    February 18, 2010 at 19:51

    Considering sperm is a deadly weapon, considering the diseases it can carry… rape is a potentially deadly, violent act.

  176. February 18, 2010 at 19:51

    It is mind-blowing that anyone could consider rape, which is an act of violence and oppression, the “fault” of anyone except the perpetrator.

    It is further mind-blowing that there is any ambiguity concerning the definition of rape.

    Telling women that policing their own behavior will somehow prevent rape — “don’t walk alone at night without a flamethrower and a pack of Dobermans” — is the same as asserting that women ought not have the same rights as men. Preposterous.

  177. 214 Pat
    February 18, 2010 at 19:52

    1. I believe “No” means “No”.
    2. Let’s not forget that men are also victimized and women can also be the perpetrators.
    3. Something to consider : What if I dress up in a Ku Klux Klan outfit and go to a bar in a heavily minority neighborhood late at night. Then I start talking and behaving in a racist manner. If (or when) I get beaten, would you say that I deserved it? Would you say that my dress and my actions brought this upon myself?

  178. 215 Tom D Ford
    February 18, 2010 at 19:52

    Your Conservative guest is just twisting this into an attack on Feminism.

    Conservatives have always fought against womens rights, they defeated the ERA, they fought against the right of women to vote, and this is just more of the same.

    Conservatives want to blame their victims and this is just one more Conservative woman who wants to blame women for being raped.

    Rape is never the fault of the victim!

  179. 216 david - CA
    February 18, 2010 at 19:52

    This discussion is not really about provocative clothing; rather, it is about going past the point of nature’s return and then expecting that a male can act just like … a woman??


    The legality is left to courts; however, if men and women WANT TO BE SAFE, PLAY IT SAFE. Don’t put yourself in the position of being compromised! You may get legal vindication upon a male but yours will still be cast in stone (memory), not just dangerous. Sexual attraction is the 2nd most powerful of all our senses and desires. Disregard for or rationalization of nature’s physical drives, may and will end badly.

    If it looks like an apple, smells like an apple, first bite tastes like an apple as do the 3rd and 4th, THEN IT IS AN APPLE. Don’t kid yourself feminist!

    • 217 gary indiana
      February 18, 2010 at 20:35

      The suggestion that a man has a sexual “point of no return” is not physiologically valid. The suggestion that a man has a gender-specific right to substitute “I don’t want to stop” for the “I can’t stop.” is equally invalid. People for whom either of these appear to have physiological or moral validity need to seek professional help.

  180. February 18, 2010 at 19:52

    We are leaving out the important aspect that every woman has the right to be free. Getting drunk is no excuse for a man to violate her. We as a society have to move ahead and not regress. Men have to be the one controlling their sexuality and their instincts.

  181. 219 Johnos, Ithaca NY
    February 18, 2010 at 19:53

    The idea that a woman bears responsibility for her own rape is ridiculous. If I choose to go to an ATM at 2 in the morning and I am robbed, I am the victim. I could have gone at a different time, but it is irrelevant. I do not bear responsibility for the illegal act of others.

  182. 221 D in Indiana
    February 18, 2010 at 19:55

    People that are serial killers will be serial killers, people that are rapists will be rapists. You can’t ‘unteach’ that.

  183. February 18, 2010 at 19:56

    I am writing from Cleveland, Ohio. I am very upset by your one speaker in regards to her repeated comments about campus rape. In Ohio, being drunk equals the inability to consent. A woman cannot consent to rape when she is intoxicated. Additionally, only about 10% of rapes are by strangers the rest are all by someone you know. So this notion that women on campus bring this upon themselves by being drunk is ridiculous. This is completely blaming women for rape. Not only that I work as a volunteer at a Rape Crisis Center and your speakers comment about most women say they were not raped: the statistics on rapes are way under reported. Very view survivors of rape actually report it. Of course being careful is important for everyone in every situation; however, rape is NEVER the survivors fault!

