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Police accused of blaming rape victims

November 29th, 2014

Echoing the protests of NGOs, a liberal pundit condemns a video released by police to warn teenage girls of the dangers of late night attacks by rapists, and suggests that it will increase the suffering of the victims. A conservative commentator dismisses such accusations as nonsense.

On HVG online, adding his voice to the loud protests of women’s NGOs against a three part video released by the Baranya County police telling young women that they can do something to avoid becoming rape victims, Zoltán Czeglédi says “this is not crime prevention.” The police message to teenage girls is, he claims, that if they are raped, they will only have themselves to blame.

The first sentence of the main slogan of the police advertisement (‘tehetsz róla’) is interpreted by critics to mean you are responsible or it is your fault. In actual fact, if it is preceded by the personal pronoun “te” (you), it does indeed mean your fault. Without the pronoun, it translates as you can see to it” (that it doesnt happen).

On Válasz, Barna Borbás calls such attacks “silly and harmful”. It is quite normal to warn young girls of the dangers and suggest ways to reduce them –for instance not to drink too much and not to leave night clubs on their own late at night. He remarks that Budapest tram passengers are regularly warned through loudspeakers to take care of their valuables and watch out for pickpockets, and nobody in their right mind would accuse the Budapest Public Transport Company of laying the blame on theft victims.