Monday, June 7, 2010

Won't Miss #182 - attitudes toward rape

When I was in university, one of my psychology professors discussed rape and culpability for the crime. He asked if a woman who dresses provocatively, flirts, and is in a place where people frequently hook up for one-night stands is responsible, at least in part, for being raped. When some people in the class said she was, he then asked if a jewelry shop that had a beautiful display of necklaces filled with precious gems was responsible, at least in part, for their wares being stolen. In other words, do we hold the victim responsible for enticing the criminal? In Japan, the answer when it comes to rape victims is definitely, "yes." I have heard directly and indirectly from more than one sexual assault victim in Japan who has said the police blamed them when they reported being raped. They also tried to dissuade the women from even filing a report. In the most despicable case, the police asked a woman who had been raped by her stepfather why she was alone with him in her apartment (implying that she showed poor judgment). I've discussed this with many Japanese people and the vast majority hold the woman at least partially responsible either by being in a place where she can be taken advantage of or for how she looks.

I won't miss this despicable attitude toward rape victims.