Four in ten Scots think women to blame for being raped

A recent Police Scotland TV advert aimed at raising rape awareness
A recent Police Scotland TV advert aimed at raising rape awareness
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Many Scots will still believe “common myths” about rape and that a woman’s actions mean she is “partly responsible” for being attacked, new figures reveal.

It shows Scotland has a “deep-rooted problem” in public attitudes on violence against women, according to social justice secretary Alex Neil.

Only 58 per cent of Scots said a woman who wore revealing clothing on a night out was “not at all to blame” for being raped. And 60 per cent said the same of a woman who was very drunk.

The figures emerged in the 2014 Scottish Social Attitudes Survey report on public attitudes to violence against women (VaW) in Scotland. It was published today to mark International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

“It’s a tragic fact that women and girls in Scotland and across the world are at risk of, and experiencing, violence and abuse just because they are women,” Mr Neil said.

“It is clear there are no quick fixes to this deep-rooted problem. It requires significant economic, social and cultural change over the long term, that calls for the sustained commitment, not just of a wide range of partners, but of individuals and communities.” The survey found many Scots think a victim’s actions mean she is at least partly to blame for rape.

When respondents are told a woman had first taken the man into her bedroom and started kissing him, fewer people felt that the man’s behaviour was seriously wrong. The proportion viewing rape by a stranger as “very seriously wrong” decreased from 88 per cent to 58 per cent, and in the scenario where a husband raped his wife it fell from 74 per cent to less than half (44 per cent).

People are also less likely to be concerned about controlling behaviours and verbal abuse, compared to physical abuse.

In March, the First Minister announced £20 million would be invested in a range of measures to tackle all forms of violence against women. This is in addition to another £11.8 million committed in the Scottish Government’s budget for 2015-16.

A third of Scots thought paying for sex was “always wrong”, compared with 10 per cent who thought it was “not wrong at all”. People are also less likely to be concerned about controlling behaviours and verbal abuse, compared to physical abuse.