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Zoethe

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My point [Feb. 27th, 2006|06:41 am]
Zoethe
[Current Mood |hotwearing the flame-proof undies]

As of this morning, the reaction to last night's poll was overwhelmingly in favor of the victim bearing at least some responsibility for his actions. 290 of you voted that way, while a mere 11 voted for him being strictly a victim.

The comments were even more interesting. The overall theme was, "Hey, it shouldn't happen, but it's a big, cruel world out there, and you have to live in the real world, not an ideal one." With which I agree. 100%.

But try saying the same thing about women and rape prevention, and just see the outrage that follows. Suggest that women bear any responsibility for making smart choices and suddenly you're a woman hater who just wants to blame the victim.

Why is it that the very people who insist that women are equal to men - equally competent, equally capable - then turn around and infantilize women when it comes to self-protection and "street smarts"?

Do they not get that the whole "equal" business means both rights and responsibilities?

Don't get me wrong. No one should ever be raped, just as no one should ever be robbed, beaten, murdered, etc. The perpetrator is always to blame and should always be punished. But if you say - and I have seen people say this - that a girl who goes to a frat party, gets drunk off her gourd, passes out and is raped bears no responsibility for the consequences of her actions, then you are not demanding equality.

You are demanding chivalry. The special protection of women, who are too frail to fend for themselves. The polar opposite, really, of what the women's movement is supposed to be about.

Again, it is wrong to victimize anyone. Those who take advantage, even of a person who has made poor choices, are still guilty as hell and should be punished for their actions. But unless one sees the man making inadvisable choices about his personal safety as equally victimized, then what's being asked for is not equality. It's protection. And it makes it harder to be taken seriously.
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[User Picture]From: darthfox
2006-02-27 12:27 pm (UTC)
[waves the asbestos flag with you]
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[User Picture]From: lacey
2006-02-27 12:27 pm (UTC)
That's an interesting take on the issue.

What brought this on for you?
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[User Picture]From: listenshesings
2006-02-27 12:32 pm (UTC)
that's what I was wondering.
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[User Picture]From: itches
2006-02-27 12:36 pm (UTC)
'But try saying the same thing about women and rape prevention, and just see the outrage that follows.'

Suggestion: Rape is rape so change the gender from female to male?
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-02-27 12:40 pm (UTC)
Good point.
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[User Picture]From: chaosdancer
2006-02-27 12:38 pm (UTC)
But to some extent we *do* need chivalry, and it isn't the opposite of equality. Unless some way was found to make men and women exactly equal in physical strength (and the law of the land made it so that this had to be done to them, which would never happen) then we will *never* be exactly equal. I don't think we should strive for this because women's strengths and men's strengths are different. A woman shouldn't be blamed if she goes to a normal party and the tone of it changes while she's there. Sometimes nice parties get taken over by frat boys. I've seen that happen. Of course she shouldn't get blind drunk, but sometimes when one is first discovering the joys of alcohol (not) one doesn't know one's capacity. It may be that a young woman needs the protection of a man who would recognize that she's no longer competent and would offer to take her home, and if that's chivalry, then that's not a bad thing. Any more than it would be a bad thing if a female cab driver had stopped to pick up and rescue that hypothetical male idiot from his bad behavior. I do think we all have a responsibility to look out for each other, male or female.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-02-27 12:47 pm (UTC)
No doubt, people should be good to each other, male and female. No doubt, we have all made stupid mistakes that we were fortunate did not cost us more than they did. There is definitely an element of "there but for the grace..." in all our lives.

But one should be able to look back at an incident and pinpoint where one made those bad choices. And if one takes the steadfast attitude of some feminists that the woman never has any culpability for her actions, how does one learn not to be an idiot the next time around?
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[User Picture]From: lubedpumpkin
2006-02-27 12:46 pm (UTC)
Totally agree.

