A survey of Australian men and women has revealed that “nearly all” believe that rape is less serious if it’s committed by a “nice guy”, or one who is sexually frustrated, if the woman is drunk or wearing revealing clothing, reports The Age.
Although the number of people included in the survey was small – 61 – the findings are nonetheless extremely worrying:
Some scenarios contained “classic” elements, for instance, involving a stranger and a sober victim who physically resisted and contacted police immediately.
Other scenarios involved so-called rape “myths”. These are deviations from the stereotype which involved known men, like ex-boyfriends or so-called “nice guys” who were sexually frustrated, or women who were drunk and wearing revealing clothing.
Obviously, many of these prejudices are well known – but giving a rapist a lighter sentence because he is a “nice guy”. Are you kidding me?
Results showed nearly all participants thought these “myths” were a mitigating factor in determining the seriousness of the offence.
While they consistently attributed more blame to the offender, the level slipped in the non-typical scenarios.
And while jail was the most frequently chosen punishment for rapists, the participants were more likely to recommend a lighter penalty in cases that challenged the stereotype.