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To the editor:

On April 3, you ran a letter from Donald B. Gunderson in response to Amy Donaldson's article on rape victims. Unfortunately, Mr. Gunderson seems to suffer from the same kind of mentality that he claims does not exist.Mr. Gunderson's argument is that there is no actual stigma attached to rape victims. However, in his letter, he points out that "any woman who dresses immodestly and acts `frisky' . . . must bear some of the blame." This is exactly the type of stigmatizing belief that targets of rape suffer from.

No matter how a woman dresses or acts, no man has the right to force sex upon her. I don't care if she is walking State Street or hanging out in clubs wearing nothing but a string bikini and flirting like crazy with every man she meets: She has not given permission for anyone to invade her body. If rape occurs, she is in no way to blame.

Mr. Gunderson's position completely ignores the fact that, in the majority of cases, the rapist is not some "total stranger . . . taking her home," but is somebody she knows and possibly trusts. OK, so maybe some women say one thing and mean another. But this is not license for any man to assume that "no" means "yes."

These kinds of attitudes, which Mr. Gunderson has proven are pervasive in our society, lead to victims of rape blaming themselves. If their behavior was unwise, it makes it that much easier for them to imagine that it was their fault. But even if one does not display common sense, that person does not deserve to undergo humiliation, pain and degradation and to have their rights taken away from them.

Jeffrey A. Golde

Salt Lake City