I think the wtf-ness in the last post stemmed from the fact that there are plenty of people that believe that if a woman dresses in a provocative way, that she deserves to be attacked. She's not being irresponsible, like the man waving money around in a dangerous area was. What if she wore a low-cut dress to a reception, and her date raped her later on thinking she was asking for it? Perhaps an extreme circumstance, but certainly not unheard of.

Her responsibility doesn't lie in what she wore, but maybe picking up on the signs that the man (or whomever) around her is being a creep, that she shouldn't go home with strangers, etc etc.

Certainly the same goes if the genders were switched.

The man waving the money around is an idiot, and in an ideal world it'd be nice if he could wave money around (I guess?). But I do believe the woman's situation is different.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-02-27 12:49 pm (UTC)
Oh, no doubt there are genuine victims, and circumstances in which a woman can look back and say, "no, there was nothing I did that placed myself at any unusual risk." But being able to make an honest assessment requires acknowledgement of the possibility of some responsibility.
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[User Picture]From: the_xtina
2006-02-27 12:51 pm (UTC)
I posted about this ages ago!  Ha!  And agree with you whole-heartedly.
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[User Picture]From: wolflady26
2006-02-27 12:52 pm (UTC)
I agree completely - and it's something that I thought of when you posted the poll as well.

I hate the logic that says that women have no responsibility for their own safety - outside of a courtroom. If a person gets off on a rape charge because the woman was wearing a miniskirt, that's WRONG. Just like it would be if a person got off on a theft charge because the victim was rich.

But in terms of behavior, I'd rather think about the ways that I can influence my own safety than just rely on the women's rights movements to convince everyone out there that they shouldn't rape people. This was the big beef I had with the meme that was going around a while back that went something like "If .... DON'T RAPE HER!" I think that the vast majority of people who are going to rape someone are way past the point where a vapid internet meme is going to change their minds. And I especially hated how the beginning of that meme denigrated self-protection or responsible drinking habits as a defense against rape.

I think it is more empowering to focus on the things I can change than on the things I can't. And the evil that lives in the heart of a stranger falls pretty squarely in the realm of things I can't.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-02-27 12:58 pm (UTC)
That meme totally irked me. It was part of the impetus behind this.
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From: (Anonymous)
2006-02-27 12:52 pm (UTC)
Because some in the feminist movement draw their power from being professional victims, and when victimization is your ideology you attack anything that might weaken that point of view.


And now I go put my asbestos long johns on.
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[User Picture]From: harold3
2006-02-27 12:53 pm (UTC)
Woops,

Sorry that was me, I didn't mean to comment anon.
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[User Picture]From: da_wench
2006-02-27 12:56 pm (UTC)
I think it's not so much a question of rape victims being somewhat responsible for being raped, but more of the woman giving the impression of being an easy mark & therefore becoming a victim of rape. People tend to prey on the weak, no matter what the crime. That's not to say only weak women are victims of rape, but at some point the rapest viewed them as such. We all need to protect ourselves from anyone wishing to do us harm & the best way is to give the impression no one can harm us.
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[User Picture]From: moon_ferret
2006-02-27 12:59 pm (UTC)
I agree with the idea of rape prevention the same way I agree with driving classes for my daughter. And my son. Both need to be taught responsible behavior. Both need to be taught that they are the number one person that can keep them safe.

The only problem I have is when the "blame the victim" mentality follows the person into the courtroom. Which you have very clearly NOT taken a stand on. Please don't think I lack reading comprehension. It is when the line of question follows the "She clearly asked for it" that makes me mad as hell. Not "did she do something STOOPID", but did she deserve it. The idea of Rape Prevention Training makes perfect sense to me. I have already discussed with my 11 year old when she is within her rights to knock someone's teeth down their throat.

And what you wrote is clear and conscise. I am always in awe when someone can take the rant out of my head and make it sound coherent. And not like some drooling moron.
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[User Picture]From: hugh_mannity
2006-02-27 02:08 pm (UTC)
Alcohol training would be good too. I grew up in England, where the attitude towards alcohol is very different from that in the US.

