Letter: Women's 'responsibility' for being attacked

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The Independent Online
Sir: Some years ago, I was on a date with a man I quite fancied. I got drunk with him at a party, I went into a room alone with him. We began kissing. When his kissing began to get aggressive I tried to push him off. He forced himself on me. Afterwards he apologised for 'getting carried away'.

What happened to me was rape. It was not the brutal attack Angela Lambert recognises as 'real rape' ('Faced with the sober truth, is it really rape?', 23 August). But it was physical coercion all the same. I didn't call out at the time or tell anyone about it for years afterwards precisely because I told myself that I'd led him on, I'd invited the attack by letting him touch me. Besides, 'rape' was something that was perpetrated on women by strangers in dark alleys, not by someone you knew, let alone someone you fancied. That was in 1977.

I still feel the effects of having been date-raped. It is galling that Ms Lambert should tell me that all it takes is a 'sense of proportion' to get over it, and to imply that there is anything other than 'unprovoked rape'.

I do not now accept that I 'provoked' what was done to me. There are all sorts of stages of physical contact between a handshake and going to bed together. Who says if a woman wants to be kissed or caressed she is then obliged to have sex?

It upsets me greatly that Ms Lambert still thinks women are in some way to blame for man's sexual aggression. No matter how poor our judgement, how dolled-up or short-skirted we are, there is no circumstance in which a man forcing himself on a woman is justifiable or deserved.

I take responsibility for getting drunk and going into a room alone with a man. I take responsibility for acting on my attraction to him. His decision to rape me was not my responsibility: that was his alone.

Yours faithfully,

D. BERRY

London, WC1

The writer is using a pseudonym.

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