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My point [Feb. 27th, 2006|06:41 am]
[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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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)

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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