From our early teens we got a tiny but increasing amount of alcohol at special occasions: Christmas dinner, grandparents birthday dinners, weddings, funerals, christenings, etc.

By the time we were drinking in the local pub (several years before we reached legal drinking age) we were pretty comfortable with a drink or two. Financial constraints prevented us having more than one or 2 drinks in an evening so by the time we were able to afford to get drunk, there illicit thrill was long gone and we knew what we could handle.

No alcohol at all, coupled with free-flowing booze at college parties is a very bad idea. I'm sure much of the binge drinking and other wretched excess that goes on at colleges is a result of suddenly having all the checks and balances of living at home removed.
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[User Picture]From: mishamish
2006-02-27 01:09 pm (UTC)
Hmm... I personally feel that it's always dicey for a guy to voice an opinion on this, since of course rape doesn't touch our lives AT ALL (utter bullshit), but I guess I can stick a toe in the water of this debate.

Personally I agree with you, including the fact in the comments that there are situations of actual victimhood. I wonder, though, where that line should be drawn? I mean, if a woman lives three blocks from the local bar - in a GOOD neighborhood - should she ALWAYS walk home with a friend? At what point does self preservation become paranoia?

And, for some reason, the question of main force keeps tugging at my mind to be let out here. However, I can't see how it's all that relevant and it could easily put ME in a position of needing asbestos underwear here, too, so I'll just leave it where it is. :-D
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[User Picture]From: shugenja
2006-02-27 01:27 pm (UTC)
There is an element of "Bad Things Happen" that must be considered. You can work to minimize the danger to yourself but you can never completely remove it. What I'm taking away from Gini's post is simply a distaste for extreme thought on the matter, that it doesn't matter what the victim did or did not do because the perpetrator had no right. My impression is that this is a rant against tossing away the idea that a person is responsible for some measure of their own welfare, simply because their assailant committed an evil act.
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[User Picture]From: dana3
2006-02-27 01:23 pm (UTC)
that a girl who goes to a frat party, gets drunk off her gourd, passes out and is raped bears no responsibility for the consequences of her actions, then you are not demanding equality.

You are demanding chivalry. [...]


I am demanding that sex not be used as a weapon. I am demanding that they treat her as they would any male in the same position. Now, if that means she wakes up with her head half-shaved and the rest dyed blue, THAT would be her own fault.

But if the frat boys wouldn't rape a guy similarly compromised, I guess I really do expect them not to rape the girl. I expect them to be human beings and not to use sex as a weapon.

Consider this as notes from a second generation feminist, parent to a third generation feminist ... who happens to be male.
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[User Picture]From: fortuna_juvat
2006-02-27 01:52 pm (UTC)
I know that frat boys would sodomize a guy left in a similar position. The weapon of choice is usually a beer bottle. Would you like to see pictures? There's plenty posted at www.collegehell.com.

Of course, then it's "funny."

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[User Picture]From: funwithrage
2006-02-27 01:26 pm (UTC)
Damn straight.


Most of the comments I disagreed with on the previous post had to do with clothing, which I still believe isn't a factor. If it's a stranger rape, it doesn't matter--these guys are psychopaths, seriously, one step down from serial killers, and they don't pay much attention to clothes--and if you're at a frat party or on a date or whatever, the guy will be expecting what he's expecting *anyhow*.


And yes, I do get testy about the "women can't walk home alone at night" shit. There are places I wouldn't walk alone at night; by and large, they're the same places men shouldn't.


But in general, yes. Know your surroundings, know the environment, and make smart choices: don't get wasted if you're around many, many drunk people you don't know, don't walk through certain neighborhoods at night, and so forth. If you're an adult, you should be able to take care of yourself.

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[User Picture]From: littlebuhnee
2006-02-27 02:14 pm (UTC)
Heh. This is the contrary example I just created in my head. And, sadly, it's not all that exaggerated when alcohol is involved.
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[User Picture]From: pickwick
2006-02-27 01:40 pm (UTC)

Re: I agree, but...

