A number of years ago, I defended a young man who was charged with gang rape. That case ultimately ended in a plea bargain and each lawyer delivered a plea in mitigation on behalf of his client. One of the lawyers for another accused person submitted that the victim had not been entirely blameless in that her conduct had led her assailants to believe that she might be amenable to the acts that followed.
These remarks were published in the media and soon attracted a rather heated response from AWARE (Association of Women for Action for Women and Research). AWARE is a Singapore- based gender equality advocacy group with emphasis on a feminist agenda.
In particular, Ms R Rheaume’s article, written shortly after the verdict in the above case, suggests that such comments are made in almost every case of rape and that such “victim-blaming” suggests that the victim is partly at fault. Needless to say, Ms Rheaume takes issue with any such suggestion.