  184. 223 Kristin
    February 18, 2010 at 19:56

    There is never an excuse for rape, whether stranger, date, or marital. However, women (and men) do have a responsibility to take appropriate precautions. Just like you lock your door to prevent burgarly, women need to be aware of their environment and not to put themselves in vulnerable positions. I do not blame the victim, but at times, there is a personal responsibility. With greater women’s freedoms come greater responsibilty.

  185. 224 Hattie
    February 18, 2010 at 19:57

    I would like to point out to Heather that in most college codes and state laws sexual assault is defined as a sexual act without consent. consent is defined as verbal consent without coercion, threats, or other intimidation. consent cannot be given by someone who is incapacitated by drugs and alcohol. And most importantly, consent is an ongoing discussion between two parties and either can contract consent at any time. I can be in bed with my panties off, but decide that I don’t want to do this now, and if I’m forced by the partner, then it is sexual assault. I may not call it rape, because I’m socialized not to. but it is assault. we need to teach our boys this!

  186. 225 Lauren
    February 18, 2010 at 19:57

    To Heather, I am incredibly dissappointed in your complete ignorance and disrespect for woman. You are perpetuating this longstanding misunderstanding about what is right, and what is wrong. Who is right, and who is wrong. As a victim, I am immensely appreciative of all other comments from individuals who acknowledge and display your idiocracy.

  187. 226 Holly/ Portland OR
    February 18, 2010 at 19:58

    The professor has no idea that her world is tiny and insular. There’s a whole world out there beyond campus, Heather.

    Yes, rape is rape. And stealing is stealing. We call both shoplifting and armed robbery stealing, but we judge them differently and we punish them differently. There are different degrees of rape, as well.

    There are so many ways we instruct our children to be cautious. Of course, we should teach our daughters to be aware that rape is a possibility and to protect themselves from it as best they can, and our sons, too.

  188. 227 Charles N. A
    February 18, 2010 at 19:58

    In real life, women or wives always have to appear sexy in front of the man to imply they are ready to go to bed with the man, whereas the man does not necessarily have to appear so to give same signals. Even in courtship, the lady has to appear sexy.
    More so, man who is scantily dressed cannot to be said to be sexy but clumsy as is mostly the case. Or else why are weaker men not raped for dressig provocatively?
    Thus the comparison of a woman dressing in a way that may be described as sexy to that of a man dressing similarly is to me putting square pegs in round holes or vice-versa.
    So therefore untill there is a revolution in civilization, women have to, unfortunately, accept the unwritten law that says; “woman scantily dressed is looking for sex.”

    • 228 Irene in Texas
      February 19, 2010 at 18:13

      A muscular man without a shirt most certainly is sexy whether he intends to be or is just making himself comfortable. Men who dress scantily are not raped because the vast majority of women and homosexuals are not rapists.

  189. 229 Lisa S
    February 18, 2010 at 19:58

    I am deeply offended by many of Heather MacDonald’s allegations. Is she seriously lumping all rape victims in one category? As the man who called earlier, the use of the word rape alone means that it is a brutal act of control over a woman (or man) and is not about sex.

    It is attitudes like hers that keep women from reporting rape. I was raped at 17 (37 years ago) and I had not been drinking nor had I agreed to go to bed with this person. A knife was held at my throat and I did not report it as the mores at the time would have condemned me as the person at fault.

    What in Ms MacDonald’s background qualifies her to make these limiting statements that rape, for the most part, is ‘hook up regret?’

  190. February 18, 2010 at 20:00

    Our youngest daughter, when she started college, saw first hand the consequences of idiots in charge. This was their first mixer. My mom and dad had always told us to never drink from an open container or if you put yours down, do not drink from it again. I told this same thing to my daughter. A young lady she met on her first day, two other girls and she went to the mixer. The one young lady almost died. She was given the date rape drug and it put her into the hospital. She did not ask for this. She was not drunk. She just trusted people she did not know. They had spiked her open can of soda. No alcohol. Now,under the wrong circumstances, she could very well have been raped by one if not more than one of the residence of the frat house and unless she could prove other wise, would be accused of ‘asking’ for it because she was ‘drunk’ rather than drugged.

