An opinion poll commissioned by the Home Office should be a powerful wake-up call on attitudes to violence against women.
Some of the headline findings have been reported in the press, but I would really suggest looking at the full poll results, which are much broader. (All the statistics refer to England & Wales.)
Here are some of the disturbing findings:
How acceptable or not do you think it is for a man to hit or slap his wife or girlfriend in response to … ?
That is, between 10-20% think domestic violence is acceptable in some way in response to “nagging”, flirting with other men, dressing in ‘sexy’ clothes in public, and not “treating him with respect”.
Meanwhile, victim blaming attitudes are even worse when it comes to women who’ve been sexually assaulted or raped:
These figures appear to actually show the situation is worse than we thought from that pivotal 2005 poll by Amnesty. For example, Amnesty found about 1/3 of people think women who’ve been flirting are responsible if they get raped, whereas the Home Office poll puts the figure at a shocking 43%. About 50% believe that women in prostitution bear some or all of the responsibility if they’re raped.
I couldn’t find this in the poll summary, but it’s been widely reported that there’s little difference between how men and women responded to this survey.
(The results also delve into how people would respond if they suspect someone they know is being abused by their partner, and what they’d do about it.)
The Home Office is launching a major consultation on how to tackle violence against women, and here’s the information on how to contribute.