Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

.@StaffsPolice undermine their rape campaign with 1 victim-blaming tweet

 

Staffordshire Police tweeted this out late last night: Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 09.00.55

 

This is the reality of victim blaming in the UK: even the police focus on the victim's behaviour whilst erasing the perpetrator. Suggesting that women are 'safer' by being walked home by a man (and it's clear that they mean a man) demonstrates a complete failure to acknowledge that the vast majority of perpetrators are known to the victim. The man walking a woman home is far more likely to be a rapist than a stranger. They are more likely to be raped in their home by a relative, partner or acquaintance. Having a man "walk you home" doesn't protect women from rape.

Holding rapists criminally liable will protect women. Training police officers to differentiate between rape myths, as seen in the text of this tweet, from actual data on rape will protect women. Training judges, juries and the general public about masculinity, male entitlement to women's bodies and the reality of sexual violence will bring an end to rape culture.

Police forces telling women that they must change their behaviour and be escorted everywhere doesn't protect women. It tells rapists that the police won't believe women who report. It tells rapists that the police don't take rape seriously.

 

Staffordshire Police have actually linked to two important rape campaigns directed at perpetrators, however they have undermined their credibility by tweeting out the above image with "avoid walking home by yourself at night". It's worth noting that Staffordshire Police did not develop either of the rape campaigns they have linked to - they have simply linked to pre-existing campaigns. It certainly demonstrates a failure of their social media team to have actually read the campaigns they have linked.

Staffordshire Police need to make a public apology about the above tweet. They then need to guarantee that their social media team will undergo immediate, specialist training on rape and sexual violence and abuse to prevent this from happening again.

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One thought on “.@StaffsPolice undermine their rape campaign with 1 victim-blaming tweet

  • Hecuba says:

    Staffordshire police were too lazy to bother to actually read the links they very kindly provided to us poor women who apparently mustn’t venture into mens’ public spaces without mandatory male bodyguard!

    Am still waiting for the experts – aka the male dominated police forces to engage in a publicity campaign telling men ‘don’t walk home alone at night – especially when you are drunk – always have a female bodyguard to protect you from alien predators.’