On the commencement of 16 days of action on violence against women and girls around the world, I was, to put it lightly, disappointed to learn that one in twenty Scots think women are ‘entirely to blame’ if raped while they are drunk.
The 2014 Scottish Social Attitudes Survey report on public attitudes to violence against women (VaW) in Scotland was published this week and also included these shocking facts:
- A substantial proportion of people believe common myths about rape, and think a victim’s actions mean she is at least partly to blame
- Stereotypical views on gender roles persist in Scotland. Those who hold stereotypical views on gender roles are consistently less likely than others to view a wide range of abusive behaviours as wrong or harmful.
- People are less likely to be concerned about controlling behaviours and verbal abuse, compared to physical abuse.
For me, these findings are very alarming. It shows the continued need for action in combating this issue and fighting to ensure that we eradicate this terrible inequality. It’s a tragedy that women and girls in Scotland, and across the world, are at risk of, and are experiencing, violence and abuse just because they are women.
It is clear that there is no quick fix to this deep-seated problem, and it is clear that this will require significant economic, social and cultural change over the long term. But, I am proud of the SNP Scottish Government for showing continued support to fight gender based violence. And it is because of this commitment that funding for this issue is now at a record level. With continued support from all of society, I am positive that change will happen.