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Student Blog Series: The Rise of Andrew Tate and His Role in the Continued Perpetuation of Rape Myths

Posted: March 15, 2023

Andrew Tate has amassed a fortune through his misogynistic social media presence, which encourages the abuse and subordination of women. His ideologies are primarily spread amongst an Internet subculture called the “manosphere,” which promotes regressive, misogynistic ideas about gender, relationships, dating, and sex. Through these views, Tate has accumulated millions of followers and a net-worth of approximately $50 million.

Tate also has a continued history of violence against women.

The first allegations against Tate began in 2013. An ex-partner – who will be referred to as “Amelia” –  filed a sexual assault complaint. Her trauma from the abuse, combined with the ongoing fear of Tate and the dismissive attitudes of the investigators who handled her case“log” her case . In 2015, she received a call from a neighboring police force and was told that two other women had filed complaints against Tate, one for sexual assault and one for physical abuse. It was then that she agreed to include her case in the investigation.

After the initial complaints were made in 2015, police took four years to pass the case along to prosecutors. Despite the fact that Amelia provided dozens of explicit text and audio messages from Tate, in which he appeared to admit to the sexual assault, prosecutors declined to bring the case to court. Crown Prosecution Services (CPS), whose job involves determining whether there is a realistic prospect of conviction, told all three women that charges were not going to be brought because there was an “ounce of doubt” in the case. This “ounce of doubt” was related to the fact that Amelia had prior consensual sex with Tate in the wake of the sexual assault. We now know that it is very common for victims of sexual assault to know and or have prior intimate relations with their abuser, as about half of female victims of rape reported being raped by an intimate partner and 40.8% by an acquaintance..

By refusing to prosecute the case, CPS underscored the troublesome narrative of  the “perfect victim,” a falsity that survivors of sexual assault must fit a narrow image of a victim in order to receive protection. Notably, the perfect victim has been described as, “a caricature of real life perpetuated by film and television portrayals of young white girls from upper middle-class neighborhoods being kidnapped and victimized by strangers at random.” Non-stranger rape, although the most common, has been historically ignored by society and the criminal legal system. Due to the recent emphasis on non-stranger rape in research and legislation, there has been a shift away from the problematic narrative of the “perfect victim.” However, the image and believability of the “perfect victim” still exists.

Amelia continued to see Tate for several months after the alleged sexual assault, both in an attempt to avoid re-traumatization at the hands of society and out of fear that Tate would potentially retaliate against her. By not prosecuting the case, CPS emphasized the problematic idea that Amelia further fell outside of the “perfect victim” sphere because she maintained a relationship with Tate. As a result, she experienced a form of systemic victim-blaming. This troubling practice shifts responsibility and blame from the person who caused the harm to the victim of the assault.

Following these allegations, Tate fled to Romania in 2017. Throughout the past five years, Tate’s popularity skyrocketed, and he has quickly become a prominent figurehead for disillusioned and misogynistic men and boys. As of July of 2022, he has received more Google searches than Donald Trump, Kim Kardashian, and COVID-19. Although he has been banned from several social media platforms, his content continues to be distributed through third party reposting.

The CSE Institute commends the bravery of survivors for coming forward with their stories and for detailing the impact that Tate’s abuse had on their lives. In response to CPS’s decision to decline prosecution, Andrea Simon, the director of the End Violence Against Women Coalition, said, “Inaction sends a clear message that those perpetrating violence against women can do so with impunity.”

As indicated above, the rise in Tate’s popularity, despite these allegations, reflect a worrisome trend that his actions will strongly influence his vast network of followers. With more than 10 million people impacted by partner violence each year, it is imperative to believe survivors and uplift survivor voices to enact effective change.

In December of 2022, Tate and three others were arrested at Tate’s Romanian compound and were charged with human trafficking, rape, and forming an organized criminal group. All four are being held in a Romanian detention center while the investigation continues.

This piece is part of our first-year law student blog series. Congratulations to author Julia Smith on being chosen!

All views expressed herein are personal to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law or of Villanova University. 

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