Vilifying rapists is all well and good, but is it wrong to suggest that we can learn from the mistakes of victims too?

Ched Evans

Much has been talked about the future career prospects of convicted rapist and footballer Ched Evans, with several clubs showing an interest in signing him until public opinion forced them to reconsider.

Evans was found guilty of raping a 19 year old woman who was intoxicated to the point that she couldn’t remember what had happened when she woke up the next morning.

This debate sends a clear message that what he has done is wrong. And quite rightly so. However, the intensity of the hatred towards him is very blinkered and I can’t help thinking that if a fraction of this energy was spent sending a message to young people about the dangers of drinking too much, more rape would be avoided.

Of course, anyone that dares to suggest the young woman shouldn’t have been so drunk in the first place is accused of being ‘pro-rape’ and other such nonsense.

But it’s true: if the victim had not been so drunk, she wouldn’t have been in such a position.  An insensitive point of view perhaps: no one asks to be raped, and the chances are she will pay for the mistake for the rest of her life. But rather than block out this crucial lesson, if acknowledging it actually helped to prevent future cases of rape, perhaps it’s a point worth considering?

Several months ago I posted a Facebook status about an episode of the BBC’s Crimewatch, whereby a young woman left a nightclub dressed as a naughty school girl, extremely drunk, with no money and a flat mobile phone battery.  She proceeded to walk the two mile journey home, cutting through a particularly rough and isolated area of her hometown, and was attacked in the process.  I pointed out that it probably wasn’t the best of ideas to make that particular journey home, and was subsequently lynched by many of my Facebook friends for daring to suggest ‘she brought it on herself’.  Yes, in an ideal world, she should have been able to have walked where she wanted, in any state of mind.  But we’re not in an ideal world, and an element of self-preservation needs to be adopted in order to avoid the advances of twisted predators.

Vilifying rapists is not going to stop rape occurring. Educating young people on the dangers of drinking too much and putting themselves into risky situations just might.  And if that’s the case, whilst not the most politically correct statement to make, I think it’s one worth making.

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