On 14 December, BBC news reported that Anthony Parry, 49, had been sentenced to 6 years in prison for raping a 19 year-old student. Parry attacked the woman while she was unconscious and ignored her pleas for him to stop when she woke up.
While the sentence is good news for the victim, the judge's words on sentencing were definitely not.
Judge Niclas Parry said that by drinking heavily and taking drugs on the night of her attack, the victim had "let herself down badly." He also described her as being made "easy prey for a rapist". Despite the victim's behaviour being absolutely irrelevant to her rapist's actions, the Judge still felt the need to mention it, and perpetuate a toxic culture of victim-blaming which already means rape is not taken seriously enough in our society.
By focusing on the victim's behaviour - even while SENTENCING a rapist who was found GUILTY - Judge Niclas Parry has implied that victims are partially culpable for what happens to them. He has also fed into the myth that rapists are somehow not totally responsible for their actions. If judges are still blaming victims even while sentencing rapists, this contributes to a society where women are too ashamed to report rapes and rapists will continue to go unpunished. The blame for rape needs to be laid squarely and solely at the feet of the men who choose to rape.
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