Content warning: This post deals with issues related to sexual assault and rape which may be triggering for some readers.
One of the most common questions used to undermine victims of sexual violence is “why didn’t you fight back?”
It’s imbued with the sneering inference that a woman who does not actively resist her attacker has in some way resigned herself to being raped.
Not only does the question reflect victim-blaming of the highest order, it also ignores the simple fact that many women – a majority according to a new study – actually become paralysed during unwanted sexual contact.
“The courts may be inclined to dismiss the notion of rape [if] the victim didn’t appear to resist,” lead author of the study Dr. Anna Möller explained to Broadly.
"Instead, what might be interpreted as passive consent is very likely to represent normal and expected biological reactions to an overwhelming threat."