It shouldn't surprise to me find some so-called journalist distorting a story in order to get a sensationalist headline. It also shouldn't surprise me to find these journalists running a distorting headlines without a thought for the consequences of their actions.
I would like to say that it surprises me that this has happened on the BBC News web site, but I am afraid that the BBC News website is a watchword for poorly - hastily - written pieces. Normally, I just spot grammatical errors, paragraphs in the wrong order or references to something 'above' which has subsequently been edited out. Irritating, indicative of sloppy standards, but, ultimately inconsequential.
Then I see the headline
'Rape victims to blame' - survey.
I click to the story, headlined in bold:
The opening paragraph says
There is a massive difference between 'some...should take responsibility' to 'Rape victims to blame'
It's not just semantics to point out the massive difference between the initial headline on the front page and the actual substance of the story.
If you read the initial headline, you might subconsciously read it as ALL victims are to blame. 'Blame' is not 'responsibility'.
In reality most women - and men - take some responsibility for their own personal safety. Accepting our own personal responsibility can, I suppose, logically be transferred to criticising people who don't take that responsibility. But it's a very big leap of (illogic) to turn that into 'blame', and a very very big leap to imply that all rape victims are therefore to blame.
When a crime is committed, the criminal is always to blame. We all have the opportunity from time-to-time to commit a crime against another; most of us don't.
There are many crimes of sexual violence where any detached observer can say "If she hadn't got into Situation A, Scenario B wouldn't have happened, and therefore Act C, the rape or assault wouldn't have occurred". Avoiding Situation A is about taking responsibility. Suggesting that the victim is to blame, because Act C is a direct and inevitable consequence of A, is downright irresponsible.
In any case, this only covers the fraction of rapes that are commonly known as 'date rapes'. If by writing that, I make it seem that a 'date rape' is trivial, I don't mean that. As long as it's properly defined.
Waking up in the morning regretting that drunken shag and calling it rape post-hoc is almost never justifiable, and that's where personal responsibility matters.
But to be on a date and to be violently assaulted, sexually or not, or to be violently assaulted within a long-term relationship. Well, we can all take a superior attitude, call it 'bad judgement', and so on, but to suggest that the victim is to 'blame' is generally unsustainable and unjustified. And, in any case, what we as individuals may say in private conversation, with the chance to discuss context for hours on end, is really quite different from writing a headline on the BBC News front page, especially when large numbers of the people who read the headline won't read the story.
Isn't it about the time that the BBC News online start taking responsibility or else I will blame them for reinforcing the widely-held belief that women are always to blame for being raped.