The Sexist

If Girls Never Went Outside, Sexual Assaults Wouldn’t Happen

Georgetown Girl points out this WJLA story from earlier this month on a recent sexual assault near the Georgetown University campus. The story is targeted at warning college-aged women to stay inside at night: "Keep in mind, the victim was walking around late at night by herself, and authorities are urging young people to be careful out there," the reporter says. Nevermind that women are far more likely to be sexually assaulted by someone they know—indoors, even!

  • http://www.themacinator.com themacinator

    love the views of the women in the tank tops and the focuses on the women walking away in short shorts or skirts. of course women shouldn't walk around at night, or in "revealing clothing!" it's always our fault, right?

    i'm going to stay inside forever. i'll be safe, i know i will.

  • Emily WK

    "There are no walls separating us from the rest of the city, and I think students forget that sometimes."

    Really. Because students never sexually assault other students? WTF?

  • Beth

    "It's scary, almost."

  • Jesus son

    In other news, guys, it's also bullshit that we hear so much about locking our doors at night. The vast majority of the violence a person will face in their life will come from people they know (ie. at the hands of a parent or spouse).

    So don't do that at all. Don't bother to take necessary precautions, because as an American you are entitled to a certain level of safety and comfort. And god forbid if we were to tell you do something as simple as lock your doors because we certainly wouldn't want to be perceived as blaming the victim, now would we?

    Instead of freaking out normal, everyday Americans we should focus more on catching criminals and educating ourselves about how capitalism as an economic system creates an emphasis on material wealth that leads to crime.

  • Katie

    @Jesus son...I want to say you're being sarcastic, but that last paragraph sounds good to me.

  • Mrs. D

    You're right, JS, it IS bullshit to focus on locking our doors at night, since the majority of burglaries happen in the afternoon when people are at work (http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius_04/offenses_reported/property_crime/burglary.html). Yet another scare tactic, really.

    But that's not the point. Locking your door doesn't really inhibit your freedom. If we told people that they had to stay home all the time because of the risk of burglary of their home the second they walk out the door, or have someone stay up all night to chase away any would-be home invaders, would that be considered reasonable and practical advice? Or would we demand that the police do more to punish the criminals, conduct more outreach to change the mindset of would-be criminals, and look for other reasonable solutions to the problem?

    Being advised not to leave your house at night, not to be alone, not to consume alcohol, to dress/not dress in certain ways, to act/not act in certain ways (which are considered totally reasonable for men)...those inhibit your freedom substantially, yet, despite calls for more police enforcement, greater outreach and education to would-be criminals, and other methods to reduce rape and other sexual crimes, we continue to blame the victim.

  • bellacoker

    @Jesus son: It is pretty much the same because the only person a lock is going to keep out is a person who is not very motivated to get in in the first place. If someone really *really* wants to get into your house then they will not be stopped by your deadbolt.

    Rape advice doesn't separate people who can be raped from people who magically cannot, it separates people our society give a shit about from people who our society says are fair game, and that line is not clearly defined black and white but a big wide gray stripe that falls on every lady.

  • Jesus son

    @Mrs. D

    You're right, but if you had the option between not locking your door and locking it, would you?

    To me, it's not about telling women what to wear or how to dress since rape (as far as I know) has nothing to do with sexuality and more to do with control. What I don't understand is why it's so goddamn wrong to tell women that, if they want to go out at night, they should try to do so as a group or carry some sort of protection with them? There are still bad people out there and they're not going to go away in the near future, so no one's blaming you just asking you to be precautions.

    The same thing goes for women at frat parties where alcohol is involved. No one says date rape is ever justified, but why is it wrong to advise women to have someone (preferably a female friend) to buddy up with and look out for them in case something bad were to happen? Again, no one is saying it's your fault that you got raped or mugged or murdered, but bad things and bad people exist and you should try to be as cautious as possible when you know a threat exists.

    There's dangerous and scary shit in the world and we might disagree on what's at the root of it, but the reality is it's not going to change overnight.

    @Katie

    The fact is it's easier for police to focus Free market capitalism sucks, but its polar opposite is even worse. The best you can do is mediate it.

  • noodlez

    SHE WAS APPROACHED AND ASSALTED FROM BEHIND, LATE AT NIGHT ON PROSPECT WHERE THE LIGHTING IS HORRIBLE, BY A GUY WITH A GUN AND THEY HAVE A DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF A GUY THAT HAPPENS TO LOOK LIKE HE IS BLACK.

    IM JUST SAYIN!!

  • Jesus son

    @Katie

    Sorry, got cut off.

    The fact is it’s easier for police to focus on telling people to take precautions than actually catch criminals. Most criminals get away with their crimes. Free market capitalism sucks, but its polar opposite is even worse. The best you can do is mediate it.

  • Jhamianiquia Jenkins

    Noodlez,

    I'll bet you 20 dollars that when they apprehend the rapist he won't even be black at all. I sense the infamous white woman's "Blame a Nigga" strategy at work here.

