Grrr. Guardian article on rape in pubs and clubs.

(62 Posts)

Oh, damn. angry

www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/oct/10/pubs-clubs-closed-rape-crackdown

I was just reading this article and thinking, great, this sounds like a good idea. They're planning to target pubs and clubs where high levels of rape and sexual assault are reported, to shut them down. Great. Then I hit this line, which is one of their aims:

'• A hard-hitting prevention campaign to target male behaviour and speak to women about reducing their vulnerability.'

Fuck the fuck off, will you?!

And could that be any more insensitively worded?! 'A hard-hitting campaign'?

Honestly, what the fuck were they on?

samandi Thu 11-Oct-12 09:11:12

Why is it that "vulnerability" is only ever used in the media when referring to females? You never hear of media campaigns to reduce male on male assaults talking about the victim's "vulnerability".

Indeed.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 11-Oct-12 09:33:15

Hmm. They do acknowledge in the article that they don't want to blame the victims. I don't think it's perfect wording but I think is better than a lot of similar campaigns. Hard hitting may have been Guardian wording not police.

Interesting idea about using the licensing laws in similar ways wrt sexual assault as wrt a glassing in or near a pub, that is positive.

OatyBeatie Thu 11-Oct-12 09:36:53

I was much more struck by the positives in this new campaign than by the negatives. There do seem to be some potentially very constructive elements to it.

WereTricksPotter Thu 11-Oct-12 09:39:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

doctrine - oh, yes, sorry, it is not the Guardian I was being angry with, it was the content of what they were reporting! I thought it was good they did put it in context.

There are indeed some positives.

I still found it pretty awful, TBH.

Pootles2010 Thu 11-Oct-12 09:44:21

I read it as 'hard hitting' towards male behaviour, alongside speaking to women. Obviously would be better that they didn't mention advising women at all, but does seem step in right direction.

bigkidsdidit Thu 11-Oct-12 10:09:22

I thought it seemed pretty positive. And the Met and it's Sapphire Unit usually makes me want to weep. I have decided, just for once, to be optimistic.

It may last a day grin

ChunkyPickle Thu 11-Oct-12 10:11:32

I did sigh at the 'advice to reduce vulnerability' but the move to treat sexual assault as an equal offence to other assaults when considering licencing issues is very positive.

It isn't already?! What is wrong with people!

OatyBeatie Thu 11-Oct-12 10:18:58

Agree, pootles that the "hard hitting" was in relation to targetting men's behaviour, and I liked the term for exactly that reason.

It is good, I think, and the apparent seriousness with which the Saville affair is being investigated is also good. Seems like a cultural shift. A news reporter on BBC the other day (Mark someone) made me want to hug him because of the passion with which he spoke (in relation to Saville accusations) of the culture of the seventies as being one in which an ethos of sexual liberation collided with the reality of male dominance to create a whole new set of circumstances favouring the abuse of women. I feel like there is now a real common effort.

Playing devil's advocate, I would presume that this meant encouraging women not to end up like this because you're not in a state to fend anyone off. Arguably the same advice could be given to men. It could also involve outlining to drinkers which pubs to be aware of, before they are actually closed down. I thought of this as a positive move when I heard about it on the news - I'd never considered that some pubs / clubs had higher rates of sexual assault than others. The wording on vulnerability's not ideal but I guess if they need a phrase of a couple of words to encompass "ways to stop you being taken advantage of" it gets the point across.

WereTricksPotter Thu 11-Oct-12 10:29:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

This bit beggars belief -

If you were in Lewisham High Street at night and someone had a glass or bottle stuck in their neck, we would use the licensing legislation to close that place down. But until now we haven't done that for sexual offences.

I agree that the choice of phrase 'hard hitting' is really unfortunate in relation to sexual violence.

I liked this quote at the end of the article:

A spokeswoman for Women Against Rape said the new tactics were a diversion. "These so-called prevention strategies are a diversion from what's needed: thorough unbiased investigations and prosecutions so rapists are caught and convicted, and rape is discouraged," the spokeswoman said.

"Telling men not to rape will have no effect when the reality is that 93% of rapes don't reach conviction. Victims want their attackers prosecuted for rape, not for some unconnected crime.

