Last week a young woman in my town was walking home with friends. Somehow she got separated from them. A van pulled up and four guys grabbed her and pulled her in. They drove around the city for a few hours assaulting her before dumping her downtown. It was a totally random attack (which is rare here and has many of us pretty freaked out). When this was reported the police gave all sorts of advice to the women of my town about protecting ourselves - walk in groups, gaurd your drinks etc - all the standard stuff. But not one word to the men about not raping women. This was the statement issued by the police the mornign after the attack:
“We remind women to take steps to be responsible for their personal safety,” he said.
Police recommend that women:
— Travel in groups and stick to well-lit areas.
— Carry a cellphone.
— Not accept drinks from people and not leave drinks unattended.
— If drinking alcohol, plan a safe ride home by cab or with people you know. If using public transit, travel with friends.
We (my female friends and I) have been discussing this and are pretty appauled that the statement released by the police pretty much puts the responsibility of avoiding rape into the hands of women. The insinuation (we felt) is that if a woman doesn't protect herself that she is somehow responsible for the attack. It is like that old line about how a girl "deserved" it because she was dressed provokatively.
Today there was a great editorial about it. (I agree with her completely!) http://www.timescolonist.com/news/Jody+Paterson+assault+still+somehow+women+fault/4541033/story.html
So (after all of the preamble) do you think that we still live in a society that "blames the victim" in cases or rape or assault? Do you think that the advice given by the police is in any way useful? Or does it simply perpetuate the theory that women are reponisble for not being raped (instead of men are responsible for not raping)?