June 10, 2014

Stop blaming the (potential) victim

The Miss USA pageant was this weekend. I didn't watch, but thankfully Vanity Fair correspondent Phoebe Robinson did. Her recap is blog-worthy.
She also notes with dismay that the winner (**spoiler alert**) answered her thoughtful question about what colleges can do to combat on-campus sexual assault with the suggestion that girls learn self-defense. (The implication being that if you don't adequately defend yourself, you deserve it.)
When are we going to WAKE UP AND REALIZE THAT IT'S NOT THE WOMAN'S RESPONSIBILITY TO MAKE SURE SHE'S NOT RAPED??!?! Seriously. This is the winning answer.
I get that all the hairspray and fake tans can take a toll on intelligence, but come on! This is 2014, not 1950. How about we suggest next year that a great way to prevent sexual assault is to teach boys to respect women. All women. All the time.
Every year we spend concentrating on the victims' errors is a year we lose in teaching the younger generation that women are not objects. We don't exist for men's gratification. Nor for their chores. Nor as an outlet for their violence. Nor as an incubator for their offspring. Nor as a pair of boobs in a bikini. (Unless you're Miss Nevada, apparently. Then you just learn Tae Kwon Do.)


Anonymous said...

Why not do both?
We should teach men not to rape, and women how to defend themselves.

Imagine if we could take every male and individually line them up and say DON'T RAPE! There would still be some sociopaths that would rape regardless. In an ideal world I'd like to walk down a dark alley in my nightie to get some cigarettes, but that's just not going to happen, no matter how much we yell at men to simply not rape.

In a perfect world I'd like to leave my car unlocked when I go to the shops. But in reality my car would be more vulnerable to robberies. Should we teach all people not to rob cars? We could (and already do)...but there's always going to be that small percentage that will rape and steal regardless of whether we "teach" them.

Teaching women how to defend themselves in certain situations isn't a bad thing. More fitness, strength, and confidence to for example push/kick and run from an attacker.

The majority of men already know that rape is bad. To suggest that the only reason that rapes are still occurring is because men aren't being told not too is not only ridiculous and insulting to men, it's a downright dangerous mindset.

punkinsmom said...

To anonymous: I do not think that learning self defense is wrong. Or useless. It is certainly a proactive option. And I know that most men do not rape women (are we visiting the #notallmen thing again?), but one of the big reasons so many assaults take place on college campuses is that boys are taught that it is almost okay. These rapes are not the violent black-masked stranger in a dark alley rapes. These are rapes that are unreported or underreported because the victim may have been drinking. Or at a big house party and walked home with a male acquaintance. Or got locked out and needed a place to crash for the night. Somehow, in some way the 6 to 19 percent (depending on the study you read) of men who do rape, think that the victim OWES them something. And they think it because we taught little boys that girls are less than the sum of their parts.
Yes, there are sociopaths who will rape (or attempt rape) no matter how well we educate the world. But to suggest that the best thing a university can do to prevent assaults is teach the women self defense is missing the point and once again putting the onus on the women.