Things We Wish We Could Say Out Loud – Teaching Rape Defense is NOT Victim Blaming

Sep 24

Things We Wish We Could Say Out Loud – Teaching Rape Defense is NOT Victim Blaming

I heard it again at a social event. A small group of people were talking about the upcoming year in university. The group was an interesting mix, young and old, parents and students, men and women. One of the fathers mentioned that he was worried about his daughter, who is 18, living alone on the other side of the country. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, the subject of rape at universities came up.

One of the mothers asked how young women could defend themselves if assault is so common. The parents started exchanging thoughts. “Better lighting.” “Noticeable cameras.” “Improved security.”

Then one said something which is apparently evil. I am not sure which mother or father first said, “We ought to talk to our daughters about drinking. They are at a risk if they are out getting drunk.” Right then, the shit hit the fan.

The young members of this conversation transmogrified from intelligent, polite students, glad to be a part of a conversation to snarling, feral beings, voices raised in heartfelt indignation.

“You a blaming the victim,” one retorted, voice starting to rise in outrage. “You are shaming the survivor and perpetrating rape culture,” came from another, a bit louder. The, the capper, “You should teach men not to rape.”

Normally, I would let it go but this morning, an old article from the site Women You Should Know came across my Facebook feed and here I am, shouting to the internet ether things I wish I could say out loud or on social media without being labelled a rapist or any other ist.

  1. Put young men and women together in a constrained space and sex will happen. In some cases, it will be messy. There will be regrets and their will be good memories. And their will be attacks.
  2. If a woman gets so drunk that she does not know if she gave consent, that is her own damned fault. A little basic biology here. The woman’s vagina is where the man’s penis goes. Not the other way around. It is not the responsibility of the drunk man to protect the drunk woman. It is both unfair and stupid to ask that of the young man. Some collateral common sense:
    1. If a woman’s drink is drugged and a man or men attack her, that is different and it is an attack. Nobody disagrees with this.
    2. A drunk woman can say no. If a man or men ignore this refusal, this is an attack. Nobody disagrees with this.
    3. A drunk woman can say yes. If a man or men accept this it is not an attack. So many disagree with this.
  3. Teaching women strategies that reduce their vulnerability to rape is not accepting “rape culture.”
    1. Suggesting that women travel in groups is not diminishing women. It is accepting that a group of women together may frighten off a potential attacker.
    2. Suggesting women not get blackout drunk is not blaming the victim. In almost no other situation does being drunk mitigate one’s responsibility for one’s actions. I sometimes wonder whether the same idiots screaming not to blame the drunk woman would have the same opinion about the drunk driver that kills a pedestrian?
  4. “Teach men not to rape” is the kind of slogan that one must almost have to be drunk to accept. Men are not being taught to rape. Quite the opposite. But there will always be some who will. Those that spout that slogan seem to be saying that punishing rapists will deter others. Sure. It has worked so well for other crimes.
    1.  When I hear the slogan, what I hear is that society should tell women they should have nothing to fear but blame someone else should they be proved wrong, again and again.
    2. When I learn how expansive the range of “assaults” has grown, I don’t wonder that women are growing fearful even in the least threatening environments. Perhaps we should do what some of these rape culture activists seem to be saying, “Get thee to a nunnery.”

In the Western world, women are the safest they have ever been. If they think that our society hates women deeply, they should move to a more enlightened location. Perhaps India, Saudi Arabia or South Africa.


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