Taking precautions against rape does not equate to accepting blame

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The other day I witnessed a “twar” (that’s a twitter war for my more mature friends) that reminded me of this one British anti-rape campaign. The “This Is Not An Invitation to Rape Me” is/was (not sure if it’s still running) a campaign run by Rape Crisis Scotland, to change the attitude that women are to blame for rape.

 

Basically one gentleman on twitter had suggested that women take precaution against being raped. Needless to say, twitter went berserk on the poor guy. Soon as I saw his tweet I thought “rest in peace sir” ‘cause it was pretty obvious what was about to take place. In fact, it wasn’t so much a “twar” as a “tw-murder”…I clearly haven’t mastered this twitter wordplay thing.

 

Anyway, at the risk of being “tw-murdered” myself, I felt compelled to today declare that I get what he was trying to say. Allow me a minute to analogise my explanation:

 

There’s a gorgeous park near where I stay. It’s a great short cut for a lot of people. Only problem is, there’s no lighting whatsoever. As would be expected, some people using the park as a shortcut at night have unfortunately been victims of crime.

 

Now, I think the city council should invest in lighting that park. Hell, even us residents could chip in if need be. Whatever needs to be done should be done to light up that park and reduce crime taking place there, BUT I see nothing wrong with asking people to NOT cut through that park at night. And such a request doesn’t mean you are necessarily blaming the victim of the crime and not the perpetrators.

 

So why doesn’t this apply to rape? Well, rape is a very sensitive crime. Much like paedophilia, it angers us. So anytime anyone so much as hints at the victim taking precautions, society gets on the defensive. We scream and shout and, sadly, miss the point; a very valid and important point at that. And I think this is counterproductive.

 

For instance, if there is a taxi rank where scantily dressed women have been victims of rape, I am going to tell my daughter to take precautions against going there scantily dressed. If women are being raped after nights out by dodgy taxi drivers, I’m going to tell my sister to take precautions against taking dodgy taxis at night whilst drunk. Does that mean I’m blaming them should they be raped? No, not at all. The rapist is ALWAYS to blame. HE IS 100% IN THE WRONG.

 

So what am I saying? I’m saying there are numerous things that need to be done to cure our society as we become more and more desensitised to crimes of all nature. For example, in the case of rape, men need to be educated from a very early age. Mutual respect between genders needs to be cultivated from the word go. Police need more training to improve rape convictions. The list is almost endless. However, in all this, telling women to take precautions isn’t a bad thing. It isn’t an act of passing blame onto them. It is a reality that needs to be communicated.

 

The problem is so many people on social networks are just waiting to fight…after all it’s an easy way to gain followers. *just scribbling my thoughts*

3 comments on “Taking precautions against rape does not equate to accepting blame

  1. “Prevention is better than cure” might not be the perfect solution to curbing this problem, especially when people are tempted by getting “sick”. But the issue of rape will always be a double-edged sword no matter who’s looking.

    As extreme as the Sharia law punishment for rape may be, it seems to be effective as no man would want to get castrated. At least 8 don’t think so.

    This whole time, rape has been seen as a woman’s fear, what would happen if it became a man’s fear?

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  2. I agree with your sentiment. “Taking precautions against rape does not equate to accepting blame,” is quite a reasonable stance. With a blurry edge. The mindset is quite natural, if I don’t do X I may lessen my chances of being the victim of a crime. Who wouldn’t want to do that? But where does caution end and fear take over?

    I don’t want to wear revealing clothing in dark parks at night in order to prevent being the victim of a crime is perfectly reasonable. Cautioning others to do the same is also perfectly reasonable. I think where the ‘haters’ come from is it is saying that the reason a woman was raped was because of what she was wearing and where she was. Clearly the former is cautionary, and the latter is laying blame. Sometimes semantics is the whole crux of the argument.

    However, let us take the cautionary stance and feel around those blurry edges. Don’t wear revealing clothing to lessen your chances of being raped. Now: define revealing clothing. Further, attempt to rationalize why women who were wearing what by any argument was not revealing in the slightest still can experience rape. There’s the outline of the blurry edge.

    Rape is about power, and part of the problem with talking about rape and women is that because the act mimics the sexual act, that it is therefore wrongly seen as a sexual act itself. It is an act of power. Therefore, it would not matter if a woman is wearing a crop top and mini skirt, or a burqua. If a man wants to show his power over a woman, he will do it, regardless of what manner of dress she is wearing.

    An argument *could* be made that, to some, the act of wearing excessively modest clothing could already be seen as an act of power over women, and therefore rape being seen as almost more acceptable: women, already being lowered in status, are therefore legitimate targets of even more violent expressions of male power.

    Basically it comes down to: if you are confronted with a rapist, your clothing choice is likely going to have very little impact on whether or not you are raped.

    To wit: revealing clothing – obviously you’re asking for it. Modest clothing – obviously you’re too uptight and “need” it. There will always be a ‘justification’ made in the rapists mind for why he (or she!) is entitled to take the actions being inflicted on another.

    Now, I still agree with you. If an area is dangerous to go in at night because it is not well lit, somewhat secluded, etc, then it is dangerous to go into that area. But where I differ with you is: it isn’t any more dangerous to go into an unlit park at night wearing sweatpants and a hoodie than it is go to in wearing crop tops and mini skirts.

    Unfortunately, rapists don’t confine themselves to darkened parks. They hunt in any place they can take advantage of a person who is unable to fight them off. Whether through sheer strength, or through incapacitating their victim, they are able to exercise that power on another human being, and unfortunately, you can’t avoid them as easily as you can avoid the park.

    And unlike the commenter above, I know that men are already the victims of rape in many places in this world, sometimes by women, sometimes by other men. So even though my language throughout has been pretty much ascribing women as victims and men as perpetrators, that does not mean the reverse is not just as horrific to the victims and just as vile by the perpetrator.

    I guess here is where I would draw the line: any place that is to be avoided as unsafe, should be equally avoided as unsafe by both men and women alike. If women alone are singled out as needing to avoid certain areas because of the worry of rape, that is – in my mind – exactly where the line exists between acceptable levels of caution and restricting women’s rights.

    That darkened park would be, I would think, equally to be avoided by men and women.

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    • ImTawanda says:

      Almost 3 years later I re-read your comment and I can safely say it changed my whole thinking. You explained your argument SO SO well and changed my whole point of view on rape…and I am grateful. Thank U.

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