I say that we ought as a society to teach men to value self-discipline.

Well, yes, ideally, but isn't that like saying "We ought to teach people they shouldn't kill other people" and expecting that to stop wars? Most men already value the thought that they would never, under any circumstances, rape anyone. Any solution that targets "men" rather than "people who are likely to do something as horrific as rape" is, IMO, more likely to add to the problem.
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[User Picture]From: forestfire
2006-02-27 01:39 pm (UTC)

I certainly hope this doesn't count as flame

I didn't get a chance to respond to your last post because the comments left me too upset. My problem is the purpose of the inquiry. Is anyone seriously arguing that the criminal consequences to the gang or the rapist should be lessened because their victim was dumb? If so then thats where I disagree. Obviously in coping with the event on a personal level the victim is going to have to face the fact that he or she placed him or herself in a very bad situation and increased the chances of being a victim astronomically. Yet the kind of arguments that are getting bantied around here are the same kind of arguments that get used to mitigate sentences. If you beat and rob someone the punishment should be the same whether he was a white guy brandying money about or a black guy on his way home from work. If you rape a woman the consequences should be the same whether she was dressed primly and had a single drink, or wearing next to nothing and trashed.

Obviously other factors might mitigate. But punishment is based on the actions of the perpetrators, their blameworthiness, not the blameworthiness of the victim. On a practical level, I would roll my eyes at the person who behaves in certain manners likely to result in tragedy, but that shouldn't be used to take the focus off of the actual wrongdoer.

I ask, and I meant to ask this before, what kind of purpose does this inquiry serve? Socialogical survey, general laugh at someone else's stupidity, or a keen tactic to shift blame from the person holding the weapon to the person it injured?
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[User Picture]From: tevriel
2006-02-27 02:24 pm (UTC)

Re: I certainly hope this doesn't count as flame

I can't speak for zoethe, but as one of the people who calls it idiocy...

No, the people who did the crime shouldn't be let off because the person they attacked, in whatever way, increased their own chances of victimhood. For myself, I just tend to think that sympathy for the victim should be restricted. It's not hard and fast, though, because... limits. As far as rape goes this doesn't apply, but:

Situation: zoethe's scenario. The rich man, flashing money, goes into a "bad" neighbourhood and is robbed. Bad, bad people! Bad gangs!

Except think about it: bad neighbourhood generally means poor neighbourhood. You have a whole lot of people who are doing it tough, without money or anything that comes with it. Maybe they've got a sick child and can't afford medicine, or they're going to get evicted if they can't make rent, or they already owe money to sharks and they're going to be killed if they can't pay it.

They rob the guy. He's got money, they don't, and he's flashing it around their nabe... what's the fucker doing, trying to taunt them with the wealth and privilege he has and they don't? That shit ain't nice. So they take the money, maybe let out a few extra kicks to the ribs from built-up resentment at the systematic neglect inflicted on them by the American government.

You know, they kinda have a point. What he did wasn't just stupid, it was unkind. Maybe he doesn't exactly deserve to be the target of their rage at something that isn't his fault, but the rage is valid, and you never know - maybe they really, truly needed that money. Maybe on a normal day they wouldn't dream of robbing him, but tonight his wallet means their kids don't starve.

Now, this is an example that *doesn't* translate to the issue of rape. But sometimes "victims" do provoke the crime, and I won't necessarily agree that the perpetrators are wholly wrong. I mean, I think theft is wrong, and as a rule I won't steal. My principles there are quite strong. I'm not *tempted* to steal, even.

But if it was the only way I had to feed my child, I'd steal.

