Apparently, women “invite” rape whenever they have the nerve to walk alone at night, according to the mayor of Albury in New South Wales. The unfortunate wording came in response to a three-on-one attack in which a 17-year-old girl was allegedly raped by three men when out after 6 p.m.
Authorities are still looking for the suspects.
“I always have encouraged women not to walk alone, to have someone with them at all times, because that in itself is an invitation for someone to take advantage of you,” said Mayor Kevin Mack in comments reported first by ABC. “It’s a salient reminder to us all not to take what we have for granted, and to make sure we have appropriate safety in place.”
Mack’s “women invite rape” comments came on the heels of similar sentiments from Victorian Homicide Squad Detective Inspector Michael Hughes, The Age reports.
Hughes, in March, said that “particularly females, they shouldn’t be alone in parks — I’m sorry to say that, that is the case.”
“We just need to be a little bit more careful, a little bit more security conscious and we as a public need to look after each other,” Hughes said.
While there’s no doubt these men probably have their hearts in the right place, the phrasing is face-meet-palm-worthy for a number of commenters.
“Please stop telling women that they are not free to walk in public unmolested,” wrote one on Mack’s Facebook page. “Instead, please tell men to not rape.”
“Why don’t you ask rapists and attackers to walk with other men who aren’t violent to get them not to attack women?” wrote another. “Start with the men who do this, not blame women for men’s disgusting actions.”
The protests apparently worked because on Friday morning, Mack issued an apology and admitted that his words were “poorly chosen.”
“The girl in question has not done anything wrong,” he clarified in a statement.
“She was doing what she would do every day and she’s been the victim of a heinous crime and her callous attackers are responsible for that. I apologize without reservation. It was a poor choice of words and if I had my time back again I wouldn’t have said it. It’s not how I feel. I’m a staunch advocate for womens’ [sic] rights. My work speaks for that and I apologize.”
Do you think comments like “women invite rape” when walking alone at night make victims feel like the guilty parties, or is this simply an honest mistake? Sound off in the comments section.
[Image via Sydney Morning Herald]