  191. 231 Benjamin
    February 18, 2010 at 20:01

    If we are speaking about the definition of rape as a change to the law, At what point does the prosecution of rape become based solely on the interpretation of the experience by one party? What legal means would remain to protect a potentially innocent man or woman from a vengeful ex or other accuser?

  192. 232 Australians for Non-Bigoted Thinking
    February 18, 2010 at 20:02

    Let us not forget that rape and its effects are a living nightmare for the victims, that can haunt them for the rest of their lives,causing ongoing mental trauma, flight into drug abuse, and an inability to ever return to work. Murder is obviously a serious crime in that it takes away a person’s life totally, but rape can be a persistent living death for many. Therefore, why this crime is not punished on a level with or exceeding murder is a disgrace and deeply devalues women.

  193. 233 Irene
    February 18, 2010 at 20:04

    What’s with these women like Heather who like to blame other women for being “too seductive”? Just how ugly and bitter are you that you need to blame another woman for being raped? And how do you like YOUR character being dragged through the mud?

  194. 234 Adrien From San Francisco, CA
    February 18, 2010 at 20:05

    How many times have you heard of a woman explicitly asking to be raped? Never. Asking this question is not at all intelligent.

  195. 235 Chris, Boston, MA
    February 18, 2010 at 20:15

    How do you consider the case of a sexually abused/raped woman who didn’t speak up for cultural reasons?

  196. 236 Jessie in Wisconsin
    February 18, 2010 at 20:17

    Rape is NEVER the victims fault! It does not matter how the woman was acting, how she was dressed, where she was walking, or if she was drinking. Whether it is a male or female victim, it is never their fault. The rapist is totally responsible for their own actions.

    I also must say that rape can very well happen in a relationship too. If a boyfriend or a husband wants sex and you say no, but they come over anyway and hold you down while you are struggling, crying, or clearly showing that you do not want it… what would you call that? That is still considered RAPE. Even though you are in a relationship with someone, that does NOT give them the right to your body.. even if you have had consented sex before that point.

    Yes, it is true that many rape victims blame themselves because they feel that they should have fought harder or they should not have done this or that. What they don’t realize is that they are not to blame. It is the rapist that is to blame 100 percent… they are the ones that decide in the end… to rape or not to rape… whether it is rape by force or manipulation or both.

  197. 237 Julie
    February 18, 2010 at 20:17

    I thougt the posts on here before the program aired were absurd, but now? Dear lord, people. A victim is a victim; they are not at fault. What’s blowing my mind is that so many here seem to be assuming rape is the result of a stranger in the bushes. Some 75% of cases are acquantance (including family) rape. This is not about being drunk and naked in an ally (which happens SO often. Seriously, guys?). This is about POWER. It’s not about a “lack of control.” it’s about power over another living being. This is amazing how this conversation continues.

    Many of the posts are spot-on: NO means NO. Some then negate that with things like “oh, follow the rules to not be raped!” (because you ONLY get raped by strangers in alleys, never by family members, dates, spouses, clergy, etc). And some of these posts are pure idiocy.

  198. 239 Angela Scrivani
    February 18, 2010 at 20:19

    Can rape ever be the victims fault? Have we regressed in time?

    No women should ever feel like it was their fault that they got raped. The fact that you are discussing a topic intellectualizing the possibility of a victim having a hand in their own rape is outrageous.

    Why don’t you spend an hour discussing the entitlement men seem to feel that causes them to rape another and where that comes from? Or why men feel so out of control and overwhelmed with being turned on that they take advantage of another and how we can teach them to flex more SELF CONTROL? Or why not a program on how to teach our sons why it’s never ok to have sex with a women when she’s, for example, drunk? And discuss ideas of how we can teach our sons how to be respectful of women in sexual situations? Instead of discussing why women shouldn’t get drunk at parties, a truly regressive subject. I’d listen to an hour on a topic having to do with this level of inquiry, and think “it’s about time”.

    Focusing on the victim is NEVER going to salve or get rid of rape. NEVER. And why your the powers that be at in the “World have your say” office thought it would be a good idea to cover this subject, is beyond my comprehension. You have the whole world listening, and this is how you have chosen to cover this subject? Focusing on the cause, why are people raping, and how can we solve the root of this social issue, you might get somewhere.

