After a long absense (and 5 weeks on holiday in France and Switzerland) I've decided to come back and hopefully start posting more regularly to my blog. I think this article from yesterday's Herald (which made me happy and angry at the same time) is worth commenting on:
Firstly we hear the rather surprising figures from a recent poll that only 14% of Scots think it's acceptable to view porn and 10% to pay for sex. This is really positive and while I'm sure many of the participants oppose them for the wrong reasons it suggests that the sex industry, despite its continuous onslaught of patriarchal capitalist propaganda, has been failing miserably to change the attitudes of the Scottish public. In fact according to the article pornography and prostitution have became less acceptable over the last few years. I think it's really vital that feminists build on this almost universal opposition to the commodification of sex by pushing for tougher laws and ensuring our perspective is the one which is heard when the issue is debated in public.
The second part of the article, referring to the same survey, discusses public attitudes towards rape, finding that 30% of men and 25% of women believe a woman who's drunk to be to some extent responsible for being raped. 26% of respondents think in the same way in regards to women wearing revealing clothing and 34% of men and 29% of women when it comes to flirting. I suppose one positive thing the survey shows is that such views are far less prevalent among younger people - 7% of adults under 24 believe women who were flirting can be held at least partly responsible compared to 50% of those over 65. And a clear majority of those surveyed do hold the view that women are never responsible for being raped.
But why is it that so many people still feel the way they do? Could it be, as an SSP comrade suggested, that sex is very much seen as something which men do to women and that it is women who have the responsibility to say no and resist - with getting drunk being considered an abdication of that responsibility? The above survey was carried out by the Scottish Executive in an attempt to tackle the miserable conviction rate for reported rapes which last year fell below 4% for the first time. What sort of society are we living in, we should be asking, when less than 4 out of every 100 women subjected to rape ever see their attackers brought to justice, when rape victims are hardly ever taken seriously, when they have their stories laughed at and ridiculed by the police and by the male dominated legal system?