So you think that women are more sympathetic to rape victims than men? You'd be wrong. It turns out that a surprising 75% of women polled in a recent survey say victims should take some responsibility depending on the circumstances.
Haven's Wake Up To Rape survey demonstrates that despite more enlightened attitudes towards women in general, rape appears to be still one of the few crimes where it's acceptable to blame the victim rather than the attacker.
According to an Amnesty International survey in 2005, victims who have behaved flirtatiously, worn provocative clothing or have been drinking are believed by a significant proportion of the general public to be at least partially to blame for their rape and only last year, the police were criticised for 'disbelieving and judgemental attitudes' towards victims.
The rather shocking news that some 40% of reported rapes are being 'no-crimed' doesn't exactly give one confidence in the system either - in fact it only gave an estimated 5% of women the confidence to report an attack. The Haven survey gives an insight into the 6.5% conviction rate - clearly juries often perceive the victim to be responsible too and high-profile media cases surrounding false allegations give the impression that the majority of reported rapes are false, when according to Rape Crisis, false reporting accounts for 6-8%: exactly the same as for other crimes.
Boris Johnson came under fire last year after failing to fulfil his pre-election promise to deliver funding to Rape Crisis centres, though he has now committed to centres in Ealing, north and east London and extra funding for the Croydon centre which had been the only one in the capital.
Visit the Havens website for more information.