(I said I would steer clear of political issues, as people quickly got emotional once you talk about a political or social issue, but excuse this exception (and there may be more, who knows!)
People have been tongue-lashing Hong Kong’s Secretary for Security, for saying to the English press that women are to blame for the rising rape cases.
I have finally found the words actually said by Stephen Lai Tung Kwok in English (SCMP, May 16, 2013):
“They (rape culprits and victims) are either friends, close friends or they just met a few hours ago,” he said. “Some of these cases also involved the victims being raped after drinking quite a lot of alcohol. So I would appeal that young ladies should not drink too much.”
I have no intention to defend Lai, but seeing so many people jumping on the tongue-lashing bandwagon, I’d like us to do a bit of language analysis:
1. Did Lai make a cause-and-effect statement: ‘Some women are raped because they drink too much’?
2. Did he blame the women victims for the rape cases?
3. Did he even imply that women are to blame for the rape cases?
And was he wrong, or was it inappropriate of him, to give women advice?
I also noticed that SCMP, along with the overseas press that reported the story, actually paraphrased (if not distorted) what Lai said as something like ‘Women will get raped if they drink too much.’ Well, let’s not forget that the media (local and overseas) is good at doing that: sensationalising things with tactful paraphrasing.