There has been quite a few discussion on why telling someone to be safe, and avoid getting themselves in bad situation, is NOT victim blaming.
Sit down and listen.
This is still victim blaming. You are still perpetuating Rape Culture.
I have to make this distinction clear: there is a difference between sex and rape. There is a difference between having sex and being raped. Rapists are not sluts. A slut (by society’s general definition) is someone who has consensual sex frequently. When a rapist is raping someone, they are not having sex with their victim… They are torturing them. Rape is a human rights violation and it is defined as a form of torture by International Criminal Courts.
There is this myth that rapists have this uncontrollable sex urge and this is why they rape. If you believe this, re-read my previous paragraph. And I would urge you to go read about Groths study on Rapists (1979) and several others!
He interviewed 500 men convicted of rape and found that:
- 55% of them were “power rapists” meaning rape was a demonstration of their power over their victim and a way of showing their hyper-masculinity
- 40% were “anger rapists”, and their aim was to humiliate their victims and hurt them for revenge
- 5% were classified as “sadistic rapists”, these men were sexually aroused by dominance and violence, and they took pleasure from their victims pain.
Groths study showed that rapists tended not to be sexually aroused either before, during or after the rape. This is why there are several incidences where the rapists had to obtain an erection by masturbation or forcing their victims to sexually arouse them. There is no “uncontrollable urge.” Rapists are not losing any power of themselves, they are gaining it.
Yet, a lot of people think they are helping by telling people not to avoid “risky behavior”
I just have to show you how impractical this is.
- In the UK fewer than 17% of rape are committed by strangers. And only 13 percent take place in a public space. Half of all female murder victims world- wide are killed by a current or former partner. And most rape victims KNOW THEIR ATTACKER.
Yet in the UK 54.4% of assaults reported in the press were committed by strangers and always in public.
- In America 73% of sexual assaults are committed by a non-stranger. 38% of rapists are friends or acquaintances of the victims. 28% are intimate partners of the victims. 7% are relatives of the victims. 6 in 10 rapes occur in the home of the victim, or in the home of a friend or relative of the victim.
Tell me how I am supposed to avoid risky behaviour in this instance. The “judgement prevents rape” argument falters in reality, at least 73% of the time.
These people were not in any RISKY BEHAVIOUR. There was no “deviant” person hiding behind the bushes ready to pounce. Stop reinforcing the idea that rapists are hiding in parking garages or in the often-called-upon “dark alley.” the assumption that rape, on the whole, happens when someone leaves a bar with a stranger. These rapes do happen, and are still entirely problematic, but they are not the norm.
As the statistics show, most victims know their rapist, and most rapes occur in a home setting. Statistically, you are more likely to be raped by your boyfriend or husband than you are by a stranger. So should I avoid having a boyfriend or a husband as this is more likely to get me raped?
I agree that people do act in the interest of their own safety, regardless of gender. We could say, “Stay out of that dark alley!” but you probably already are for the most part. Any of the things that we could think of suggesting had nothing to do with rape at all, but instead with protecting general personal safety, which is something people of both genders do already for the most part.
The idea that if you dress in sexy attire, you are making yourself more at risk is complete and utter bullshit. People are raped in sexy, going out ensembles, but they are also raped in sweatpants, baggy tee shirts, burqas, and suits. Dress does not imply consent, and historically rapists do not appear to put much thought into what a victim is wearing in deciding if they should rape them or not.
I’ve even seen arguments of people suggesting that women and girls should avoid hanging out unsupervised in all-male groups, or hanging out one-on-one with male friends. PLEASE TRY NOT TO TRIP OVER THAT LOW BAR YOU HAVE SET FOR ALL MEN. This argument is incredibly insulting to men. It implies that men have no moral compass that would incite them to stop one friend from raping another, and that they are entirely out of control of their ability to monitor their own behavior.
The first thing we need to be able to do if we want to have honest, open discussion about rape is challenge the assumptions we have about where rape happens and who commits it.
And when discussing Rape Culture, just ask yourself: Who feels more comfortable with my assertions? The rapists or the Rape Victim/Survivor?