This headline on Forbes's website caught our attention: "Blaming Women for the Behavior of Others." Apparently mankind is divided into two kinds of people, women and "others." It's reminiscent of the Constitution's infamous Three-Fifths Clause, which refers to slaves as "other persons." Anyway, here's author Liza Donnelly's argument:Where rape culture hysteria activists stub their toe on this issue is in the apportionment of responsibility. Yes, the offender is 100% responsible for his/her actions in the commission of a crime. Yet that does not mean that the victim's actions did not contribute to a chain of events that led to the event. From the clothing one wears, to demeanor, to habits, to morals, to where one goes, to whom one hangs out with--the choices people make greatly affect what eventually happens to them. The cops who beat Rodney King were responsible for their over-the-top response to his bellicose and bizarre behavior...yet to say so doesn't absolve Mr. King of responsibility for his drug-fuelled actions which led to his getting beat down. The hood rats who pulled an innocent Reginald Denny from his truck and beat him within an inch of his life were responsible for their hate crime...yet to say so doesn't necessarily mean that a white Mr. Denny made the prudent choice in entering black South Central L.A. during a race riot.
We live in a society where some still blame women for others' inexcusable behavior, and it is supported in our institutions, media and advertising. It's time to foster respect and understanding, this is what feminism is about. And we need to do whatever it takes to end rape culture. An article in Ebony by Zerlina Maxwell lays out the problem: we need a paradigm shift in the way we look at rape in this country.The Maxwell article is titled "Stop Telling Women How to Not Get Raped." She writes:
Telling women that they can behave in a certain way to avoid rape creates a false sense of security and it isn't the most effective way to lower the [incidence of rape]. We need anti-rape campaigns that target young men and boys. Campaigns that teach them from a young age how to respect women, and ultimately themselves, and to never ever be rapists...Holding women and girls accountable for preventing sexual assault hasn't worked and so long as men commit the majority of rapes, men need to be at the heart of our tactics for preventing them. Let's stop teaching 'how to avoid being a victim' and instead, attack the culture that creates predators in the first place.The exhortation "to never ever be rapists" is irrefutable, but let's try applying this logic to a less emotive crime, say theft. The analogous position would be that we need to stop taking precautions against it--putting locks on our houses and cars, say, or carrying a concealed handgun or being careful not to leave personal property unattended--because that creates a "false sense of security" and implies that victims, not thieves, are to blame. Instead we need to teach people not to steal.
One problem with the argument is that it sets up a false choice between hortatory and precautionary measures. In fact, society does, in myriad ways, teach people not to commit crimes. But some people do anyway, either because they defy the message or because it doesn't get through.
And how in the world would it be helpful to stop taking precautions against becoming a victim of crime? If everyone decided to give up locks, wouldn't that make the prospect of becoming a thief more attractive to someone on the cusp of making that wrongful choice?
The same principle applies to rape, a crime which gets far more press and prosecutorial attention than a white victim of a hate crime. If a provocatively dressed woman swaggers into a bar, gets a buzz on, leaves with a sober fellow she just met that night only to complain of rape the next morning, well she had several opportunities to break the chain of events and elected to ignore them all. This despite the fact that said sober fellow was 100% responsible for sexually taking advantage of said woman. To claim otherwise simultaneously makes tyrants and children out of women, the latter hardly a feminist position to take.
Strange how feminist activists claim to advocate for a libertine agency for women, but when it comes time to take responsibility for the outcome of their libertine acts, that burden is laid on a male other.