The Sun, a UK-based tabloid newspaper, is in hot water over how it has framed its latest story on social media about the rape and murder of a 20-year-old woman:
The response on Twitter was fast and furious, calling out the blatant victim-blaming in the story:
Others responded with sarcasm to point out the injustice of focusing on what the victim, India Chipchase, was doing rather than the actions of her alleged rapist and murderer, Edward Tenniswood.
Focusing on the victim's behavior, such as how much she drank or what she wore, rather than the offender’s behavior is a form of victim-blaming, according to Viktoria Kristiansson, an attorney advisor for AEquitas, a prosecutors' resource on violence against women. In an interview with ATTN:, she said:
"Usually, there’s an absence of any discussion of the suspect or the offender's behavior. Instead, the focus is on the victim – what did she do or say at the time. It's amazing that we continue to see a lack of any kind of focus on the offender."
The Sun's story reveals its own bias toward blaming, with a headline completely devoted to spotlighting Chipchase's drunkenness and several mentions of her alcohol intake throughout the article.
While a victim is not at fault based on any of her actions prior to a crime, Kristiansson still recognizes the importance of thoroughly examining what happened leading up to any incident:
“Human behavior doesn’t exist in a time bubble. The victim selection process by the offender is no accident and is important to consider – there are offenders who are going to select a victim that they can attack successfully, and they feel won’t report or feel won’t be believed.