Many say rape victims at fault - poll


SIGNIFICANT NUMBERS of people think rape victims are responsible for being attacked by the way they dress, by how much they have had to drink or because of their sexual history, according to a national opinion poll.

The Irish Examiner/Red C poll found that about one in four people agree that women are in some way responsible for being attacked.

When respondents were asked whether a woman who wears revealing clothing is to blame for being attacked, a total of 26 per cent agreed that the victim was either partly or totally responsible.

When respondents were asked whether a woman who is drunk and takes drugs is to blame for being attacked, the figure rose to 41 per cent. Another 38 per cent believed that a woman was in some way responsible if she walked through a deserted area.

The poll was based on a national sample of 1,002 adults selected at random between January 21st and 23rd of this year.

While major differences were reported in empathy towards victims based on age and social class, gender had little impact.

Divorced or separated people had the least sympathetic views of women victims, while cohabiting or married couple were more likely to have empathy. Younger women were among the least likely to say a woman was responsible in any way for being raped.

Rape Crisis Network Ireland said Ireland had the lowest conviction rates for rape in Europe and people needed to understand their attitudes to sex crimes were contributing to the problem.