forewarning, I’m stating some of this fairly bluntly. So if you feel you might be triggered, proceed with caution, and the alt+tab button combo handy. Also, I acknowledge that either gender can be the rapist or victim, but the type of victim blaming I’m talking about is mostly experienced by women, and the perps are usually men. So I’m using the appropriate gender nouns.
Okay, I know you’ve read the title, and are getting the proverbial hammer ready. You might think I’m going to blame other women for getting attacked, or saying it’s their fault, etc. I’m not. But while I hate victim blaming more then almost anything else, I also hate seeing people disregard good advice. I also acknowledge that people will try to use the advice as part of victim blaming. But part of the problem is that victim blaming assumes your attacker is a stranger, and the good advice doesn’t.
Should we find a way to discourage rapists from acting on their urges? Yes, we should change how we educate people, do anything and everything to discourage sexual assault from happening. Do I know how to? No, and that’s why I can’t go into length about it here. I might write another post to do so. But it is a different topic (and I’ve seen it before, a person writes a blog, doesn’t go off topic, and gets slammed for it), though a very related topic.
Most of the good advice comes down to this: Keep control of yourself and your surroundings. Yes there are ways to spin this advice that are victim blaming. Like saying “Well why were you even at that party?”. Who gives a flying fig why you were there. I sure don’t. GO have fun, but do so safely. Or “Well you shouldn’t have been drinking.” I don’t care if you drink when you go out. But don’t over do it.
And even then, you are responsible for your actions. But you are not responsible for some one taking advantage of those actions. I mean you could go walk through a crowd of people naked, etc. , and so long as you aren’t willing if someone tries to have sex with you it’s still rape. Doesn’t matter if you struggle, or stay still. It’s rape. So long as you don’t willing say yes and feel violated it’s rape. Can this get confusing, on the other side of the table. I imagine it can. But that’s where educating them comes in. (dead/cold fish means stop, fighting means stop, yelling ‘no’ or pain outside of scenes means stop, etc.) And if consent could be in doubt sex shouldn’t be happening. And even if you do say yes, it could turn into rape. If you change your mind, and say no, stop, or do anything to indicate you aren’t willing, it’s rape. If you are coerced, or there is a large power difference, it’s rape. If you think you were raped or sexually assaulted, you’re right.
Now some people are getting ready to swing, I’m sure. I’ve actually been fighting how to quantify, explain, etc, my thoughts on this subject. It was hard. I mean, no one is to blamed for being raped. I guess the easiest way to explain it (very inaccurately) would be to say, the victim has the responsibility to *try* and keep themselves away from a situation that could lead to rape. But as soon as the perp actually comes into play, he’s taking control of the situation from the woman, and thus her ability to act. She essentially has not actions, thus no responsibility. Where as the purp, he is the one with motivation, usually stalking the victim in some way, picking her out. It would be like saying it’s the cows fault for being slaughtered, just because it went up the ramp onto the truck.
So why should women take the advice? Well, why the heck wouldn’t you want to do everything possible to prevent getting raped or sexually assaulted? Why wouldn’t you do everything in your power to prevent self doubt if it does happen. Make your case the strongest it can be.
So what do I mean, really mean by saying stay in control of your self and surroundings. First, I’m not sorry to say is, Don’t drink is *excess*. Sure have a drink or 3. But don’t drink enough so you could be led into doing something you don’t want (if you are/were, it is still rape). Watch your drinks, finish them before leaving the table, or don’t touch them when you get back. Even if you have someone watching the table, there is still a possibility of your drink getting spiked. And since most perps are people you know, sadly to say, the person you might leave your drink wth, they might be the person most likely to hurt you. Consider why you are going out. If you are going out to have fun, awesome, to drink away the blues? Unless you are going to drink ’em away by having fun, maybe stay home, with your most trusted friends or family members, and get drunk looking up stupid things (or whatever you can do for fun and not risk loosing a finger/limb). Heck even drink by yourself, if there’s not possibility of self harm. That way, if you really need to get shit faced, you can do so safely, and be in control of your surroundings. If you are going out for fun, know the people you are with, or don’t trust them to see you home. Set up back up plan to get home. Make sure the server(s) know who your DD is, and make sure they stay liquor free. Keep your phone on you, fully charged. (personally I can’t wait to get an actual license to DD, fun/dancing at a bar without drinking seems awesome to me). Know the route to and from your destination. If things to go wrong, be prepared to abandon ship (jump out of the vehicle) if the perp won’t let you out. Have someone you can call if you suspect you’ve been drugged. Or call a cab. Mostly, just think it through. Some of this might seem excessive, overprotective, and paranoid. And maybe it is. But that’s where it’s coming from, protecting you, not blaming you. So if you still feel the need to swing the hammer do so. Just tell me why first.
If this doesn’t make sense, think of this example. We wouldn’t blame someone for having their leg cut off, even if they were passed out drunk on the street. So we shouldn’t blame sexual assault victims. But that still doesn’t make it a good idea to drink until you are passed out drunk.
- The Backwards View of Rape: Victim Blaming! (beinis15.wordpress.com)
- ’14-Year-Old Consented to Rape By Corrections Officer’ (readersupportednews.org)
- Roast Busters, Rape and the People Who Victim Blame. (jawkwardlol.com)
- Victim blaming perpetuates rape culture (lilytran1.wordpress.com)
- Watch This Chilling Video About Victim-Blaming In Rape Cases (buzzfeed.com)
- Victim Blaming (beautifulagain2005.wordpress.com)
- Before You Make Excuses for Rape… [TW] (michonnemicheaux.wordpress.com)