Advice columnist apologises for reply to alleged rape victim

The letter published in Teenage magazine's latest issue, in which Ms Kelly Chopard responded to an alleged rape victim.
The letter published in Teenage magazine's latest issue, in which Ms Kelly Chopard responded to an alleged rape victim. PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

The author of an advice column in Teenage magazine has apologised for her widely panned response to an alleged rape victim.

In an open letter, Ms Kelly Chopard, who has penned the Dear Kelly column since 1996, said: "I sincerely apologise if my response to Raped After Lying To Mum came across as harsh and 'blaming the victim'."

Ms Chopard, who counsels primary and secondary school students, argued that she had never blamed the victim, but instead adopted "a particular tone so as to make sure the writer does not engage in such risky behaviour again".

She also insisted that she "wanted everyone to know the danger of sending the wrong signals".

Her letter came in response to outrage online, including from gender equality advocacy group Association of Women for Action and Research (Aware).

In a letter published in the magazine's latest issue, the alleged victim related her experience of going to her boyfriend's home for dinner and a movie, drinking, and waking up the next morning naked in bed with him, without any memory of what had happened.

Ms Chopard responded by telling the writer she had misled her boyfriend into thinking she wanted to have sex by acting "like a girl who has been around" and that she should be "grateful that he wore a condom".

It is not known if the letter is a genuine one, or if the writer had made a police report.

The Sunday Times contacted Teenage magazine for comment via e-mail but did not receive a response.

In an e-mail to the magazine's editor-in-chief, Aware accused the columnist of implying that it is acceptable to sexually assault someone who has had sex before.

It added: "Consent needs to be acquired at every stage of physical intimacy. If a person is too drunk or intoxicated to give fully voluntary agreement, they are not legally able to give consent."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 13, 2016, with the headline 'Advice columnist apologises for reply to alleged rape victim'. Print Edition | Subscribe