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Grrr. Guardian article on rape in pubs and clubs.

(62 Posts)
LRDtheFeministDragon Thu 11-Oct-12 08:28:10

Oh, damn. angry

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?!

LRDtheFeministDragon Thu 11-Oct-12 08:29:01

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".

LRDtheFeministDragon Thu 11-Oct-12 09:20:29


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Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LRDtheFeministDragon Thu 11-Oct-12 09:43:51

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.

FireOverBabylon Thu 11-Oct-12 10:23:52

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.

PlentyOfPubeGardens Thu 11-Oct-12 10:30:21

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.

LRDtheFeministDragon Thu 11-Oct-12 10:47:35

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.

LRDtheFeministDragon Thu 11-Oct-12 10:48:51

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.

LRDtheFeministDragon Thu 11-Oct-12 19:05:43

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.

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