It’s not unusual for ITV’s daytime show Loose Women to cause a little controversy. It is centred around a panel of outspoken women airing their opinions after all.
But today’s episode has touched a nerve with a large number of viewers after running an online poll that posed the question: “Is it ever a woman’s fault if she is raped?”
The poll comes in the aftermath of Chrissie Hynde’s recent interview with the Sunday Times, in which she revealed that she blamed herself for being forced to carry out sexual acts under the threat of violence.
The Loose Women official Twitter account asked followers: “POLL: After Pretenders singer Chrissie Hynde’s comments — we’re asking is it ever a woman’s fault if she is raped?”
The overwhelming response from Twitter users was disgust, with a large number of them accusing the show of “dangerous myth-propagation.”
When the poll closed, 88 percent of voters stated that rape is never a woman’s fault.
Last year Loose Women panelist Judy Finnegan sparked a backlash for making comments about rape on the show. She appeared to defend footballer Ched Evans, who was found guilty of raping a 19-year-old girl, stating: “He’s served his time. The rape and I am not, please, by any means minimising any kind of rape — but the rape was not violent. He didn’t cause any bodily harm to the person.
“It was unpleasant, in a hotel room, I believe, and she was — she had far too much to drink,” Judy went on. “And you know, that is reprehensible, but he has been convicted and he has served his time. Now when he comes out, what are we supposed to do? Just actually refuse to let him do his job? Again, even though he has already been punished?”
Judy later apologised for her comments, saying: “I apologise unreservedly for any offence that I may have caused as a result of the wording I used.”
Popular shows like Loose Women can be great for offering different viewpoints on topical issues and there’s no doubt that many aspects of rape culture need to be talked about more often in the mainstream media. But by asking the question, “Is it ever a woman’s fault if she is raped?” — even if the vast majority of people answer with a resounding “No” — the show has inadvertently given credibility to those who would answer “Yes.”