"What makes women vulnerable is that the authorities side with the rapist rather than the victim: victims are disbelieved, especially if they have been attacked before."

DuelingFanjo Thu 11-Oct-12 10:31:27

I was just about to start a thread with the comment "A hard-hitting prevention campaign to target male behaviour and speak to women about reducing their vulnerability" FFS. Why do they think they should do this. It's so disrespectful to men for a start, suggesting that they can't stop themselves when women are drunk.

Short skirts and alcohol do not cause rape. Rapists cause rape.

FireOverBabylon if I were in that state then I would not expect anyone to think that I had given consent for any kind of sexual activity to take place, what kind of man would? Oh - I know, a rapist perhaps. But poor rapist, how could he have not known that it was rape? Presumably he thought it was an incitation. Silly woman for getting so drunk eh?

I hate hate hate this victim blaming shit.

KRITIQ Thu 11-Oct-12 10:35:37

It looks about 90% positive, but yep, it's that 10% that still niggles. I think they are aware of this because of this paragraph:

^Duthie is aware that the Met's intention to target women as well as men could prove controversial. "We have to make sure we are not targeting the victims but the suspects," said Duthie. "But we do need to educate people that if they go out and get hammered they are vulnerable – vulnerable to being assaulted – vulnerable to falling over and vulnerable to being raped.^

Yes, it's a definite shift from initiatives that would have taken the line of advising women "how not to be raped" as a first line of action. But, they still seem to be struggling with completely letting go of the idea that women (and men) are somehow culpable or at least need to be reminded to do things to "reduce their risk."

I'm behind the idea of using licensing laws to get pub and club management to take more responsibility for the well-being of their customers and they will have to take this seriously if it means they could be shut down for not taking action. Basically, it will be a long hard road to get managers to do anything, to even see that it's their responsibility, let alone to change what are probably quite regressive attitudes towards rape in many cases. But, if they'll be hit in the pocket, if their livelihoods will be at risk, they'll have to step up their game. If that makes things safer for women (and men), that's good.

I'm skeptical about expensive public awareness and media campaigns (having been involved in some in the past for another public service which I felt were a monumental waste of scarce resources with no way of proving they made a whit of difference to behaviour!)

I think women and men know that if they are tanked up or under the influence of anything else, that they will be more vulnerable to everything from accidents to getting into fights, to being hit by a car to a sexual attack. I don't know that a public campaign will be the thing to get people to think about making the choice to drink alot, take drugs, whatever. I think if we want to change those behaviours, influence those decisions, we need to be doing that in a more concerted way, over a longer period of time, and much earlier - way before young people are old enough to go into pubs or clubs. This could be through schools or perhaps more effectively, through out of school initiatives like youth work.

So frankly, I think the money spent on this end - the part that niggles most, is a waste.

Maybe there is some merit in campaigns targeting men to inform them of what constitutes rape or sexual assault, if there is genuinely evidence out there that men do not know what the law states. But, I think there can also be better ways of getting that message home than an advert, poster or beer mat, which will be forgotten in a flash. Things like partnerships with employers, trade unions, sports clubs and yes, even pubs, things that aren't necessarily costly, but continue to keep the message going and involve engaging directly with men - that sort of thing.

Honestly, to me, it doesn't 'niggle'. It really horrifies me.

And as you say (and as the activist they quoted said), it is a waste.

summerflower Thu 11-Oct-12 10:48:49

>>the culture of the seventies as being one in which an ethos of sexual liberation collided with the reality of male dominance to create a whole new set of circumstances favouring the abuse of women.<<

This is a really interesting idea, because one of the things I am trying to work through is the negatives of sexual liberation (without sounding like a right-wing conservative). I think this point is crucial. I am not sure how much that attitude of male dominance/expectations has actually shifted.

Sorry, I don't mean that to pick at your words kri, or to imply we're not all reacting the same way ... just failing to be articulate. I mean, it feels like yet another thing where we are supposed to be glad we get 90% effort, rather than being annoyed about the glaring failure in the other 10%. Because the default expectation is we're lucky to get anything.

catwomanlikesmeatballs Thu 11-Oct-12 19:01:22

I don't know why people get so offended by the notion of being aware of danger and reducing vulnerability to crime. I hide my money/new iphone when I'm in the street because I expect that any junkies around will come up and grab it. I lock my doors and keep windows closed to reduce the chance of someone breaking in, or at the very least we'll notice them breaking in and can get the baseball bats/call the police. When you're out at night, being drunk and walking home alone (for example) exposes you to danger whether you are male or female. Women may be more likely to get attacked are more likely to be targets by a sex attacker, men by a group of other men who like to beat up people for fun.

