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Face the Facts: Sadly, blaming finger still pointed at rape victims

According to psychologists Carole Wade and Carol Tavris, 51 percent of college men reported that, if they were guaranteed that they would not get caught, they would rape a woman.

What a gruesome fact.

When I first read that in my Sociology 101 class last quarter, I couldn’t believe it. I instantly looked at all of the men around me, trying to picture who would be a part of that percentage.

As I continued to play the sexual predator version of “Guess Who?,” I began to think of all my male friends. None of them seemed to represent that statistic.

Reactions within the room of 400 college students varied: Men were enraged and women noticeably felt threatened.

But was that just because that is what is socially acceptable? What did they really think in consideration to rape?

While at lunch a few weeks ago, the topic came up in conversation. To my surprise, every guy at the table blamed women.

Being the only woman sitting at the table, I felt slightly uncomfortable as five full-grown men stated the reasons why the blame should be placed on women.

They believed women should be smart enough to stay away from dangerous situations and take care of themselves, that women shouldn’t dress a certain way if they don’t want it to happen to them. They also said some girls just “ask for it.”

Why shouldn’t a woman be able to dress in a way that makes her feel good about herself, even if that means showing a bit of skin? Why shouldn’t a girl be able to go to a party and have fun?

How in the world do any of those reasons listed above give 51 percent of college men the excuse to violate anyone in any way? How does the way people dress signal that they are asking to be violated?

Recently, a friend told me a story about a local police officer telling an 18-year-old woman that it was due to “girls like her” that rape was even an issue.

I think it’s interesting that the majority of the blame is put on women and hardly any fingers ever point to the perpetrators with complete disgust.


When a violation occurs, the least common phrase I hear is: How or why would a man even consider taking part in such an unthinkable act?

But you’d better believe I hear men and even some women asking whether the girl had any alcohol that night, whether she was wearing something provocative and whether she had been with a guy before.

If any of those questions were answered with the word “yes,” I would generally expect the blame to be put on the victim’s shoulders.

This mentality has a lot to do with how women and men are brought up: While young girls are taught to use pepper spray and self-defense moves, men are taught how to use a condom and talk to girls.

For example, when I left for college, one of my female friends gave me a whistle. When one of my male friends left for college, his father gave him the Trojan variety pack.  

Men are not completely to blame for this, and neither are women. I believe society has something to do with current expectations of the people around us.

Since we are all a part of society, should we not be able to change the statistics and the beliefs protecting others as well as ourselves?

But for now, I plan on keeping a can of pepper spray on hand and my newly acquired whistle close by.

Lindsay Friedman is a freshman studying journalism and a columnist for The Post.  Are you upset with the “blame the victim” mentality? Let Lindsay know at

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