(Response to Sue Alexander's email on 10th June as appeared on the Belfast Telegraph website)
Victim blaming (that is, proportioning blame on to the victim of a crime rather than blaming the perpetrator) is coming up again and again in the recent discourse surrounding rape.
Victim blaming is an attempt to place blame for the crime (in particular in a case of rape) on the victim rather than blaming the perpetrator. This happens in ways such as telling women they should not consume too much alcohol, by telling women they should not walk home alone at night (which doesn't make sense, as statistically most rapes are committed by a person known to the victim), by telling women how they should and should not dress and that this is a responsibility of theirs in order not to attract unwanted attention.
Women should never carry any blame or be made to feel in any way responsible for what is a hideous, terrible thing to happen to someone, and the only person who is at fault in a situation of rape is the rapist, never the victim. We need to keep repeating this. You shouldn't have to teach your daughters how to minimalise risks to themselves- we should be teaching our sons not to rape.
NUS-USI Women's Officer