This is why my grandmother (a truly good person, you understand) taught her children firmly (a lesson I have inherited) that it is wrong to put temptation in people's way, because you don't know what pressures they're under hat might lead them to sins they wouldn't otherwise commit.
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[User Picture]From: pheret1
2006-02-27 01:50 pm (UTC)
I see a very big difference between theft of money and rape, however. That could be why I don't agree with you.
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[User Picture]From: theferrett
2006-02-27 02:20 pm (UTC)
In either case, you bear a responsibility; it doesn't matter "how bad the attacker is" or "what their intent is," but rather "how likely are they to do this bad thing to you"?

It's kind of like someone arguing, "You know, you shouldn't have to worry about pit bulls biting you because they're just animals! They don't know any better!" The point isn't to excuse or to not excuse the pit bull's behavior; it's to not get bitten.

In this case, there are a lot of sick guys who will, sadly, bite. The fact that they shouldn't bite is, for the purposes of avoiding it, completely irrelevant.


(And yes, I know that not all pit bulls are bad and some are sweet and it's mostly the owner. It's just an example, goddammit.)
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[User Picture]From: roniliquidity
2006-02-27 01:59 pm (UTC)
One thing that was getting to me about the previous post was watching the comments where people seemed to be unable to draw the line between being aware and realistic, versus the idea that women should expect they may have a problem based on their attire.

The very important distinction is that recognizing how a woman is dressed, could inspire a DEVIANT PORTION of the population to think that her attire was invitation for sexual aggression.

That is quite different than recognizing how a woman is dressed could inspire an attack, period.

I know it sounds like splitting hairs, but it is vital to recognize that the idea a woman is "asking for it" based on her attire is objectively wrong, and the segment of people that think that are wrong. Leaving it vague, that her potential attacker could be any guy, seemingly indicates the uncontrollable need to rape her could happen to any guy at any time, this normalizing the reaction.

It's like saying that if a woman is assertive, or mouthy, she should recognize some men might think she deserves to be hit. This is true of some very bad men, and yes, it would be wise for women to avoid them.

That's completely different than saying if a woman is assertive or mouthy she must recognize she may get hit by a man. While it is true in some situations that may happen, leaving it open like that indicates if she is mouthy, some passing man may hear it and hit her.

The latter argument turns every man into a potential threat, and if EVERY man might do that the onus is on her to avoid that situation.

I imagine the statements "If a woman speak up, a man might hit her" and "If a woman dresses up, a man might rape her" have different distributions of blame for most people. Why is that?


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[User Picture]From: pickwick
2006-02-27 02:20 pm (UTC)
The very important distinction is that recognizing how a woman is dressed, could inspire a DEVIANT PORTION of the population to think that her attire was invitation for sexual aggression.

That is quite different than recognizing how a woman is dressed could inspire an attack, period.


I suspect you're including me in the people who think that, but I didn't ever say "inspire an attack", I said "makes it more likely that an attack will happen", *because* it could inspire a deviant portion, etc, etc. In other words, I agree with you. Me leaving my house doesn't mean I deserve to be run over by a drunk driver, but it does mean that it's more likely to happen than if I stay in bed. So, sorry if we got cross wires - there is no "deserve", ever, merely statistical possibilities :)
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[User Picture]From: mizdandylynn
2006-02-27 02:04 pm (UTC)
You won't find an argument here. I think everyone should be responsible. If a woman goes to a party dressed in next to nothing.. does not drink responsibly.. then she is on the Darwin list as well as the man in your hypothetical question. When you do something patently stupid...
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[User Picture]From: finding_helena
2006-02-27 02:05 pm (UTC)
The trouble is that even though a lot of feminists would agree with you, they/we are worried that if we give the other side an inch, they'd take a mile. If we say "Yes, the woman bears some responsibility for her safety, but not all", then it's bound to get twisted around into "Dirty slut had it coming". If the gang members in your example ever stand trial, nobody will ever argue for less of a consequence for them because of the victim's lack of common sense in courting danger. But there are plenty of people who will make that argument about rape. And until females aren't generally viewed as second-class rapeable citizens, this will continue to happen. I think that if "It is never the victim's fault" is what is necessary to get people to take women seriously, then it should be employed. (And given the distaste of modern America for things that don't resemble sound bites, I think that "She made a mistake, but doesn't deserve to be raped" is probably still too complex for their itty-bitty brains.)
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[User Picture]From: theferrett
2006-02-27 02:22 pm (UTC)
The trouble is that even though a lot of feminists would agree with you, they/we are worried that if we give the other side an inch, they'd take a mile.

