Sky News presenter suggests 'drunk women in short skirts' must take some responsibility for sex attacks

'I’d be responsible if I was out provoking someone,' says long-time presenter

Maya Oppenheim
Friday 20 January 2017 13:33
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Sky News presenter says drunk women in short skirts partially to blame for sexual assault

A Sky News presenter has prompted anger after suggesting drunk women who wear short skirts must take some responsibility if they are sexually assaulted.

Stephen Dixon, who co-presents Sky News Sunrise, was presenting a discussion about a new report by The Fawcett Society which found almost two out of five men and a third of women thought a woman was totally or partly to blame if she went out late at night wearing a short skirt, got drunk and was then sexually assaulted.

Dixon suggested women needed to take some personal responsibility and compared a woman going out and getting drunk in a short skirt to himself going out and “provoking someone”.

“Is it a dreadful thing to say that if women are out in short skirts and drunk that they don’t need to take any personal responsibility?” Dixon said.

“Let me ask you a question if you’re walking down the street and you get pushed in the face are you responsible for having left your house? Women are free citizens in our society and they’re allowed to be out and they are allowed to drink,” responded a guest on the discussion.

“I’d be responsible if I was out provoking someone,” Dixon replied.

Dixon, a long-time Sky News presenter, followed up his remarks by asking what was wrong with women taking some personal responsibility if they were assaulted.

"What's wrong with taking some personal responsibility?" he said in a now-deleted tweet.

A Sky News spokesperson told The Independent that Dixon was simply playing devil's advocate.

“In his capacity as presenter, Stephen was playing devil’s advocate during a discussion of the controversial findings of the Fawcett report. He was not reflecting a personal view,” they said.

Rape Crisis South London condemned Dixon's comments and said they are "mythological" and "unfounded".

"It was disappointing to see Stephen Dixon’s mythological and unfounded ideas being aired today depicting the misinformed belief that women and girls can ever be responsible for a rape or sexual assault being perpetrated against them," Yvonne Traynor, Chief Executive of the organisation said.

"We see women and children being silenced everyday by these dangerous and damaging attitudes. It is difficult to understand why society is determined to blame women and girls rather than the perpetrators of these heinous crimes and underlines the need for Consent Education in schools to prevent sexual violence and challenge society’s misconception that sexual violence is about perpetrators being out of control when in reality they are very much IN control.

"We are aware that there are many myths in the public about sexual violence and we have a lot of work to do to dispel these myths but we were heartened by the Fawcett Society’s report released today which shows that 62 per cent of men do not believe a woman is to blame for sexual assault – we just need to reach and educate the other 38 per cent."

Dixon has been heavily criticised for his remarks, which were labelled “disgraceful” and “disgusting”.

“No one wants to be raped, no one goes out thinking ‘oh I hope I'll get attacked’ no. The fault of any rape is with the rapist,” wrote Natalie on Twitter.

“If a man was assaulted or attacked on a night out, would anyone ask what they were wearing or how much he'd had to drink? No,” asked Faye White.

"What if I'm a rapist that likes women wearing long trousers. Your argument doesn't hold up then does it," asked Simon Anderson.

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