South Eastern Centre Against Sexual Assault & Family Violence

The victim precipitation approach

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This approach considers offenders and victims as mutually interacting partners where the victim, through signs, eye contact, gestures and words, or by being present at certain venues or being out alone sometimes encourages rape. Things like accepting a ride home, responding in a friendly manner in conversation, accepting a dinner invitation, visiting a male friend at home or inviting a male friend into her own home may be misread or intentionally rationalized by the perpetrator as a sign of consent to sexual intercourse. In other words, a woman is raped because she failed to accurately communicate her desire not to have sex.


There are two main limitations of this approach. Firstly, it is another theory which blames the victim, thereby falsely attributing responsibility for sexual assault. Secondly, it fails to take into account the fact that there is no equality between victim and offender and that men in these situations do not make their intentions to HAVE sex clear. It also presupposed that men must have the right, in certain circumstances, to force a woman to have sex against her will. Myths which derive from this view include:


  • Women ask for it.
  • Only young stereo-typically attractive women are raped.
  • Women can avoid being raped by not walking on the streets etc.

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