11 thoughts on “Government poll – violence against women

  1. The figures are a bit difficult to understand. It looks as though having an affair is just fine, as long as you dress demurely. Really?!? Nagging and sexy clothes in public are quite different matters. Huh?

    The figures about interferring in the case of domestic violence are also interesting. I’d bet that the actual facts suggest people are inflating their willingness to get involved, but that’s not too much more than a guess.

  2. monkey, these are shocking numbers. jj, i noticed the same about hitting/slapping. very curious. maybe because once she’s cheated, she’s not quite yours to slap any more? or maybe these men think that slapping teaches her a lesson, so it’s only appropriate if she hasn’t yet strayed?

  3. *sighs* and when it comes to rape, women more often think the victim should be partially held responsible and women less often think she should never be held responsible.
    The difference between men and women is only significant in the case where people were asked how far victims should be held responsible if she was raped if she is walking alone at night, I also think that’s the most sad example, that women think that victims should be partially held responsible if they get raped in that case.
    What on earth is wrong with those people?

  4. elp, I was wondering whether there was something about public-private going on. Being nagged in public might be much worse than being cheated on? That’s hard to understand, at least for me.

    somehow I thought this post was from Jender! I’m getting confused…

  5. Hello all. Although the figures are sad news, I was struck by just how few people were surveyed. I wonder how representative these views really are?

  6. Hi Monkey, thanks for posting this. I find the wording of some of the questions a bit frustrating. For example, (on hippocampa’s comment above) ‘hold partly responsible’ is ambiguous between causal and moral responsibility. The responses might be tracking people’s perceived causal contributions to rape (factors they believe might increase the risk of rape).

    ‘Held responsible’ does tend to be used in terms of moral responsibility, but I wonder whether this distinction is blurred in such questionairres. A clearer question might be ‘Is a rapist any less blameworthy for his action if…’, or ‘ to what extent is is a woman blameworthy for being raped if…’.

    JJ and elp – I agree, weird reports on the factors that people take to justify violence. and worrying.

  7. Hi There,

    I agree it’s odd that there appear to be people who think it’s acceptable to slap a woman for wearing a short skirt but not for an affair (on the other hand, I find it weird that people think it’s okay to slap a woman for any of the reasons offered).

    I’d like to offer a thought about the statistics about holding women responsible for being raped (which seem to crop up in more places than this study). I wonder if these statistics arise in part from a failure to distinguish moral and prudential reasons?

    We presumably hold people responsible when they fail to respond appropriately to salient reasons. Let’s presume agreement that the only person morally responsible for a rape is the rapist (he is not responding to moral reasons).

    What these statistics might reflect however is a feeling that women sometimes aren’t taking due note of prudential reasons that they have for not acting in certain ways.

    I’m NOT saying this is (or isn’t) the right thing to think– I just wonder whether surveys on this topic would have different results if the questions were set up to make allowance for the idea that there could be different ways of ‘being responsible’.

  8. stoat and crossroadsvirgil, i suspect you’r probably both half-right. there*is* an ambiguity, and i bet the reason people feel so comfortable in saying ‘yes she’s partially responsible’ is just that they’re picking out an apparent causal/prudential responsibility. the reason i say i suspect you’re half-right is that i find it *highly* unlikely that your average jo distinguishes for herself between these different sorts of responsibility. you would impress me greatly if you could find a random person on the street would had a concept of causal responsibility in the absence of moral. …so maybe this ‘this is not an invitation to rape me’ campaign is focusing on the wrong side. maybe what they need to be educating the public about is that the man is responsible for his actions, _full stop_. that how a woman dresses is no reason at all (not moral, not causal) in light of the fact that men are responsible for controlling their own behaviour.

  9. Hi elp – yes, for sure, I don’t expect people who answered this will have had that distinction clearly in mind; rather a blurring of the two notions.
    I disagree with you though: I think people do work with a concept of causal but not moral responsibility (not so called, perhaps)- people quite commonly say things that indicate the distinciton: ‘i broke it but it wasn’t my fault’ etc…
    It wouldn’t be surprising if this case is one in which it the two get muddied.
    Still, one can easily imagine the thought ‘she wouldn’t have been raped (at t1) if she hadn’t been in the dark alley (at t1)’ going through respondents minds, as attributions of causal contributions to getting raped. That might translate into a reported view that the victim is to be ‘partly held responsible’.
    But that just means that it’s hard to know what to make of the statistics, as we don’t know what is really meant by the claims people subscribe to.

  10. yes, yes, i think you must be right about people’s concepts. hmm. but yes, i highly suspect that in this instance, people aren’t good at picking them apart. tho your point that we can’t tell from the stats seems completely right. people are mad!

  11. whichever way, the stats show something is seriously wrong:

    if the beliefs expressed are about what causally contributes to rape, or what’s prudent, then that’s worrying (whether or not the beliefs are true or false – they may play a role in shaping expectations and behaviour);
    if the beliefs are about moral responsibility of the victim, then that’s depressing.
    (though, as Monkey says, perhaps these beliefs are not representative).

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