Richard Graham, British MP, denies blaming the victim in rape cases


A British member of parliament has drawn criticism for comments suggesting that young women wearing short skirts and high heels have a harder time getting away from rapists.


Charlie Crowhurst

Richard Graham, a British member of parliament, has drawn criticism from advocacy groups after suggesting that wearing short skirts and high heels makes it harder for young women to get away from rapists.

On Friday, he reportedly told The Gloucestershire Citizen, "If you are a young woman on her own trying to walk back home through Gloucester Park, early in the morning in a tight, short skirt and high shoes and there's a predator and if you are blind drunk and wearing those clothes how able are you to get away?"

Graham, a member of the UK's Conservative party, was responding to statements made the same day by actress Joanna Lumley, famous for her role on the television series Absolutely Fabulous.

During an interview, Lumley told The Daily Telegraph: "[D]on’t be sick in the gutter at midnight in a silly dress with no money to get a taxi home, because somebody will take advantage of you, either they’ll rape you, or they’ll knock you on the head or they’ll rob you."

Jo Wood, a trustee of Rape Crisis England and Wales, said, "It doesn’t matter if you are off your face and lying naked on a bench — that man takes it upon himself to rape you. We should put the blame back on perpetrators," in response to Graham's comments, according to The Huffington Post UK.

More on GlobalPost: New Mexico abortion bill causes uproar

On Monday, Graham insisted that he takes the issue of rape seriously, saying, "I remember being told many years ago by a close family member that she had been raped. I will never forget her words as she told me what happened," according to The Citizen. "I owe it to her and all my female constituents never to take this issue lightly."

He said his comments were about "risk management," not about blaming the victim.