Feb. 13th, 2012

jadedmusings: (NCIS - Gibbs Headslap)
Jim C. Hines, author of The Stepsister Scheme, which I adored, made (yet another) excellent post about victim blaming and shaming entitled "Don't Be a Victim!"

I’m a pretty strong supporter of the idea of self-defense. I enrolled my daughter in karate years ago. (This is how I ended up taking it as well.) She eventually dropped out, but I hope she retained at least some of the basics: things like a willingness to be loud, fight back, and raise a fuss.


But I have a problem with … let’s call it a certain philosophy about self-defense, one best summed up by the phrase, “Don’t be a victim!” The assumption being that if you follow all of this training, then you’ll be safe … and as a direct corollary, if you’re assaulted, then it’s because you didn’t remember your training. I.e., it’s your own fault.

How often have we seen and heard that phrase? Don’t be a victim! Like it’s all about the victim’s choice. “Gosh, I’m bored and there’s nothing good on TV. Guess I’ll go get myself assaulted.” Why the hell do we so rarely see, “Don’t be a rapist!” or “Don’t be a batterer!”

He makes other excellent points and also mentions how, statistically speaking, you are far more likely to be assaulted by someone you know, someone you trust than you are by some complete stranger. It's not always so easy to raise a hand to someone you love, and I know from experience that sometimes, you're just so shocked that you freeze up and can't scream "NO!" and fight back.

The post was up for less than an hour before we get this "lovely" comment:

On another level, though, Mr. Miyagi says, "Best defense, not be there." A man or woman can do a lot to improve their safety through being aware of situations. Even in our small and pretty-safe town, there are places and times I avoid. Simple prudence isn't just for women, and isn't just about rape.

*headdesk, headdesk, headdesk*

As I told him, Jim's entire point with the post was that you can follow all the rules, stay in the "safe" areas, and live your life in a little bubble, but it ultimately will not guarantee that you won't be a victim. Women know the narrative "Don't be a victim!" all too well. Ask any woman who's planning to go out at night by herself what she thinks about. Ask any woman who's ever gone to a bar either alone or with friends what sorts of precautions she takes. You will get a list about as long as your arm of everything that's at the back of their minds. "Stay in a well-lit area. Walk with my keys between my fingers. Don't go to X place after Y time. Call a friend so they know where I am. Don't let my drink out of my sight/Better not drink at all in case someone either drugs me or I have too much and get taken advantage of." The trouble is that all these rules are supposed to protect us, but that's the big lie. Ultimately, "simple prudence" will only take us so far. Once an abuser/robber/attacker enters the picture, all bets are off, and more often than not that abuser/rapist/attacker is someone we know, someone we're supposed to trust to protect us from the stranger lurking in a dark alley.

A room full of women drinking an entire keg of beer and getting completely smashed will not rape themselves. The woman walking through a dark parking garage after getting off work won't mug herself, either. And the single mom barely scraping by who has to live in the "bad part" of town isn't going to randomly decide to attack herself one night for shits and giggles. Victims do not make themselves victims, the perpetrators of the crimes are the ones who create the victims.

In short, don't bring your paternalistic attitude into a post about victim blaming and sneer, "But I (a man) avoid being assaulted all the time because I know how to stay safe!" Fuck you and the horse you rode in on.
jadedmusings: (Ming Ming Sewious)
Another Valentine's is upon us with another party at school. We have made our Valentine's and attached candy.

And another year goes by that I resist the temptation to print up little informative pamphlets about Lupercalia. Ahem.


jadedmusings: (Default)
Wrathful and Unrepentant Jade

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