    I DO NOT thank you for this subject, and am sorry that my donations to my local public radio have assisted in paying for this program to reach my speakers. What a waste of money. It has truly angered me that you people have spent hours collecting guests to discuss a subject that I can’t see having any positive impacts but could, as I see it, only cause women, or men for that matter, to think rape could possible be their own fault. What a messed up thought to put in someones brain.

  199. 240 hilde jakobsen
    February 18, 2010 at 20:53

    Where can I find the names of the persons present in this programme (eg Heather’s full name)? And why does a search on the BBC WHYS site, or on BBC world SErvice, or on BBC.co.uk, not yield this information?

  200. 241 Linda from Italy
    February 18, 2010 at 21:48

    I have had to restrain myself for a couple of hours after listening to that programme, particularly those two appalling American women with a distinctly dodgy “conservative” agenda who wanted to throw all the responsibility and blame onto women’s shoulders, and then call it feminism. I have no idea what a “frat” party is, and its seems to me that US universities are peopled by seriously immature students, having been a student at a UK university in both the 70s and the 90s, no one behaved like that, we were grown up enough to get drunk/stoned etc. as groups of young (the first time) and not so young (the second time) people, but we were people, not sex-starved Neanderthals engaging in some sort of permanent game of hunt the sausage.
    The second contributor was even worse with her crocodile tears for the young woman from Belgium who had been raped, and who then seriously (?) suggested that all women should get themselves a ”rape kit” for when the inevitable happens if they go to a party, have a dance and (heaven forbid) a drink when persons of the male gender are present.
    At least the Taliban are up front about their oppression of women.

  201. 242 Thomas Murray
    February 18, 2010 at 22:26

    Rape is an act of volition. If an aggressor cannot control himself around provocative women, he doesn’t need to be sharing the streets with the rest of us. Period.

    Lou., KY, US.

  202. 243 Clamdip
    February 18, 2010 at 22:27

    Girls need to carefully listen to the men’s postings like Fred from Oregon. Men and women have different brain structures. What a woman thinks is unprovocative and flirtatious is not registering in Fred’s reptilian brain. Don’t think like a women when dealing with men. Think like a reptile!

  203. February 19, 2010 at 01:09

    It is NEVER EVER a rape victim’s fault! Shame on you WHYS for even putting this to debate!

    You know who is at fault when someone rapes someone else? The RAPIST. Rape doesn’t “happen” to women. Men rape women (and it does happen to men too, of course). It is the man’s fault if he raped a woman, no matter what, in any circumstance.

    Wearing sexy clothes does NOT mean it is ok to force your penis into the sexily-dressed woman’s vagina. How would that ever make sense? Women dress the way they do because of complex social pressures to do so, and also, because they like to dress the way they do! It is never ok to use clothes or makeup or anything else about a woman’s appearance to justify rape. That is absolutely ridiculous and it just shames the very person we should be helping – the victim.

    I’m upset that so many people can “justify” rape. In this day and age, haven’t we progressed to the point where we can accept that women who say no are, by definition, saying NO and anything beyond that point is rape?!

  204. 245 Naresh
    February 19, 2010 at 04:53

    No its not the victims fault. Its not that only drunk women get raped. At the same time why are women expecting men to act like them?

  205. 246 deborah
    February 19, 2010 at 07:45

    While I can empathise with the notion that people should be responsible for their actions I believe that no woman deserves to be raped. Unfortunately, I think that far too many comments seem to put an unreasonable onus on the woman to keep herself safe. The emphasis should remain focussed on the perpetrators of these unacceptable crimes. Afterall, consider when a rich man is robbed we do not criticise and blame him for being too ostentatious with his wealth!