The problem is that it completely turns off those who would agree with you if you weren't holding so firm a line. Yeah, some people will misinterpret what you say, but they're going to do that no matter what... And by polarizing the issue, you completely remove a middle ground where you can meet people.

Sensibility is not a crime.
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[User Picture]From: zayja
2006-02-27 02:15 pm (UTC)
I wanted to add some more information to the discussion.

In 2001, 84% of victims reported the use of physical force only according to the 2003 National Crime Victimization Study.

According to the 1997 Sex Offenses and Offenders study, Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice, about four out of ten sexual assaults take place at the victim’s own home. Two in ten take place in the home of a friend, neighbor or relative. One in ten take place outside, away from home. And about one in 12 take place in a parking garage.

Approximately 70% of female rape victims and 74% of male rape victims know their assailant according to the 2003 National Crime Victimization Survey.

Approximately 50% of female victims and 44% of male victims are raped by a friend or acquaintance; 30% of female victims and 26% of male victims by a stranger; 12% of female victims and 30% of male victims by an intimate; 8% of female victims and less than 1% of male victims by another relative; but in less than 1% of cases the relationship is unknown.

http://www.rainn.org/statistics/victims-of-sexual-assault.html

Given that a rapist is often someone the victim knows and occurs in a place they're familiar with, how often is the clothing of the victim a factor increasing their chance of rape, and how often is it other decisions (or none at all?
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[User Picture]From: theferrett
2006-02-27 02:33 pm (UTC)
Good point.
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[User Picture]From: nepthytis
2006-02-27 02:32 pm (UTC)
Hi there. I didn't answer the poll; I knew it was a trick question. I remember that one from sophomore ethics class. :D
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[User Picture]From: sisca_mainacier
2006-02-27 02:39 pm (UTC)
I tend to agree that a woman should use some modicum of common sense and if, failing to do so, she gets assaulted should bear some responsibility.

So yeah, there's no difference between a white guy walking through that part of town waving money around and getting assaulted and a woman dressing AND acting (that's an important part of it) like a slut getting assaulted. The point that this poll and most people miss is that while the woman may bear some responsibilty for what happened, just like the man, what happened is still wrong and illegal, just like the man. Don't you think that the cops would go out of their way to track down and prosecute, to the fullest extent of the law, the people that assaulted a rich white guy? If so why shouldn't they do the same thing to a rapist?

Whether the woman was "asking for it" or not a crime was still committed. No judge would ever let the people that assaulted the man off by saying he was asking for it, even though he was but how a woman was dressed or acting just before she was raped can allow the attacker to get off? That's the double standard.
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[User Picture]From: theferrett
2006-02-27 02:44 pm (UTC)
Gini's mood: "wearing the flame-proof undies"

If you get flamed while wearing such provocative undies, do you not bear some of the responsibility for the insult?
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-02-27 02:51 pm (UTC)
I take full responsibility for writing this entry and thereby donning the undies.
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[User Picture]From: forestfire
2006-02-27 02:46 pm (UTC)
I'm a jaded crim defense type, I haven't met many victims who were that sympathetic. Also, the perps in the gang example beat him near to death. That is ofcourse different from simple robberry. I fail to see the distinction between the woman and the man. Both are flaunting something that inspires intense passions, both sets of perps might have a lot of personal baggage they bring to the table. I simply evaluate the consequences based purely on their actions. In terms of the victims... well I guess I can be kinda harsh there all the time. My job is so bound up in criminal justice that I see victims as injured witnesses to brutallity and more often than not as participants in the event.
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