Former Judge: Rape is All the Woman’s Fault for Drinking So Much

You probably remember Steubenville, Ohio, where in August 2012 Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond, two star members of the Steubenville  High School football team, brought a drunk 16-year-old girl to several parties and sexually assaulted her.

On March 17, 2013, Mays and Richmond were convicted of rape. Richmond was sentenced to at least one year in the state juvenile system. (West Virginia station WTRF reported last Monday that Richmond — who was released from a juvenile detention center in January — is now back on his old football team.) Mays was sentenced to serve at least two years in juvenile detention, and remains incarcerated. Both young men must register as sex offenders for the next 20 years.

The law spoke, and a measure of justice was served. And yet, disturbingly, some elements of the mainstream media sympathized with the rapists. Many blamed the girl, saying she should not have gone to the party and gotten drunk.

Now, this week, a former judge in the UK has claimed rape conviction statistics will not improve until women “stop getting so drunk.”

The Independent reports that retired judge Mary Jane Mowat said it is an inevitable fact of being “one person’s word against another” during rape trials. She went on to say that the conviction rate of cases that go to trial will not improve unless women stop drinking so heavily.

Why do we always go back to the Adam and Eve story? This is a tale that didn’t begin in the Bible’s Old Testament, but existed in many different versions prior to the Bible: the Adam and Eve story pervaded the thoughts of ancient writers and can be found in the writings of Greeks, Syrians, Egyptians, Abyssinians, Hebrews and other ancient peoples.

In all of them, if only Eve hadn’t tempted Adam, everything would have been fine. Poor Adam!

The arrival of evil in the world was the woman’s fault; then and now. But why? Why is evil always the fault of the woman, the evil seductress? When are we going to stop blaming women, the victims, for rape?

This is especially tragic for rape survivors, for whom such a negative environment makes it almost impossible to recover from the traumatic event.

Rape victims are often afraid or ashamed to come forward and tell someone that they have been raped for fear of getting judged as a lesser person because they are seen as promiscuous, as if they somehow could have caused the rape.

Or, as Tara Culp-Ressler at Think Progress writes, “Rather than receiving compassion and support, rape victims are typically greeted with suspicion and shame. They’re either told that the crime was their own fault because they should have been smarter, or they’re assumed to be lying.”

This is just plain wrong: rape is by definition an act in which someone is forced to have sex against their will. We need to change the way we think about rape.

As Katie Russell, a spokesperson for Rape Crisis England & Wales explains: “The point that she (Mowat) and other influential people within the criminal justice system should be making clearly and publicly is that the legal responsibility is with the defendant in a rape case to evidence how they sought and received consent. And if a woman is incapacitated through drink or drugs then she is not capable of giving her consent.”

Yes, one hundred percent of the responsibility for any act of sexual violence lies with its perpetrator.

Years ago, involved in the radical feminist movement, I heard over and over the saying, “All men are rapists.” This is so blatantly untrue that I had no choice but to move away from the movement.

The point is not to blame men, but to see how we can re-think the subject of rape.

Women are told to cover up, wear protective underwear and get trained in self-defense. Why are we not educating young men about their responsibilities?

Drunk or sober, no victim of rape is ever “just as guilty” as the person who assaulted her.

No More Victim Blaming.

Photo Credit: thinkstock


Tanya W
Tanya W5 months ago

Thank you for sharing

Tanya W
Tanya W5 months ago

Rape is wrong and an act of power over another. It is not the woman's fault that she is raped. That said - don't put yourself in the position that others can take's not a fair world!!! So be smart and be one step ahead of those who wish to hurt you

Jim V
Jim V10 months ago


Jerome S
Jerome S10 months ago

thanks for sharing.

Simon Tucker
Simon Tucker3 years ago

Whilst not into victim blaming personally, these articles and responses always seem to assume that the perpetrators were stone cold sober, and completely in control of what they were doing when they committed the crime. Not being in control is not an excuse.

Accept it: these incidents can be, and are often, incredibly messy - it doesn't justify rape, nor women or men being prevented from having a good night out (although why the definition of "having a good night out" for either sex should be about getting so drunk you don't know what you are doing I no longer understand), but it is never as straightforward as the strident voices demand.

What these voices demand is that one sex, usually the males, need to control themselves so that they don't victimise the other sex, usually the females, when they don't control themselves. Surely it is up to both sexes to act appropriately to ensure that rape does not happen and that requires change in social attitudes and customs?

I speak as a male who was once molested when drunk by a rapacious female. I thought it rather a sad situation.

Nicole Heindryckx

Girls should stop going to parties and certainly stop drinking. And young men ? they can attend parties, drink as much as they like combined - or not - with the use of quite some drugs ? When I was young (about 40/45 years ago) girls did nog drink and used no drugs. And yet there were rapes. Apparently not so much ? I don't know. Girls of my age just did not dare to tell anyone what happened to them. And there were no statistics ! I was raped when I was 18 by my boyfriend, when walking in a park. nobody never knew anything about it. I just lived in shame and disgust for myself and awaited my monthly period with much fear. Fortunately, I did not get pregnant. Then girls were also accountable for being raped because of their way of clothing, use of make up, or liked to dance... And what about all the girls and women who are raped while going to school or their job ? Do we have to keep our daughters at home as soon as it gets dark. Or drive them to the cinema, a school party ?? NO. Rape and murder on young girls or women is the responsibility of MEN. And if drinking and using drugs would be controlled in a more appropriate way, then percentage of rape would tumble down. But of course I AM A WOMAN. And as far as I can see men still to think that we are brainless creatures !!

Lori E.
Lori E3 years ago

Seriously?! Stop blaming the victims, the people who take advantage of a woman just because she drank a little too much are SICK!

Kayla Sapp
Past Member 3 years ago

A human beings never has any right to rape another human. Not ever, how sickening! Whether they are intoxicated or a felon! Rape is never excusable!

Magdalen B.
Magdalen B3 years ago

Oh no she didn't!

john hall
john hall3 years ago

Rape is wrong and the man should be hung by the balls when caught...but as a father of 3 adult who just left to go to college, we tried to get into their heads don't put yourself in bad cituations where asswipe men will and can take advantage of you...i don't blame women when shit like this happens but in some cases women put themselves in a horrible position to get raped.