Sandra Dick: Attacker only one to blame for rape

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It started with a quick drink after work. Just the one, I was driving later. The company was good, I was relaxed. Of course we should head somewhere else, why not? I was on soft drinks, all was fine.

Before long the room was spinning. No idea where the car was. Never mind that, I didn’t know where I was either.

Sadly, I’m not the only woman in the land to have her drink spiked on a night out and then to find herself in a situation that was very much out of hand.

Next day, head bursting, confused, the first person I blamed was me: how could I NOT know I was merrily chucking back something that was going to leave me totally out of it?

Twenty or so years ago there wasn’t any point in dropping in at the local police station on the way home to complain.

For a start, if I was questioning whether I was somehow at fault for not realising what was happening, then how could I convince anyone else?

Thankfully these days most people recognise that deliberately getting someone into a vulnerable state in order to take advantage of them or seizing the opportunity while they are unable to make a lucid decision, has a premeditated kick to it that surely says more about their character than their victim.

Still certain sex crimes – the case of former Sheffield United player Ched Evans being one of them – have this strange ability to divide opinion. A jury in full possession of the facts may well decide guilt, yet there are others who will still point the finger right at the victim: was she drunk, look at what she was wearing, why did she go there?

While the Evans case fuels debate down south, here two dreadful sex crimes in the past week, one in Leith, the latest at the Meadows, will be making many women wonder if they should venture out on to the city streets at night.

Not only have the perpetrators of those apparently random acts of violence committed a dreadful crime against their victims, they’ve also attacked the confidence of others who may now feel more anxious as they walk, jog or cycle alone on these dark November nights.

They might wonder if what they wear or where they go may make them more vulnerable, more likely to be “blamed”.

Events surrounding every case are different. But rape will always be a particularly primitive crime, which can’t be excused by any civilised society.

And when it comes to pointing the finger of blame, surely it should be in just the one direction.