London: Joanna Lumley, who plays the perennially drunk character on ‘Absolutely Fabulous’, has sparked outrage for saying that women should dress demurely at night to avoid being raped or robbed.
The 66-year-old actress’ advice contradicts message from rape crisis centres who say the way women dress is never to blame for rape.
Lumley urged young women to stop behaving badly and take more responsibility for their actions, warning them that binge drinking and dressing ‘like trash’ made them vulnerable.
“I promise you it is better to look after yourself properly, which means behave properly, be polite, be on time, dress properly – I don’t mean dully – but don’t be sick in the gutter at midnight in a silly dress with no money to get a taxi home, because somebody will take advantage of you, either they’ll rape you, or they’ll knock you on the head or they’ll rob you,” the Daily Mail quoted her as saying.
Lumley said that she had never got so drunk that she wandered the streets at night looking dishevelled and without knowing how to get home, but she conceded that there was now ‘something in our society’ which caused young women to behave badly.
The actress added that she did not approve of raucous behaviour in boys either, but that girls were more vulnerable and had to be aware of predators.
“Girls used not to get legless and now they do, and so I think that’s a trend which we should pull back from,” she said.
Miss Lumley, who in recent years has become known for her charity and human rights work, gave her advice as she backed a Marks and Spencer campaign to encourage people to donate their old clothes each time they buy new ones.
She added that women often fail to dress appropriately – and usually buy clothes a size too small. A storm is brewing on Twitter where users have said that the star’s comments reveal depressing ignorance.
They say that rapists must be held accountable for their actions, and it is downright dangerous for anyone to suggest that a woman could avoid a rape by dressing in a conservative manner.