The Dawn Chorus

Fresh Australian Feminism

It’s Still Rape If She “Drinks And Smokes Cones” Before She’s Raped

Posted by Clem Bastow on July 9, 2008

Nothing makes my blood boil faster than the way the media – and many of the courts – so often handle rape cases. We’ve all seen The Accused, but it’s disheartening how many defense lawyers/judges/defendants will still bring up irrelevant things like what the victim was wearing, or what she’d had to drink before the rape took place. When will they realise that rape is rape, and there are no “grey” areas, no “date rape”, no “marital rape” – just rape?

Take this case from the Northern Territory: a 13-year-old girl was raped and left running through the streets naked until a stranger helped her. But just count how many times the court (and the Northern Territory News) mention her other activities the evening of the attack:

The Northern Territory Supreme Court heard the teen was ”significantly” drunk and high on cannabis when she was allegedly sexually assaulted by a 20-year-old man in a Palmerston park last September.

Crown prosecutor Mark Thomas told the jury yesterday the girl ”struggled free” of her attacker, and ran semi-naked through a darkened city street for help.

[…]The court heard the drunken girl was distraught.

The alleged attacker has pleaded not guilty to one count of sexual intercourse without consent and the aggravated assault of the girl’s friend.

Mr Thomas said the girl and her 14-year-old friend took a bus to Palmerston where they were invited to a house to drink and smoke cones with friends on September 9.

He said the younger girl later left the house with the defendant to make a phone call from a public phone box about 6.40pm, but her girlfriend tried to stop her because she was too drunk.

That’s four times by my count. I certainly hope Crown Prosecutor Mark Thomas isn’t taking this case where it seems to be going from the evidence presented above.

I was discussing this sort of case/reportage with a friend yesterday, and she reminded me how so often passive language is used in articles about rape. As she said, articles will say things like “drinking too much may make you vulnerable to rape” – when the reality is, only rapists make you vulnerable to rape.


3 Responses to “It’s Still Rape If She “Drinks And Smokes Cones” Before She’s Raped”

  1. tina_sparkle said

    looking for a ‘legitimate’ rape victim? not in this story.

    I like how the ‘drunk and stoned’ angle is juxtaposed with nudity to create her culpability. because whether or not a victim is naked makes all the difference, apparently.


  2. audrey said

    I read an interesting article once taken from a Canadian study into the passive voice in newspapers.

    Whereas robberies etc will often be described in the active voice (“3 men robbed a hotel”), violence (especially against women) is most often described passively. “A woman WAS raped/molested/abused/abducted”

    There were a series of ads broadcast in New Zealand recently highlighting the dangers of alcohol. The tagline was “it’s not what we’re drinking, it’s how we’re drinking.”

    Of course, the one with the chick showed her being dragged off into an alley. Outrageous. You’re exactly right Clem. The only thing that makes you vulnerable to rape is rapists.

    Sigh. I just can’t read this shit anymore.

  3. Robert Bennett said

    strangely I read the general tone of the article to be getting me good and mad at her parents for letting a 13 year old be … a) out and about that time without an adult , b) stoned c) pissed.
    at no point did it enter my head to blame the girl for what occurred. Every 13 year old is pretty much an idiot – gullible , easily manipulated and weak in dealing with peer pressure – where was the adult supervision ? Very sad
    While I love a semantic debate as much as the next pedant , telling young women that “The only thing that makes you vulnerable to rape is rapists” is disingenuous – the only thing that makes you vulnerable to lions is walking around in africa without a gun … while true- the info is useless. It would be lovely if all the men had a meeting and decided never to rape again , and all the women had a meeting and decided never to screw a man over using his kids as hostages … ain’t gonna happen! – so both should be aware that their actions have consequences and that there are dangers out there that we can avoid with some basic common sense

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