Nothing justifies the behaviour of these criminals and society needs to deal with them a lot more seriously. It is the presence of these criminals everywhere which makes danger a horrible reality. It would be lovely to live as if the world was safe and free but it's not.

Some crime is absolutely unavoidable no matter how many precautions are taken, that doesn't mean you don't take precautions to prevent what can be avoided. There are evil fuckers out there looking for vulnerable people to exploit/harm, being and everyone needs to be aware of them and how they take advantage.

cat - but it doesn't really work. That's the problem.

A very small number of rapes occur because the woman was 'vulnerable' in the sense of being out late at night, or alone, or in a bad area, or drunk.

Of those rapes ... honestly, the rapist isn't going to give up because you or I didn't walk home in the dark. He wants to rape someone, he's going to go on to the next woman. That's why rape stats are so high amongst homeless women.

I feel scared walking down the canal towpath by my home in the dark, and there's good reason for me to feel scared. But as a police strategy, what telling women (who read the posters) to feel vulnerable does, is nothing.

And then the other issue is that campaigns like this reinforce the idea that if a woman does get raped, it is partly her fault - she ignored the 'hard hitting' campaign; she really should have taken precautions.

LastMangoInParis Thu 11-Oct-12 19:10:46

Curious that 'vulnerability' to rape is seen to include age and MH issues.
How the hell are women meant to 'reduce' their vulnerability by altering these?

Oh, and the idea of trying to target rapists through convictions for other crimes is curious too. What's the problem with targetting (and convicting)rapists for having committed the crime of rape? hmm
(OK, badly worded again, I know historically there have been many problems. But aren't the police supposed to be trying to make progress here?)
TBH I'm astounded at this 'targetting rapists by stealth' approach.
Why not look to convicting rapists for rape?

Revoking licences on the basis of sexual offences (I know I've worded this poorly. Sorry...) - yes, good, but I'm amazed that this is something new. Does that mean that some venues have been known to have this characteristic and yet nothing has been done whereas it would have been had other forms of violence/criminal activities been known to take place there? If so then that's staggering.

samandi Thu 11-Oct-12 21:11:00

Curious that 'vulnerability' to rape is seen to include age and MH issues.

Yes, I was wondering that!

samandi Thu 11-Oct-12 21:11:23

How women are supposed to alter them that is.

rogersmellyonthetelly Fri 12-Oct-12 09:14:37

I think in many cases alcohol is to blame for rape or sexual assault in pubs and clubs. I don't mean that by wearing short skirts and showing cleavage that a woman is asking for it, that's bollocks. She should be able to ask for it as much as she likes and still retain the right to say no at any point, and suggestive clothing is neither here nor there. What I do mean is that alcohol blurs perceptions, and affects decision making, so a woman may make a bad decision that means she puts herself in a vulnerable position with a man, and that the man makes a bad decision that this means she is willing to be groped or have sex, when in fact, if both were in full possession of their faculties the situation would probably never arise because they would both have realised that the signs of willingness on the woman's or mans part weren't there. There are also the other sorts of rape where people are in pubs specifically to take advantage of the fact that both men and women are made vulnerable to attack by alcohol and there is less likelihood of reporting because they are drunk, or if the attack is reported, that the circumstances are so unclear because of the alcohol that prosecution is impossible.
Education for both men and women would go a long way towards reducing the former, but only prosecution will fix the predatory behaviour of the latter.
I think the message about vulnerability is common sense tbh, you wouldnt draw a large amount of money out of a cash machine alone in the dark with a strange person hanging around, you may get mugged. Not that the mugging is your fault, but you give the opportunity by this behaviour.
In the same way, age, mh issues and alcohol can all give the opportunity for someone to assault you sexually, male or female, and it's only sensible to take reasonable precautions against it. Such as not drinking yourself insensible, and staying with your mates, making sure you have a safe way to get home.

