On Sexual Assault Victim Blaming – Re: Lara Logan and basically every other sexual assault victim

[TW: sexual assault, victim blaming]

Lara Logan, Julian Assange: Two Cases of Rape Culture (at Global Comment):

But what stands out here is how very similar the reactions have been, in two such different cases. One popular theory, of course, is that Assange’s accusers are lying to exact some complicated revenge upon him. They may be; again, we can’t know what happened unless Assange goes to trial. But no-one is calling Lara Logan a liar. What they are calling her is a sexy slutty-dressing blonde who should have seen it coming. What they are doing is asserting that the assault was her fault; what they are doing is refusing her any human sympathy. The feminist thesis of “rape culture” is pretty heavily contested; many people don’t seem to know what it actually means. But what it means is this: As Logan’s case shows, whether or not we believe women who press rape charges, we treat them much the same. And the way we treat them often amounts to a second, more public assault.

Don’t Dress Like a Slut: Toronto Cop (from Excalibur) – from Feb 16, 2011:

Students and staff at Osgoode Hall Law School are demanding an apology and explanation from the Toronto Police Service after one of their officers suggested women can avoid sexual assault by not dressing like a “slut.”

Judge appears to blame victim in sexual-assault case (from The Globe and Mail) – from Feb 24, 2011:

A Manitoba judge has decided not to send a man to jail for sexually assaulting a woman because the victim was wearing heavy makeup and “wanted to party” on the night of the attack, the Winnipeg Free Press is reporting.

In a judgment that one prosecutor said could have implications for public confidence in the system, Judge Robert Dewar sentenced Kenneth Rhodes to a two-year conditional sentence outside of prison, accepting that he might not have understood that the woman did not want to have sex with him.

He and the victim kissed; later, when they were alone, Mr. Rhodes had sexual intercourse with her without her consent at the side of the highway.

At trial, Mr. Rhodes maintained that he believed the woman had consented.

Judge Dewar listed several reasons for this misinterpretation, including that the victim and her friend were wearing tube tops, high heels and makeup; that the two had implied they might want to go skinny-dipping in a lake nearby and that the circumstances of their encounter with Mr. Rhodes and his friend were “inviting.”


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