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Scottish Social Attitudes survey

Scottish Social Attitudes survey

The Scottish Government has published new findings on attitudes to violence against women from the Scottish Social Attitudes survey. The full report is available here.

Only 3 in 5 people in Scotland think a woman is not at all to blame for being raped if she wears revealing clothing (58%) or is very drunk (60%), new findings from ScotCen Social Research’s Scottish Social Attitudes survey reveal.

The report on attitudes towards violence against women, commissioned by the Scottish Government to address a gap in current evidence, explores in detail the attitudes of people in Scotland to violence against women and shows that as many as 5% thought that the woman was entirely to blame for being raped if she was very drunk.

Social divisions on victim blaming
The findings also reveal stark contrasts in attitudes to rape between different social groups:
• Age: Younger people were significantly less likely to blame the victim for being raped – 70% of those aged 18 to 29 years old thought a woman wearing revealing clothing was ‘not at all to blame’ for being raped, compared with 38% of those aged over 65
• Education: 65% of people with degrees thought a woman who was very drunk was ‘not at all to blame’ for being raped, compared with 46% of those with no formal qualifications
• Income: 70% of those in the highest income group thought a woman wearing revealing clothing was ‘not at all to blame’, compared with 50% of those in the lowest income group The research also covered the attitudes of people in Scotland to a range of other issues including:
• Revenge porn: 88% said that they thought an ex-boyfriend posting naked photos online was ‘very seriously wrong’, while 87% thought it would cause ‘a great deal’ of harm.
• Domestic abuse: a higher proportion felt it was ‘very seriously wrong’ for a man to get angry and slap his wife (92%) compared with a wife slapping her husband (81%).
• Prostitution: 34% of respondents thought paying for sex was ‘always wrong’, while 10% thought it was ‘not wrong at all’.

Susan Reid, Research Director at ScotCen commented: “Today’s findings show that although most people in Scotland feel that violence against women is wrong, views vary considerably depending on the circumstances. For example, in certain contexts more people feel that a rape victim is partly to blame. Changing people’s attitudes is essential to eradicating violence against women and girls; this report highlights how far we still have to go.”

Sandy Brindley of Rape Crisis Scotland said: “These figures are extremely worrying. Rape is a devastating crime. No matter what someone is wearing or how much they have had to drink, the only person to blame is the perpetrator. Attitudes which blame women for rape can have a very negative impact. These attitudes can stop women from speaking to anyone about what has happened or reporting it to the police because of fear of being blamed. We are also very concerned about the impact they might have on access to justice following a rape – jury members are made up of members of the public and statistically it is likely that at least some jury members sitting on rape trials will hold these kinds of attitudes. These figures highlight the need for a sustained commitment to public education which raises awareness about the reality of rape and which challenges myths about who is to blame.”

ScotCen interviewed 1,501 people throughout Scotland between May to August 2014 using random probability sampling. For more information about the Scottish Social Attitudes survey, please contact: sophie.brown@natcen.ac.uk / Tel: 020 7549 9550