  206. 247 James Ian
    February 19, 2010 at 08:29

    You know, when I was a teen, early twenty and even 30 year old guy I liked sex A LOT and had quite a bit of it, with quite a few girls and I have to say I didn’t ever have to rape anyone and the Idea of having to force myself on anyone would have made me go limp faster then anything. For me the best part of the sex and most of the excitiment is the feeling of being wanted. I would think the moment I felt unwanted the mood would come crashing down. I had to stop many times when physicaly I thought it was going to killed me, but mentaly and emotionaly as soon as the mood was broke, I was too. I just don’t think I could rape anyone and can’t say I understand anyone who would, but!! Everyone is diffrent and I guess there are people out there who are ego maniacs and get excited by the since of power they get over a person. Personaly I think that is twisted but some girls are attracted to that type of arrogant, over confident, dominating personality so I guess they should expect that kind of behavior from that type of guy.

  207. 248 Mahjoub Ali
    February 19, 2010 at 11:09


    I think the fact that rape is a forceful sex with out some one’s consent, its never be blamed on the woman. I will blame the man.

    Yeah we know some victims could have avoided it by for instance dress properly, not move in the dark alone etc. But that doesn’t call for them to be raped cause just like any other citizen they are free to do any thing they want and be in any place they want.

  208. February 19, 2010 at 12:30

    And lets try and change the discourse from primarily “she got raped ” to “he raped her”. Thats the only way it is.

  209. February 19, 2010 at 13:08


    How can rape be a woman’s fault.

    It is an inherent lust within the man that causes him to rape.

    this can be an imbalance within his hormones that causes him to want to indulger in this behavior which overpowers him and results in his action of raping the woman.

    At the same time there is the factor of him imagining all sorts of weird fascination that accelerates this within him and may be enhanced by the behavior of the woman.

    But this is something that can be controlled by the man if he has the will.

    In all rape cases it is the man who feel superior to the woman and so rapes her to prove his superiority.


    • 251 Linda from Italy
      February 19, 2010 at 14:00

      Sorry Philip, I don’t buy into that psychology at all, in fact I see it the other way round. Rapists are men who feel they ought to be superior to women but their own insecurities get twisted and they turn these into hatred of and agression against women. For them rape is the only way of getting that “I am a real man ” high and of putting down any woman he can get at who threatens to disprove the way his delusions tell him the world should be.
      This is no apologia for rapists, of any kind, and I make absolutely no distinctions between “rape-lite” (by someone you know) and the phantom stranger scenario and any other psycho-babble inventions that appalling woman on last night’s programme was trying to muddy the waters with.
      Men who rape are pathetic, but they are also dangerous and any sane society should be taking measures to put a stop to the psychotic behaviour, through the law, medical science or any other humane way available.

  210. 252 Subhash C Mehta
    February 19, 2010 at 14:56

    Rape, under certain circumstances, may be said to be the victims’ fault; such as personal wayward or indecent behaviour, which includes getting into an intoxicated state, visiting unsafe places/areas, careless/unguarded night-outs etc.

  211. 253 Barbara Blankson
    February 19, 2010 at 15:26

    The selfish act of rape can never be the fault of the victim. Why should anyone rape someone because they (the rapists) cannot control themselves? To violate another person’s body this way is cruel. There is and can never be any excuse for rape. I think that rapists, especially those who assault children must be thrown into jail for life.

  212. 254 Camille
    February 19, 2010 at 15:33

    Rape can never be the victim’s fault.

    I think most arguments that paint the female victim as “asking for it” seem to diminish the blame of the criminal that perpetuated the crime.

    Saying that the victims should take on some level of “responsibility” would imply that the criminal act is as a natural consequence of her actions, and not as it is a violent and willful act.

    Under no circumstances should anyone be violated, whether provocatively dressed, inebriated or otherwise.

  213. 255 Lisa
    February 19, 2010 at 16:21

    I didn’t read each and every post here, but I agree with someone who said that if someone says, “NO”, and the perp continues, that’s rape and therefore the fault lies with the perp. But women must understand that there are animals out there who strangely resemble human beings. Some men just don ‘t have a lot of control and their regard for women is not high. They’ve got tiny little reptilian brains. So my question is: Why do some women dress provacatively? So, I guess in certain situations a woman has to ask herself what might she have done to bring this on herself. Of course, there are many cases of rape when the woman has done NOTHING to percipitate this action. She dresses conservatively and does not go into lions’ dens… So Ahmed from Morocco, what is your response to that?