YerMaw1989 Fri 12-Oct-12 09:35:45

Why shut the clubs down? boggle it'll just happen somewhere else , plus how often are people actually raped in clubs? what like on the dancefloor confused

Surely its better to have staff members who will happily challenge predatory club go-ers ? at the time? like groping etc.

me and a friend once had to go out of a club *3 flights of stairs a 20 minute walk around the block and back into the toilets because some blokes wouldn't leave us alone (only 18) and were still waiting outside the loo's for us.
Maybe if more people intervened in those times like target 'low level' behaviour in every club.

roger I have been tipsy on rather a lot of occasions and I have never accidentally sexually assaulted anybody. Have you?

Please tell me how to take reasonable precautions against age and MH issues confused

I think this quote is worth repeating:

"What makes women vulnerable is that the authorities side with the rapist rather than the victim: victims are disbelieved, especially if they have been attacked before."

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Fri 12-Oct-12 09:51:04

I think if it happens outside but is linked to the venue Then it can affect licensing conditions. I don't think it's immediate either - there are probably warnings and joint strategies to improve.

DuelingFanjo Fri 12-Oct-12 09:57:26

" I hide my money/new iphone when I'm in the street because I expect that any junkies around will come up and grab it. I lock my doors and keep windows closed to reduce the chance of someone breaking in, or at the very least we'll notice them breaking in and can get the baseball bats/call the police"

I read on mumsnet once a really good reason why it's rubbish to compare the violation of a person's body to having a phone stolen. I'll try to find it because it really explained why it's such a crass comparison to make.

DuelingFanjo Fri 12-Oct-12 10:05:06

"What I do mean is that alcohol blurs perceptions, and affects decision making, so a woman may make a bad decision that means she puts herself in a vulnerable position with a man, and that the man makes a bad decision that this means she is willing to be groped or have sex"

this is extremely offensive to men.

You think that men as a rule are so awful that they see a drunk woman who may be being friendly to them and they would think that's an invitation to grope them and that if they do it's not really their fault it's alcohol's fault? I don't know any men who would behave like that (as far as I know) and that's because I don't know any rapists.

DuelingFanjo Fri 12-Oct-12 10:09:10

can't find the exact quote I was looking for but this will do for now

"Comparing rape with theft makes my stomach turn. It suggests that a woman is a commodity who must be hidden so that people don't crave her too much. Men can quite happily walk around shirtless but women must cover up because rabid men can't possibly contain themselves?? What bollocks."

DuelingFanjo Fri 12-Oct-12 10:12:52

also: " but if I call the police because my TV is missing and I don’t have an alarm system and I left my back door unlocked they’re not going to tell me that I secretly wanted my TV stolen or that it was all my fault. If the guy who stole it gets caught, the defence isn’t going to put me on the stand and ask me 20 questions about how and why I left my back door open"

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Fri 12-Oct-12 10:15:20
DuelingFanjo Fri 12-Oct-12 10:17:35

That was the kind of thing Snatch, fab. thank you.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Fri 12-Oct-12 10:17:55

If I put my iPhone in my bag, someone meeting me might not know I have one.

They know I have a vagina, mouth and anus whatever I wear.

LurcioLovesFrankie Fri 12-Oct-12 10:18:58

The other point about the crap-ness of the iphone analogy is that if I hide my iphone, a would be mugger doesn't know whether I've got one or just an old-fashioned brick, or indeed, none at all. But I am obviously a woman regardless of what I wear - I can't hide the fact that somewhere under my clothes I have a vagina. And it doesn't matter what the clothes are - women get raped in shapeless tracky bottoms and sweatshirts, twinsets and pearls, sensible business suits, etc. etc. as well as clubbing gear.

rogersmellyonthetelly Fri 12-Oct-12 10:19:06

Sorry, maybe I should explain myself better. When I say that alcohol blurs perceptions, it makes them less likely to read te body language that we all exhibit all the time, so when I say bad decision, I mean that because of the alcohol, he may in fact not pick up that she isn't consenting, because he is too pissed to interpret things correctly. Hope this clears things up a bit, I was trying to differentiate between an assault resulting from both parties being too pissed to make good judgement calls about whether they want to have sex or not, and genuine predatory behaviour from either sex.

