With funding from the Scottish Government, Rape Crisis Scotland has launched a television advertisement and online campaign called Not Ever, focused on ending the prevalent attitude that rape victims are to blame for their perpetrator’s crime because of what they were wearing.
In the ad, men at a pub look at a woman’s skirt and decide that she is “asking for it.” The ad then shows earlier in the day when the woman in shopping for the skirt and says she is looking for one that will make men want to rape her. Then she turns to the camera and says, “As if.”
From the campaign page:
“No woman asks to be raped – ever. It’s a simple as that. Women should not be held responsible for the behaviour of rapists or expected to base their decisions on dress around the possibility that these might lead to an attack.” …
The prevalence of these ideas and the prejudicial attitudes they underpin seriously damage the chances of women who have been raped of receiving justice. With the conviction rate in Scotland in 2010 having fallen to 3% – its lowest ever, the need to change attitudes which blame women is more urgent than ever.
We need to stop victim-blaming and assign responsibility to those whose decisions do lead to rape – perpetrators and the apologists whose woman-blaming views have assigned rape its current status as a low-risk crime. For as long the notion that women can “ask for it” or invite attack through their dress or behaviour are allowed to persist, rapists will continue to act with impunity, confident in the knowledge that their actions will receive far less scrutiny than those of the women they assault.”
I applaud the Scottish government and Rape Crisis Scotland for tackling this issue. The television ads are running during the World Cup, so they are definitely being seen by men (too often women are the focus of campaigns around gender violence when we men to be targeted, too). The website contains resources for survivors, information on the current rape law, quiz questions, and discussion threads.
A few weeks ago the government of Wales launched a television and online ad campaign called One Step Too Far showing how slippery the slope is between sexist and harassing behavior and sexual assault. Their television ads also are airing during the World Cup.
I applaud both governments for actually taking this issue seriously. Victim blaming in cases of gender violence is pervasive, from Egypt to Australia to India to Brazil to the UK and the US. Imagine if every government invested resources in combating these attitudes, thereby helping to prevent harassment and assault and making it easier for victims to come forward and charge the perpetrators! This is how change happens.