Poll shows people in Britain still believe rape victims "ask for it"

| Mon Nov. 21, 2005 10:07 AM EST

A poll commissioned by Amnesty International reveals that British attitudes toward women who are raped have not changed over several decades. One third of those responding to the poll believe that a woman is "partly or completely responsible" if she is raped after she has been flirtatious or if she is drunk. More than one quarter believe that she is partially responsible if she is wearing sexy or revealing clothing.

It doesn't get better. 20% believe that a woman is partly to blame for her rape if she has had several sexual partners, and more than a third believe she is responsible if she fails to "clearly" say "no." A little over 20% believe that if a woman is walking alone in a deserted area and is raped, she is partly to blame for the crime. Of the 1,095 Britons who took the survey, men were somewhat more inclined to blame women for being raped, except in the case of intoxication. In that case, more women were inclined to blame the victim.

Last year, 85% of rapes in Great Britain went unreported. Most Britons are unaware of the number of women who are raped each year, and in fact, most police are also unaware. 96% of poll respondents said they did not know how many recorded rapes were committed in 2004-2005, or they estimatd the number to be significantly lower than it was (almost 13,000).

There are 43 police forces in England and Wales, and fewer than 10 have dedicated rape investigation teams. The investigations move slowly, and police do not always use forensic kits to gather evidence.