This post is going to be about rape. Nothing graphic, but if it’s a sensitive topic for you, you might want to consider another article.
Among terrible crimes, rape stands out, at least for some – it is the quintessential feminist nightmare. Maybe you’ve seen posters like this doing the rounds on Facebook:
This one above reads like a (facetious) 10-step instruction guide on how not rape, for any old man to be able to follow! The literal message being presented is, basically, “don’t rape”. I’m not going to divert my attention towards explaining how ineffectual it is to politely tell criminals not to commit crimes. Instead, let’s look at the actual purpose of the poster.
What do all 10 steps to ‘end rape’ have in common? Surely there might be something about not sending ambiguous sexual messages or choosing to put oneself in a situation whereby you can be taken advantage of? Nope. They are all things that the man (the potential rapist) must do. This is not an oversight. It fits perfectly with the helpless victim character that feminists believe women to be. (I’m going to ignore, as they do, the male victims of rape.)
Because feminists believe that women are helpless and unable to do anything to prevent rape, any suggestion of taking even small measures of personal safety is construed as blaming the victim. I have a few problems with this.
Firstly, there is nothing inherently wrong with blaming the victim-when the victim has, due to their own intentional actions, caused the state of affairs. If Bob decides to cut off his thumb, he has no-one else to blame but himself for the pain. Yet he is also the victim. There is no good reason to have a taboo against blaming the victim to some degree.
Secondly, nobody in their right mind blames a victim for circumstances beyond their control. We all make choices every day, some important, some not, and some better than others. The choices we make are, by definition, not beyond our control.
But most importantly, blame (and responsibility) is not black-and white. It isn’t either/or, and it isn’t absolute. When feminists harp on about victim-blaming, it is presented as if the victim was exclusively and fully responsible for their rape (nobody who is taken seriously holds that position.) Hence, if the victim is blamed, the rapist can’t be; “rape apologetics”.
Posters like these are not made to prevent rape. Their purpose is to reaffirm and justify the readers’ victim complex. That is the only thing it can do, because it is so deeply entrenched in the man-rapes-woman gender narrative. “Strange man jumps out of nowhere and rapes a woman.” Most rapes occur between people who know each other and happen at one of their homes. But don’t let facts get in the way of a good story.
We cannot ignore the fact that in other cases of rights vs. pragmatic responsibility, this line of reasoning is absurd. For example, while I’m on holiday, I’m not obligated to lock my house. It’s not my problem if someone wants to steal my stuff, it’s their problem! Right, but in the interest of actually keeping your stuff, you should. It’s called making practical decisions. Yes, they are ones you wouldn’t have to make if the world was ‘perfect’. But it isn’t.
“Don’t blame me for knowingly making it easier for a bad guy to victimise me. Blame the bad guy for doing the bad thing!” This is an unacceptable excuse for every other crime. Why would rape be an exception?
Hopefully, it is now even more obvious why this attitude is both harmful and vacuous.
Let me know what you think in the comments section, this was written up at 4/5 in the morning, so apologies if my writing got a bit sloppy.