The great date rape swindle… The authorities in NI want women to know that if you get raped it’s cause you’re STOOPID.

So, beginning with a comment posted today by @estheraddley

so here’s one to start you off.
the daily hatemail. date rape drugs are a myth. young girls are to blame. the comments are a charm.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1223134/Young-women-fear-drink-spiked-just-alcohol.html

Now it wouldn’t be like the daily mail to spout hateful shite in order to boost their hits. They’ve already got the bleeding heart liberal community’s mass attention following last week’s debacle and so they really should exploit it. For that reason there’s not a whole lot of merit in pointing out why this article on the made-upness of date rape is complete nonsense with illusions of scientific grandeur because they interviewed someone with a DR in front of their name AS WELL AS being deeply offensive to anyone who has ever been the victim of this horrendous crime. But it is worth noting that we should be concerned about the kind of attitudes this article is connecting with in the wider public. I was looking for some real science on date rape drugs and came across this lovely sentence on wikipedia:

‘Many assailants use alcohol because their victims often willingly imbibe it, and can be encouraged to drink enough to lose inhibitions or consciousness.’

There’s something really weird about that statement for me because, call me crazy but I think losing inhibitions and losing consciousness belong on two different strata of experience. And yes, both could be self inflicted. But equally both could be carefully orchestrated and manipulated. Whatever way it happens, if someone has sex with you when you are unable to either resist strongly or give enthusiastic consent then that is rape. End of.

The article reminded me that I want to point you towards this blog post about how pertinent the issue of victim blaming is right here in Northern Ireland. Incidently, the post was written by @EKSwitaj and RT’d by @ShelbyKnox who lives in America. Great that it got noticed but strange that it went around the world and back before I was aware. Another reason why I thought we needed a platform to talk about these issues as they are played out on our own soil.

The concept that ‘Alcohol is the number one rape drug’ is becoming increasingly distorted so that women are made to feel that if they get drunk while out at a bar they are administering a rape drug to themselves. It’s ludicrous. It makes me see the importance of the straight talking attitude of Rape Crisis Scotland’s campaign “This is not an invitation to rape me”.

There’s still time to email Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Safety Michael McGimpsey and tell him that we want a proper rape prevention strategy that encourages women to keep themselves safe but doesn’t let rapists off the hook. I received a supportive email from Carmel Hanna who said she will table a question to the minister in the assembly and keep us updated.

In closing, I recently read the following quote in an interview with Katherine Rake, departing leader of the Fawcett Society. It sums up the alcohol dilemma very succinctly for me by noting that most violent crime involves alcohol but it is only in rape cases that this seems to discredit the experience of the victim:

“The rape debate seems to push her closest to fury. “So much of it focuses on alcohol,” she says, “and this question of whether a woman is culpable if she’s been drinking. I mean, most of the victims of GBH are drunk, but nobody’s ever suggested that there should be a lesser charge for defendants in those cases. As soon as you draw that parallel, you think, well, the argument surrounding rape is an absolute outrage.”

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