Thursday, January 24, 2013

Cop-Outs which facilitate rape (part 1): why we need to stop talking about keeping safe

A friend of mine once posted this picture on her Facebook. It brought up some interesting points which I think are worth going into deeper

One respondent astutely pointed out that "it assumes that the natural state of rapists is rapist" which is a pretty reasonable thing to point out, but then the conversation turned to the tired old temptation based victim blaming.

"I would avoid walking through the projects with dollar bills hanging out of my pockets too"

The problem with this metaphor is that it assumes that there is somehow a situation that makes it easier or harder to be raped.

In reality you have to replace "projects" with "the entire world" and "dollar bills" with "your own skin".

But then also imagine that there is a neon sign over your head saying "Slow runner! Aim for tricky left knee! Biggest bills in front pocket! Enjoy!" and you have a much better picture of the situation.

Except we're forgetting the even bigger sign that says "Go ahead, the cops probably won't give a shit about this one".

As someone who became a statistic at the age of seven in my own home to a non-stranger I can assure you... there is NO SUCH THING as a safe place to be and there is no such thing as not sexy enough to escape notice.

I'm sure there are countless grandmothers, boy scouts, women relaxing in muumuus in their own homes, pee wee league players and other sundry people that didn't happen to be half naked in a strip joint handing out embossed invitations to their orifices at the time of their rape that could back me up on this.

I jog regularly in my neighborhood. It is a very good neighborhood, the houses are nice, the cars are generally either well kept or on the expensive site. I wear longer loose shorts and I have my breasts flattened by a sports bra (which is not my outer layer). I am sweaty and devoid of makeup, my hair is pulled back in the most efficient way possible.

I carry my phone. I carry pepper spray. I jog in the middle of the afternoon. I ALWAYS tell someone what I'm going ot be doing and how long I expect to take. I keep my music low and my earphones out of one ear entirely. Does this attention to not being sexy or available mean I abandon all further caution and run by in arms reach of open work vans and dark alleys? No, of course not, because regardless of my preparations I ultimately am NOT the one who determines whether I am going to be targeted for rape on any given day.

When you blame a victim for facilitating their own misfortune and cause them to bear the brunt of another person's actions you direct attention away from the person who made the active decision and make it EASIER for them to make the same decisions in the future.

By blaming victims you are FACILITATING future rapes.