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Why Victims of Rape and Sexual Abuse Should Never Be Blamed

By HERWriter
 
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Emotional Health related image Photo: Getty Images

According to a new survey titled, "Wake Up to Rape", conducted by London Metropolitan Police and the Havens (sexual assault referral centers) which documented the attitudes of more than 1,000 Londoners, “more than half the female respondents think there are situations when the rape victim is to blame. If she had performed a sexual act on her attacker, more than 40% believed she should take some responsibility. Almost 20% think a rape victim is also to blame if she went back to the attacker’s home” (“Blame the rapist, not the victim” by Julie Blindel, www.guardian.co.uk).

Considering that nearly one in four women is sexually assaulted, this finding that women blame other women is rather astonishing. Dr. Roxanne Agnew-Davies, a clinical psychologist and expert on the effects of sexual violence, said women do this because they are, in effect, assuring themselves that they will not become victims. Women are always looking for behaviors or actions that could have unwittingly enticed a man (for example, wearing tight-fitting or revealing clothing or walking alone at night), and console themselves with the fact that they would never do such a thing and so, would never be a rape victim.

Unfortunately, many women find themselves at the unbelieving end of many police officers and physicians. Not only do they have to defend themselves against people who are in the public service and supposed to help them, they also have to fight an uphill battle against the battery their self-esteem takes as they second guess every action that led up to that event. The fear of not being believed and having to be subjected to opening a very violent and private experience can drive many women to not take any action at all. Almost 40 percent of rape or sexual abuse survivors in the United States actually report the crime (www.pandys.org).

You are NOT to blame

A rape or sexual abuse victim always has to deal with the question: Was it my fault? In some cases, the abuser or rapist “coaches” the victim into believing that she was in someway responsible for what is happening.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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