The complexity of victim-questioning attitudes by rape victim advocates: exploring some gray areas

Author(s)Maier, Shana L
Title The complexity of victim-questioning attitudes by rape victim advocates: exploring some gray areas
Source Violence Against Women; December 2012; Vol.18; No. 12; pp 1413-1434
Date 2012
Document type Journal article
Coverage USA
Summary In this study the author interviewed 58 women advocates working with rape crisis centres or programs in four East Coast states of the U.S. The study aimed to examine victim-questioning attitudes of advocates, including questions, negative judgment, or frustrations regarding the behaviour or choices of a victim before the rape. It was found that the majority (76%) of advocates never expressed any victim-questioning attitudes during the interview. 14 advocates (24%) did express some degree of victim-questioning attitudes. The author found that the results highlight the grey area between offering practical, preventive techniques women can use to avoid rape and blaming women who have not followed recommendations and are raped. For example, although advocates believed that drinking not only put women at a greater risk of being raped, but also at greater risk of being questioned or blamed. Several recommendations are made for policy change, including advocates training by rape crisis centres and programs on how to recognise unexamined internal bias towards rape victims.
Keywords Advocates; rape victims; support; bias; rape crisis centre; victim blaming
Topic Sexual assault; service delivery