Attitudes that blame victims of rape excuse perpetrators

Alcohol Consumption and Victim Blaming

RCNI Press Release – July 19th, 2012
Attitudes that blame victims of rape excuse perpetrators and reduce the likelihood of the prosecution of rapists

Rape Crisis Network Ireland (RCNI) today released a publication highlighting attitudes towards women, alcohol consumption and rape which prevent women reporting sexual assaults. 
Commenting at the publication, RCNI Executive Director, Fiona Neary, said: ‘It seems incredible that blame would be attached to the victim of a crime, yet victims of rape often face accusations of having facilitated the rape by not taking adequate precautions, leading the man on, or because of their behaviour preceding the rape such as being intoxicated.’
‘A victim of rape, whether or not intoxicated, is not responsible for their victimisation. Our schools need to look at the incorporation of mandatory and proven programmes on sexual violence targeting young people at this influential stage. Alcohol marketing, including sponsorship, in so far as it propagates potentially harmful associations between sex and alcohol, must be curtailed and limited’, she added.
Findings presented in the RCNI document show that intoxicated female victims of rape are more likely to be blamed or assigned responsibility for the rape than sober victims, while intoxicated male perpetrators tend to be assigned less responsibility than sober perpetrators. Blaming victims who are intoxicated supports a culture where everyone’s vulnerability to rape is increased.
These findings were released as part of the RCNI’s 12 part information series focussing on alcohol and sexual violence.
In the 2009 Rape and Justice in Ireland (RAJI) report it was found that victims of rape who consumed alcohol at the time of the rape were likely to self-blame. They were also likely to decline reporting their rape, or withdraw their complaint, due to expected negative reactions from services. 
One victim explains, ‘I was drunk at the time when it happened and wasn’t sure how they [Gardaí] would respond…’, while another stated, ‘no point. His word against mine and I had been drinking’. A third victim describes how she ‘felt very ashamed as [she] was drinking and left the disco with him’.
The fact sheet is part of a series of publications entitled ‘Calling Time on Sexual Violence and Alcohol: The Facts’ which are available through the RCNI blog site

To receive the regular blog updates log on to for the full briefing document, referencing and fact sheet titled Alcohol and Sexual Violence: Alcohol consumption and victim blaming.
For more information contact Eileen Keleghan on 086 – 0603646 or



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