27 Jan 2013

Some sensible words on victim-blaming 'rape avoidance advice'

These comments were in response to Barbara Ellen's Guardian article on 'safety in numbers', which was in turn a response to Joanna Lumley's comments that girls can escape rape by not wearing the 'wrong clothes', getting drunk or looking 'like trash'.

"'Take care of yourself' as general advice is fine.

'Take care of yourself' as specific advice for dealing with rape is misleading and problematic. It implies that you can greatly lessen the chances of being raped by not making yourself 'vulnerable', so that the victim is left to feel that they were stupid, that they failed to take some precautionary measure.

Since (and I am getting tired of saying this) most rapes do not occur out in some dingy alley but in the warmth and safety of someone's house, and are carried out by someone known to the victim, it beggars belief that the constant advice from celebrities and politicians is to behave differently in some completely alternative situation, as if this is the scenario in which women are most vulnerable. The stats do not support it - if anything, you're most vulnerable at home with men you trust. And what can anyone reasonably do in that situation?

"Watch your drink" would be sensible advice. "Don't wear high heels" is just stupid.

--JT Stone

How many threads full of smug men telling women how to behave do we need, Guardian? Thank you Joanna Lumley, thank you Barbara Ellen, thank you every other tired, tired bore who think that this week its their turn to tell women to 'be more careful' and 'don't get raped'. Because it's not like most women don't spend their lives trying to balance living like 'normal' people (aka men) while looking over their shoulder all the time in case some man takes it into his head to subject them to sexual assault.

I'm still waiting for the Guardian article that covers basic material such as the ways that rapists deliberately use all this 'be more careful' crap to cover up their crimes, discredit their victims and play juries. Because that's what happens. Think about the rapists, Barbara Ellen, and stop with the boring, boring victim-blaming."


"Now women (and men) are faced with two choices. Restrict their life in a completely unfeasible way to avoid hypothetical risks - every time you get in a car you face possible death in an accident - or accept that risk is part of life and if you're unlucky enough to draw the short straw, well that is just bad luck.
It is impossible to keep yourself safe from rape, unless you lock yourself in a rapist proof box. "


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