Another Day, Another Victim-Blaming Story

Agony aunt Irma Kurtz says women who get drunk with men are at risk of rape – doesn’t have much to say about the men doing the raping


by Sophie Cullinane |
Published on

Has anyone else noticed that there seems to be a new victim-blaming story in the news pretty much every single day at the moment? Well today is no different - yet another person who ought to know better has just said something else to make victims of rape feel partially responsible for the crime horrific committed to them. Good job.

Irma Kurtz, who has worked as an agony aunt for Cosmopolitan since 1973, is facing a massive internet backlash today after saying women should not get drunk around men because it puts them at the risk of rape. She stressed that the onus was on women to protect themselves as best they could against violent attack. Apprently, girls who ‘get drunk with the boys’ become unable to properly defend themselves because ‘drunkenness tears that away. It really is carelessness to lose your self-defence.’ She went on to say that rape is ‘an assault with a weapon’ and that ‘you really have to be a little bit defensive when you’re around people who are stupid and armed.’

The 78 year old made the comments on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour yesterday morning and, in the last 24 hours and has been lambasted by twitter users and rape campaigners who have called the comments ‘totally irresponsible’ ‘misguided, unhelpful and judgemental’.

And it’s not just happening in the UK. In India, Asha Mirje, a female member of the government panel for women, said that women are ‘responsible to an extent’ for rape and that their ‘clothing and behaviour’ play a part in their attack. Asha later apologised (if you can call it that), saying that her comments were only her ‘personal opinion’. A rape is currently recorded every 22 minutes in India.

All of this is, at the very best, woefully unhelpful and will obviously make difficult reading for anyone who has been the victim of rape. Here’s a novel idea, instead of putting the onus on women to ‘protect themselves’ by changing their behaviour, why not ‘add to the conversation’ about rape but asking men to stop raping. Isn’t that a better use for the platform you’ve been giving when you're in the public eye? Just a thought…

Follow Sophie on Twitter @sophiecullinane

Picture: Rex

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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