Joanna Lumley
Joanna Lumley says women put themselves at risk by dressing provocatively (Reuters)

Joanna Lumley has angered rape support groups after saying women should not go out dressed "inappropriately" as they put themselves at risk of being raped and robbed.

In the Daily Telegraph, the actress, best known for her role as sex-made lush Patsy in Absolutely Fabulous, advised women: "Don't look like trash, don't get drunk, don't be sick down your front, don't break your heels and stagger about in the wrong clothes at midnight.

"This is bad. It's not me being a snob about it. It's not me being an old woman talking to young women, it's just standard practice for how our species should behave. Don't behave badly.

"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."

Angry critics said that her comments suggested that women were to blame for sexual violence.

No safe category for women

Rape Crisis said that any woman could be a rape victim, no matter how she was dressed. The majority of rapists were known to the victim, it added.

"Many women are led to believe that if they are not part of a certain category of women then they are 'safe' from being raped," said a spokesperson.

"Women and girls of all ages, classes, culture, ability, sexuality, race and faith are raped. Attractiveness has little significance."

In terms of whether the woman was drunk or intoxicated at the time of the assault, it said: "Rapists use a variety of excuses to attempt to discredit the women they rape and to justify their crime. No woman asks or deserves to be raped or sexually assaulted.

"The rules imposed on women's behaviour allow rapists to shift the responsibility for rape on to women wherever possible so that most of the perpetrators who rape are seen as victims of malicious allegations, carelessness or stupidity.

"There is no other crime in which so much effort is expended to make the victim appear responsible - imagine the character or financial background of a robbery victim being questioned in court."

Blame the rapist

On Twitter, Lumley was lambasted. London Feminist ‏wrote: "Joanna Lumley seems to think alcohol rapes people. No, rapists rape people."

Sonia Poulton ‏said: "I like Joanna Lumley but it saddens me that her advice for girls is how not to get raped rather than telling boys not to rape in the first place."

Lorrie Hearts ‏commented: "Women in miniskirts get raped. Women in pyjamas get raped. Naked women get raped, women in niqab get raped. STFU Joanna Lumley, seriously."

Laura Maley wrote: "Oh Joanna Lumley, I'm so disappointed in your misguided rape comments."

Another user, named Chloe, said: "Joanna Lumley said women should cover up to avoid getting raped. Maybe the rapists should not rape?"

The actress found some supprt. One tweeter, under the name Keeley, wrote: "Disappointed in people ragging on Joanna Lumley. There's nothing wrong with advising women to look after themselves."