  214. 256 Neil
    February 19, 2010 at 17:01

    If a woman behaves inappropriately she should not be raped for it…but thats not the way the world is…there is and will always be rapists out there so all women (and men nowadays) should just pay attention and be safe in all their actions. in terms of punishment the rapist should fully pay for it…..raping someone, provoked or not is wrong! this world is becoming more and more desensitized about intercourse. Get permission!

  215. 257 viola
    February 19, 2010 at 17:41

    A victim of rape is never at fault, just as a victim of robbery is not at fault. Only rapists or wannabe rapists or female haters or lawyers defending rapists can possibly believe a victim should be punished for what another does to her or him. Too bad rapists believe sex is something they do to another person rather than something they do together. News flash: Rape is not something you do together for fun.

  216. 258 Jessie in Wisconsin
    February 19, 2010 at 18:56

    I do not agree with dressing or acting inappropriately, but I must say, that even if a woman does..it is NOT her fault if someone rapes her. A woman never asks to be raped.

    This topic is very upsetting to me… why would anyone in their right mind even consider that the victim is at fault?? I don’t care if they were at a ‘frat’ party or if they went out drinking… they don’t go there asking to be raped. Even if a woman consents to have sex at first, but changes her mind at any point in time, and the man continues… IT IS RAPE. PERIOD.

    This is the very reason why so many rape victims are so afraid to speak out… they are afraid of being blamed for a crime that was committed against THEM. The sad thing is that there are so many cruel people in the world that WILL put the blame on the victim. Do they even KNOW what it is like to be raped?? Do they even know the fear and horror it causes or the continuous lifetime nightmares?? Do you think the victim ASKS for all of this?? The victim is stripped away of so many things and in many cases, the rapist walks away freely.

    We need to be there in support for the victims and make the rapists accountable for their crime.

  217. 259 Rob C
    February 19, 2010 at 19:01

    If a man gets raped in prison was he asking for it and therefore to fault for encourging it?

  218. 260 Ottilie
    February 19, 2010 at 19:52

    I have to say I really wonder what planet your guest Heather is residing on. When I think back to my twenties and thirties and all the guys who at times went to great length to persuade me or even force me to have sex–thank god, it never happened–there is only ONE WAY I could have avoided all of this. Stay at home and never go out on a date! According to Heather’s criteria–she is generalizing from a frat house party scene to All dating situations, which is absurd–a woman can’t even go out for one drink with a man, because then already if something happens, it is ‘her fault.’

    How many women out there, I wonder, can attest with me that so often you do not know what a guy is up to until it’s too late (they know how to pretend they just want to ‘talk’)…Get real!

    What is really needed here is that self defense techniques should be a part of every girl’s upbringing!

  219. 261 Barbara Scott
    February 19, 2010 at 19:58

    Whether the victim is male or female, rape is never the victim’s fault. Rape is not consentual. If a person consents and changes their mind before the culmination of the act, the act can then be classified as rape. If they change their mind during or after the act it is not a black and white case of rape. It seems to me that to an extent we’re arguing semantics. Rape is not consentual.

  220. 262 Sophie
    February 20, 2010 at 02:52

    Most of you have talked here about violence on women, and how some of their behaviour might trigger the aggressive men’s attention. I have not read all the comments but I have a question: What about abused children?
    Children do not have a conscious sexuality. They do not dress up in “fashionable” clothes/skirts/shirts etc. They do not flirt. They do not drink. And even though they are abused by horrible men (most of them are men e.g. relatives, parents -I know some people who have been abused by their own father, and the results of these abuses are cathastrophic etc etc).
    What’s the problem with you (some men)?
    Is society’s fault that make us more aggressive?
    Is civiliazation going to pieces?
    My conclusion is that there is no morality anymore and this is tragic. We should work harder on some laws. And I do believe that chemical castration procedures should be implemented….
    I hope my questions are not rethoric, and I am really looking forward to reading some of your comments.

  221. February 20, 2010 at 12:23

    24/7 Yes means Yes and No means No.

