Blaming the victim (sexual assault mentioned)
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    Posting Addict fuchsiasky's Avatar
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    Default Blaming the victim (sexual assault mentioned)

    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.

    Read more: http://www.timescolonist.com/news/pu...#ixzz1IIAiJ2xC

    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/Jo...033/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)?
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    Posting Addict KimPossible's Avatar
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    I don't think thats blaming the victim at all...those are preventative measures to help guard yourself against an attack that you otherwise might have very little control over. They are good tips. *shrug*

    What advice are you supposed to give the rapist? "Don't do it"?

    I think this is really over thinking things.

    If we tell people to lock their houses at night, are we saying that the burglar did nothing wrong?

    If we tell people to make sure no one watches as you enter your pin at the ATM, are we saying the one who gets that info and uses it has done nothing wrong?

    Just because we want to better arm women to protect themselves from a horrible crime doesn't mean we are saying they are responsible if it happens.
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    Quote Originally Posted by fuchsiasky View Post
    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.
    I disagree. These are common sense safety reminders. They are not saying "wear a beekeeper suit so that you don't look sexy enough to deserve to get raped". When my kids get sick I use it as a reminder for why good hand washing is necessary, NOT as a way to blame them for getting sick.

    I admit to not reading the editorial because if the debate is about this, I don't want to read someone who isn't participating in the debates opinion on the debate.

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    Posting Addict GloriaInTX's Avatar
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    I don't think they need to tell men not to rape women. That is already implied since it is an ILLEGAL act. I also don't think telling women how to be safe is blaming the victim. There are rapists out there. That is a fact. Giving out tips to protect yourself doesn't mean that you will be blamed if you still get raped, it just might make it more likely that you won't be attacked.
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    I can see why this bothers you and it irks me a bit, too. I think the line that's getting to me is this one: “We remind women to take steps to be responsible for their personal safety" because I think all the other "tips" are useful. That statement implies to me that if you don't carry a cell phone, you aren't being responsible for your personal safety and I can see there how it feels like blaming the victim. I know it's semantics, but if that statement had said something more like "Here are some reminders of things you can do to help keep yourself safe" I don't think I would have any beef with this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KimPossible View Post
    I don't think thats blaming the victim at all...those are preventative measures to help guard yourself against an attack that you otherwise might have very little control over. They are good tips. *shrug*

    What advice are you supposed to give the rapist? "Don't do it"?

    I think this is really over thinking things.

    If we tell people to lock their houses at night, are we saying that the burglar did nothing wrong?

    If we tell people to make sure no one watches as you enter your pin at the ATM, are we saying the one who gets that info and uses it has done nothing wrong?

    Just because we want to better arm women to protect themselves from a horrible crime doesn't mean we are saying they are responsible if it happens.
    Yeah, this. Rape is already illegal and is (I believe) considered by this society among the very worst things a person can do (right up there with murder, and some think it's worse than murder.) I don't think that those who might rape are going to be swayed by the police putting out a public service announcement that says "Don't rape." So the police are just trying to give tips on how women can try to guard themselves. I doubt if a woman did get raped, the police would say "Oh well, she should have taken our advice. She had it coming."
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    Posting Addict fuchsiasky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CalBearInBoston View Post
    I can see why this bothers you and it irks me a bit, too. I think the line that's getting to me is this one: “We remind women to take steps to be responsible for their personal safety" because I think all the other "tips" are useful. That statement implies to me that if you don't carry a cell phone, you aren't being responsible for your personal safety and I can see there how it feels like blaming the victim. I know it's semantics, but if that statement had said something more like "Here are some reminders of things you can do to help keep yourself safe" I don't think I would have any beef with this.
    Exactly. In that statement they seem to put responsibility for personal safety into the hands of the woman. But this girl did walk with her friends. She was taking responsibility for her safety. So in spite of the fact that the tips are good sense, they are in a way kind of useless as well. You can do everything "right" and still get separated from your friends and end up being kidnapped and raped.

    In the editorial there is also a story of a little girl who was having her pants pulled down by the boys every day at school. The principals response was that she should not wear elastic waist pants. Ok, good safety tip (apparently) but it puts no responsibility on the perpetrators. It is the same kind of advice imo.

    Is it also pointless to say "don't rape people"? In a way, because a rapist won't listen. But to not say it at all puts no responsibility into the hands of men. It doesn't result in any discussion as to how such a thing could happen except to tell women to be more responsible for thier safety. It negates the fact that there are four men in my city who have no problem with kidnapping, (possibly drugging) and raping some poor girl. What is it in them that make it ok? Well we aren't having that discussion. And that is a big part of the problem to me. How can we teach our men and boys that rape is truly wrong if no one is discussing thier part in it?
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    Posting Addict fuchsiasky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alissa_Sal View Post
    Yeah, this. Rape is already illegal and is (I believe) considered by this society among the very worst things a person can do (right up there with murder, and some think it's worse than murder.) I don't think that those who might rape are going to be swayed by the police putting out a public service announcement that says "Don't rape." So the police are just trying to give tips on how women can try to guard themselves. I doubt if a woman did get raped, the police would say "Oh well, she should have taken our advice. She had it coming."
    But the police do still say things like that. Recently a friend's sister had her ex stalk her and break into her house. The actuall statement from the police office on the scene - "Maybe you should pick better boyfriends".
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    Quote Originally Posted by fuchsiasky View Post
    But the police do still say things like that. Recently a friend's sister had her ex stalk her and break into her house. The actuall statement from the police office on the scene - "Maybe you should pick better boyfriends".
    That's gross.

    I still don't think that telling women how to protect themselves is blaming the victim though.
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    Posting Addict GloriaInTX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fuchsiasky View Post
    Is it also pointless to say "don't rape people"? In a way, because a rapist won't listen. But to not say it at all puts no responsibility into the hands of men. It doesn't result in any discussion as to how such a thing could happen except to tell women to be more responsible for thier safety. It negates the fact that there are four men in my city who have no problem with kidnapping, (possibly drugging) and raping some poor girl. What is it in them that make it ok? Well we aren't having that discussion. And that is a big part of the problem to me. How can we teach our men and boys that rape is truly wrong if no one is discussing thier part in it?
    Doesn't that point come across every time they arrest someone for doing it and they show them getting lead away in handcuffs? Or when they show the court cases on TV? I see that quite often, but maybe I just watch too many crime TV shows.
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