LurcioLovesFrankie Fri 12-Oct-12 10:19:31

Oops, cross posted!

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Fri 12-Oct-12 10:27:55

Roger I understand what you mean but the message should be "if you or the person you are with are too drunk to be sure of consent, then there is no consent." it should be as strong a message as "if you are drinking, don't drive"

LurcioLovesFrankie Fri 12-Oct-12 10:29:12

But it's the gaining of consent that matters, not the witholding. And decent men, even when pissed, can tell the difference (and importantly, care about the difference) between a woman who's joining in enthusiastically (albeit drunkenly) and a woman who's lying, frozen and in distress. And I think rapists can tell the difference too, they just don't care.

NormaStanleyFletcher Fri 12-Oct-12 12:20:44

RE locking your door reducing vulnerability to burglary being the same as staying sober protecting you from rape...

This is not the same. If you want an equivalent way of reducing your vulnerability to rape, then you would have to wear a locking chastity belt (which would also protect your anus), plus a locking mouth cover.

OatyBeatie Fri 12-Oct-12 12:33:18

Is the consensus here that any advice given to women on avoiding sexual assault amounts to victim blaming and is therefore wrongful?

That doesn't seem right to me. I can absolutely accept that in a culture (i.e. our culture) of victim blaming and acceptance of aggressive male sexual behaviour much of the advice given to women is problematic and a way of failing to face up to male responsibility. But it does also seem appropriate to think in terms of there being some element of appropriate advice to women. And if (a big if, I know) the police are absolutely serious and committed in their targetting of male perpetrators, it seems acceptable and constructive for there also to be some carefully thought advice for women that avoids seeming to make them responsible for offences against them.

DuelingFanjo Fri 12-Oct-12 12:43:34

Oaty - are you making a distinction between sexual Assault and rape?

"it seems acceptable and constructive for there also to be some carefully thought advice for women that avoids seeming to make them responsible for offences against them."

what carefully sthought advice would YOU think is good? To specifically stop sexual assault?

DuelingFanjo Fri 12-Oct-12 12:45:10

Also - Oaty, why do you think it is just women who need advice on staying safe?

I am asking you because anyone who thinks women should take some responsibility for making themselves safe from assault should at least be able to list the ways in which they can, no?

OatyBeatie Fri 12-Oct-12 13:09:11

I think women and men need advice on staying safe. I didn't say women needed more than men. For example, if there are drunk aggressive men in the streets intent on picking a fight, other men need advice on minimising their risk of being picked on.

An example of the kind of advice that isn't victim blaming and is acceptable? How about the advice not to leave your drink unattended in environments where it might be spiked? I don't think that offering that advice remotely suggests that spiking is acceptable and shouldn't be very aggressively pursued, and I don't think that advice suggests that a woman is to blame if her drink does get spiked. Whether or not it is being offered in an acceptable way depends entirely on the surrounding context, particularly the behaviour of the advice-giver. It is acceptable advice for the police to give only if they are conscientiously pursuing offenders and doing everything they can to make the environment safe for women, and to make all aspects of crime reporting and prosecution as positive and helpful for women as possible.

samandi Fri 12-Oct-12 13:15:46

What I do mean is that alcohol blurs perceptions, and affects decision making, so a woman may make a bad decision that means she puts herself in a vulnerable position with a man, and that the man makes a bad decision that this means she is willing to be groped or have sex, when in fact, if both were in full possession of their faculties the situation would probably never arise because they would both have realised that the signs of willingness on the woman's or mans part weren't there.

Sorry, but being drunk doesn't excuse you from your culpibility when it comes to committing crimes. If you drink drive, you are responsible. If you mug someone when drunk, you are responsible. If you stab someone when drunk, you are responsible. When you sexually assault someone when drunk, you are still responsible. There is nothing magical about rape that excuses someone because they were drunk - it is still a crime.

namechangeguy Fri 12-Oct-12 13:25:04

Getting back to the OP - has anybody been in touch with the police group concerned with this project to explain to them just where they are going wrong?

Yes, namechange - there was a good result someone wrote a thread about, with the Leith police IIRC.