    February 20, 2010 at 17:12

    Rape can never be the victim’s fault! Unless for example a women agrees to go into a bedroom knowing more than 1 man is going to be in there! Because they wont really be there to talk about science! If anyone is forced then that is rape. Two things anyone who cries rape and is found to have lied I think should get a jail term of 5 years or more! Because it is such a serious crime & to accuse someone when they didnt do it. Secondly If proved guilty I think they should get LIFE in jail because they have ruined many lives by their selfish sick act! Not just the man or woman who has been a victim of the rape but their Partner too are victims! Rape victims are affected decades later or for life I think its the worst thing that can happen to a person as its is relived again & again & lots of emotions of anger, hate, fear ….& “why me”

  223. February 20, 2010 at 17:56


    Well this is a very big issues today in the world: meaning one of the social problem we are facing apart from the football right, some were created and live in a way that they can’t control their desire any time any where sensitive part of a woman can make them to explore to any action wether with the woman agree or not which is called rape. some look at it as a enjoyment act while others harmful act mostly to the woman while some women enjoy it too.

    I will like to conclude with that a defence machnism should be encourge to the girls today either in the school or at home because men are very dangerous in any way because: he who want your thing is very known the way he will apply any method to get from you and he is wise to take it way from you by any small chance he got so women that thing is your treasure hold it very well.

  224. February 21, 2010 at 00:10

    Today Microwave technology activated by Artificial
    Intelligence allow rapists to rape people directly in the cortex, any person can be assaulted any time by those
    which have access to these new rapist’s methods, so how to blame victims for something out of their control?

  225. 267 Abubakar mamman
    February 21, 2010 at 16:05

    morally a rape is a crime, religiously many have denied its existence from both men an women so as the Islamic Religion strongly go against it. so if a rape occur must not only be the blame of the man both also of the woman, this defines on how did she dress, talk, imitate, accommodate and relate with her male counterpart . but on a fair justice is a rape occur is definitely the fault of he to be blame either the man or the woman in the top of mistakes.

    most time the women make their way as the men have the chance to create a room for there self. so i think all are to be blame.

  226. 268 C. Bhumia
    February 21, 2010 at 17:08

    Has anyone ever studied how many cases of ‘Alleged’ rape really qualify as Rape?
    As some of the comments suggested the change of mind halfway through can easily be blamed as rape. I agree with general notion that women should be more careful in their appearance and presence at the wrong time at the wrong place.

  227. February 22, 2010 at 06:54

    Rape is forced sex…therefore I don’t see how it becomes the victims fault.

  228. 270 Clamdip
    February 22, 2010 at 07:46

    The really sad part is that women have put up with this nonsense from men for too long. Even a man who cheats on you is reprehensible. Women need to stand up to this abuse and not let another generation of girls suffer from a world of unconscious, unenlightened men.

  229. 271 maryam khan
    February 22, 2010 at 11:41

    ok i agree from all the above comment women try to appeal men..but what all of u said about the girl who was coming back to home from the office and she got raped by drunk boys….!!!what u say about a girl who was standing beside the road and she got kidnapped by unknown boys.What u say abput a nine years old girl,she got raped by 3 boys of her area….always women or a victim are not at fault…some times a man become a devil.its a psychological fact that when man fewels lusty by watching any happening or by any other mental disorder they can`t control there selves and try to remove there frustration in any case,or by any way.so every time women are not responsible……..thank u!!!!

  230. 272 Christina
    February 22, 2010 at 21:13

    Are you kidding me? People are actually asking this question. No, it is never the victim’s fault when a rape occurs, that is why it is called RAPE! Sexual intercourse of any sort where one party does not consent is rape, and if they are incapacitated in any way or are not of the consenting age of their state, they are legally unable to consent, period. Rape is wrong and rapists are the problem, not girls wearing tiny skirts. If a woman were to rape a man and then she claimed, “Well, his chest was just sooooooooo alluring and he seemed flirty”, then we would take it for what it was. Bologna. Next topic, please

  231. 273 Kev in Canada
    February 23, 2010 at 15:56

    No woman can be blamed for rape..NO means no.

    I do think though as a side issue that the law should be tough on any person who makes a false allegation of rape, say for example after consentual sex and guilt sets in or fear of being caught out by a partner etc.

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