  • Mrs. D

    Right, JS, rape has to do with control. Keeping those uppity bitches from thinking that they can just walk down the street whenever they damn well please, wearing whatever the hell the like, doing whatever the hell they want. Beyond the obvious folley in arguing that it's reasonable to tell women that "it's in their own best interest to give into those who try to control them," sometimes you don't have control over these things. Sometimes you HAVE to leave the house at night, sometimes you DON'T have a friend around to watch your back, and, you know what, sometimes you just WANT to have a beer alone - maybe in a bar, maybe on your porch - or you WANT to wear a pair of shorts or a tank top because it's HOT outside.

    Yes, I lock my doors, at night, during the day, pretty much so any time my door will be out of my line of vision at any point. But so what? I can just unlock that door and walk right in or out of it. If I want my friends to be unhampered in entering my home, I can give them a set of keys so they, too, can just walk right in whenever they please. If I want to open my windows, I can install simple little locks that allow the window to open, but keep it from being opened far enough to break in, and take 10 seconds to engage and disengage. I've suffered no loss of freedom from my burglary prevention efforts. But I better not open the blinds, for fear some man who doesn't like the fact that I'm sitting on my sofa in shorts drinking a beer sees and decides to show me what making decisions about my own life is all about when I unlock that door, walk through it, and take my trash out unattended.

    You still haven't explained why, while burglary rashes are accompanied by recommendations to keep your doors and windows locked ALONG WITH increased enforcement, steepened penalties for perpetrators, and other efforts to stop the crime at its root source, the ongoing rash of rapes is blamed on women dressing, walking, drinking, and socializing with only lip service paid to stiffer penalties and sexual assault prevention education for men.

  • Kristina

    Actually, for what it's worth, rapists tend to go for more conservatively-dressed women. Women who are seen as confident, a.k.a. women who dress in revealing clothing, are less likely to be targets. Psychologically, it makes complete sense. If someone is going to rob a store, he or she will probably try the store with the least security. Likewise, if a sex offender wants to offend, he or she will likely choose someone who looks the least likely to fight back.

  • MuthaMitch

    To take a quote from Jessica Vaenti's book 'The Purity Myth': "Women don't get raped because they were drinking or took drugs. Women do not get raped because they weren't careful enough. Women get raped because someone raped them."

    Anything else is trying to find a loophole to excuse a heinous crime. And obviously, victim-blaming ISN'T stopping rape.

  • MuthaMitch

    *Valenti

  • Mrs. D

    Kristina, I think we're thinking along the same lines. It doesn't have to be shorts or intoxication that set a rapist off, it can be confidence or any number of other behaviors they either disagree with *OR* think give them a right to your body. The desired control over actions and/or person varies with the offender.

  • Kristina

    Mrs. D, yes absolutely. I actually agree with everything you said and was merely trying to add to it. It IS about control, and women confident with themselves and wearing revealing things are perceived as less controllable. We probably ought to encourage confidence and teach self defense (good on Georgetown for forwarding that idea!) rather than saying to stay indoors...

  • kza

    I don't think the people that say things like "don't go to unlit areas at night" are blaming the victim. I think they are either uneducated about sexual assault or stupid. If someone was robbing people around campus they would probably be giving out the same stock response. This article looked like it was blaming the victim though. Shouldn't colleges not give retarded advice? You would think an institute of higher learning would come off as inteligent...

  • Grace Jones

    The guy's ethnicity could be Latino or Middle Eastern.

  • kza

    Instead of telling girls to stay inside just in case they might get assaulted, why dont they tell guys to stay inside just in case they assualt someone?

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  • http://www.tanyapretorius.co.za fetsiboomsticks

    kza, a great point, once also made by Golda Meir, Prime Minister of Israel 1969-1974. It takes skill to not victimise the victim, and people need reminding. Thanks.
    http://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/meir-golda

  • http://tsarchitect.nsflanagan.net/ цarьchitect

    To me, it seems there are two problems with this kind of victim-blaming

    -One is giving reasonable advice at the wrong time, implicitly blaming the victim. It's good advice to say "Be alert when you're out alone late at night." This is simply a pragmatic way to deal with one of the many risk factors for crime.

    But you don't dispense this advice to someone in the ER as you take several bullets out of their chest - and you certainly don't do it with a tone of certainty. Like many people have said before, talking about what a victim did wrong implies that the victim not only made a mistake, but is specifically to blame.

    The sexism in this situation is pretty sublimated into the myth that "that can't happen to me, because I wouldn't do that," which is a rather comfortable thing to believe. That crime involves uncontrollable things like luck and someone else's volition is terrifying.

    -The second is where bullshit causation is used, i.e. "her tank top made her an enticing target," or whatever. Here's it's blatantly sexist. Articles always fixate on liquor-and-jazz kind of sins that call into question a woman's morality. It's like the victim is being punished for being a horrible unladylike barslut.

    Also, it's probably scarier to think about acquaintance rape than salacious violent rape, because, it could mean that you trusted the wrong man. Oops.

  • e

    seriously, kza. what i don't understand is all the emphasis out there on teaching women what to do to avoid being raped, but i'm not hearing much about teaching men that it's not okay to rape, and if you do rape, you will be severely punished for it. what i hear is, "what did you think would happen if you wore that low-cut top? don't you know men just become salivating dogs in heat at the sight of cleavage and simply cannot control themselves?" frankly, if i were a man i would be insulted by this logic.

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