Yes, rape is a crime and men (and in rare cases women) that commit it are beyond reprehensible. But there are ways that you can minimise the risk – this doesn’t shift the blame of the crime, but it can help the innocent. This isn’t blaming the victim – no more than advising people not to stand in certain areas of Manchester with their eyes closed waving a new iPhone around.
Comment on Independent blog, 26 July 2012
If i leave my front door open it doesn’t give thieves the right to nick my stuff but it increases the likelihood that it will happen.And if my insurers feel i was negligent in leaving my front door open they may well not pay out on my household contents insurance policy.Likewise if i choose to make myself drunk and incapable it doesn’t give people the right to beat me,rob me and possibly even rape me but it increases the likelihood that it may happen.So surely i have some responsibility to take steps to protect myself.
Comment on the Guardian Comment is Free, 26 July 2012
When a sensitive topic such a rape is discussed, feminists are often accused of not knowing the difference between victim-blaming and just advising people to take sensible precautions because hey, there are some innately evil people out there, people whose behaviour is in no way responsive to the culture that surrounds them. Well, as a feminist, I would like to show that not only can I copy and paste massive comments then write pointlessly long sentences at the start of blog posts, but that I do ‘get’ this difference. I totally do.
It upsets me, obviously, that so many young men are apparently falsely accused of rape. To make a false accusation is a heinous crime; no one’s denying that. But it’s no good putting out messages saying ‘don’t make false accusations’. First, that would make all women feel they were tarred with the ‘false accuser’ brush (I mean, more than we are already). Second, it wouldn’t do anything to deter the false accusers. They’re going to do it anyway – but only if men give them the chance.
The harsh truth is that yes, indeed, you wouldn’t go out leaving your front door open – that’s just an invitation to burglars. Nor would you leave your iPad on a table in the pub while you nipped to the loo. It’s just basic risk management. Why, then, do so many men go out and have sex, when clearly that’s a red flag to all potential false rape accusers? I’m not saying such men are to blame when false accusations are made, just that all men should seriously restrict their activities in order to minimise the opportunities open to all the faceless bad people over whom we have no influence whatsoever (beyond the messages conveyed by the legal system, peer approval or disapproval, the shitty comments we write on blogs, that sort of thing).
You could argue that what I’m suggesting is needless, that such a restriction of sexual expression reinforces the distorted thinking of abusers in relation to those who “deserve” to be abused. You could argue that behaving like you’re a human being who likes to have sex with some (but not all) people is nothing like walking around blindfold with an iPhone in Moss Side. You could even argue that if the avoidance of crime is a worthwhile rein on normal social interactions, none of us should even leave the house (apart from to go to work, where we’ll just have to take our chances). You could argue all of those things. However, that’s to ignore the fact that I’m just being practical. I just don’t want to see more poor men suffer.
So what I’m saying, men, is don’t ever have a one-night stand again. Don’t even have sex. It’s not like we women will miss it – we’ve been told it’s off the cards for years anyhow (again, in the interests of crime avoidance). Just keep your cocks in your pants and we’ll all be happy. Well, not happy. Not even normal or at peace with ourselves. Just, you know … Anyhow, this has nothing to do with blaming the victim. It’s just common sense.