You can also do the slightly less faff-y thing of writing to your MP, obviously.

oaty - so why give advice on 'staying safe' at the same time as giving advice about 'not raping'? I think that's my issue. The two things could be separated - you could have campaigns about safety that weren't gendered, like those adverts about keeping valuables in your car out of sight. That would then not tangle up the issue with blaming women for getting raped.

angryjoanna Sat 13-Oct-12 18:00:39

I too was wondering how you could change your mental health or age to become less "vulnerable". I was also baffled by the idea that revoking someone's driving license would help prevent rape:

“we don’t want them out there committing sexual offences so if they are disqualified from driving … this will help prevent rape.”

What?

Don't drink. Don't fall over. Don't be mentally ill. Don't get raped. And if you do, it was probably your fault. Same discourse, same culture that allowed Savile to do what he did.

angryjoanna Sat 13-Oct-12 18:15:13

Hope its not too annoying to post links (is it?). Expanded thoughts here: http://yourdaughterswillbenext.wordpress.com/2012/10/13/feminazi-witch-hunt-of-gentlemen-with-normal-sexual-preferences/

rogersmellyonthetelly Sat 13-Oct-12 20:38:13

Personally I think that the message to both men and women alike, regardless of mental health or age should be:
How to drink responsibly.
Don't get so pissed that you don't know where you are , who you are with, and what you are doing
Stay with your group of friends and operate a buddy system so if someone is pissed out of their heads they have someone relatively coherent with them until they are safe at home in bed with a bucket propped under their heads.
Know in advance how you are getting home, and stick to it
This would not only eliminate many sexual assaults but also prevent road accidents from drunks staggering into the path of oncoming vehicles and many other alcohol related incidents which take up far too much police and ambulance/a&e time!

roger - would it 'eliminate' sexual assualts, though?

My understanding is that a lot of homeless women get raped, simply because they don't have anywhere else to go.

A 'lot' of sexual assaults happen from men who're known to the women, not strangers.

I do agree we all need advice about sensible drinking/buddy systems. And as you say, this could very helpfully include advice about how to deal with a drunk friend.

I just don't think it should be making out that it will protect women from rape. It won't.

rogersmellyonthetelly Sat 13-Oct-12 21:28:39

No, It won't eliminate sexual assaults, IMO nothing ever will. There will always be people out there who find having power over others sexually arousing, and this leads to sexual assault on both men and women, of all ages.
What it will do is reduce the incidence in pubs and clubs by reducing opportunity for such people. much easier for someone drunk, on their own to be persuaded outside where there are no witnesses, or followed home, than someone who is accompanied by a not so drunk person who is able to see the dangers.

I don't see how that's a good thing, though?

If the net result is women who're vulnerable in other ways get raped, all we're doing is making a slight change to the demographics of who's most likely to get raped. It feels like going in circles to me. sad

The whole thing is shite.

ledkr Sat 13-Oct-12 21:32:32

I was assaulted in a club, quite severely, the staff didn't want to know I was far from vulnerable but was treated like an idiot even my friends didn'tunderstsn how serious it was he did it to control and humiliate me I was not vulnerable

That's awful, ledkr. I'm so sorry.

I do think staff at clubs should have the same responsibility in this area as they do with, say, fights - that seemed a really positive side of this new plan.

ledkr Sat 13-Oct-12 21:45:45

Thanks, it's funny but its been ony mind a lot recently with the savile stuff my dh had helped me loads to get my head around it. The staff seemed to just assume I was a drunk woman who didn't know what I was saying they put me on a taxi home whilst I was sobbing,these was a fireman on a stag do I so wish I'd called the police

God, that's horrible.

I would think you still could report it? I think even if it's a long time ago, you could.

I think the Savile stuff is bringing up demons for lots of people.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sat 13-Oct-12 21:59:06

Ledkr I'm so sorry.

Roger I think a number of women have been raped or assaulted by a male friend or acquaintance who offered to walk them home. I think your buddy system plan is a good one to reduce road accidents though.

ledkr Sat 13-Oct-12 22:05:43

Too late it was 7 years ago. It's men who need educating to respect women and not see them as perspective shags, that education comes from home and society. See us as people and stiff like that would reduce drastically

Amen to that.

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