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Angela Lansbury explains why she believes women must 'sometimes take blame' for harassment

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Dame Angela Lansbury, 92, believes that while men are responsible for their actions toward women, women do occasionally have to shoulder a portion of the blame when it comes to sexual harassment.

What did she say?

In a recent interview with Radio Times, Lansbury said that women's efforts in beautifying themselves have "backfired" and left them at risk of harassment.

"There are two sides to this coin," the actress explained. "We have to own up to the fact that women, since time immemorial, have gone out of their way to make themselves attractive. And unfortunately it has backfired on us — and this is where we are today.

"We must sometimes take blame, women," she added. "I really do think that. Although it’s awful to say we can’t make ourselves look as attractive as possible without being knocked down and raped."

Though Lansbury said that women should sometimes take blame for harassment, there's no excusing men who prey on women.

Lansbury mused, "Should women be prepared for this? No, they shouldn’t have to be! There’s no excuse for that."

"I think [sexual harassment in the workplace] will stop now," she said. "It will have to. I think a lot of men must be very worried at this point."

Was there any backlash?

In addition to the customary social media backlash, a spokesperson for the Rape Crisis England & Wales charity told The Telegraph that Lansbury's comments on harassment were "unhelpful."

The statement from Rape Crisis England & Wales read:

It is a deeply unhelpful myth that rape and other forms of sexual violence are caused or "provoked" by women’s sexuality or "attractiveness."

Rape is an act of sexual violence, power and control that has little to nothing to do with sexual desire. It is as insulting to men as it is to anyone to suggest they’re unable to take responsibility for their own behaviours and that the way a woman presents herself can cause them to lose control or force them to sexually harass or assault her.

There is no excuse or mitigation for sexual violence and there is no circumstance in which it’s even partially the victim’s or survivor’s fault. Until we accept and acknowledge that, it will be very difficult for us as a society to reduce or prevent rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment or sexual abuse.

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