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Grrr. Guardian article on rape in pubs and clubs.(62 Posts)
I was just reading this article and thinking, great, this sounds like a good idea. They're planning to target pubs and clubs where high levels of rape and sexual assault are reported, to shut them down. Great. Then I hit this line, which is one of their aims:
' A hard-hitting prevention campaign to target male behaviour and speak to women about reducing their vulnerability.'
Fuck the fuck off, will you?!
I think in many cases alcohol is to blame for rape or sexual assault in pubs and clubs. I don't mean that by wearing short skirts and showing cleavage that a woman is asking for it, that's bollocks. She should be able to ask for it as much as she likes and still retain the right to say no at any point, and suggestive clothing is neither here nor there. What I do mean is that alcohol blurs perceptions, and affects decision making, so a woman may make a bad decision that means she puts herself in a vulnerable position with a man, and that the man makes a bad decision that this means she is willing to be groped or have sex, when in fact, if both were in full possession of their faculties the situation would probably never arise because they would both have realised that the signs of willingness on the woman's or mans part weren't there. There are also the other sorts of rape where people are in pubs specifically to take advantage of the fact that both men and women are made vulnerable to attack by alcohol and there is less likelihood of reporting because they are drunk, or if the attack is reported, that the circumstances are so unclear because of the alcohol that prosecution is impossible.
Education for both men and women would go a long way towards reducing the former, but only prosecution will fix the predatory behaviour of the latter.
I think the message about vulnerability is common sense tbh, you wouldnt draw a large amount of money out of a cash machine alone in the dark with a strange person hanging around, you may get mugged. Not that the mugging is your fault, but you give the opportunity by this behaviour.
In the same way, age, mh issues and alcohol can all give the opportunity for someone to assault you sexually, male or female, and it's only sensible to take reasonable precautions against it. Such as not drinking yourself insensible, and staying with your mates, making sure you have a safe way to get home.
Why shut the clubs down? boggle it'll just happen somewhere else , plus how often are people actually raped in clubs? what like on the dancefloor
Surely its better to have staff members who will happily challenge predatory club go-ers ? at the time? like groping etc.
me and a friend once had to go out of a club *3 flights of stairs a 20 minute walk around the block and back into the toilets because some blokes wouldn't leave us alone (only 18) and were still waiting outside the loo's for us.
Maybe if more people intervened in those times like target 'low level' behaviour in every club.
roger I have been tipsy on rather a lot of occasions and I have never accidentally sexually assaulted anybody. Have you?
Please tell me how to take reasonable precautions against age and MH issues
I think this quote is worth repeating:
"What makes women vulnerable is that the authorities side with the rapist rather than the victim: victims are disbelieved, especially if they have been attacked before."
I think if it happens outside but is linked to the venue Then it can affect licensing conditions. I don't think it's immediate either - there are probably warnings and joint strategies to improve.
" I hide my money/new iphone when I'm in the street because I expect that any junkies around will come up and grab it. I lock my doors and keep windows closed to reduce the chance of someone breaking in, or at the very least we'll notice them breaking in and can get the baseball bats/call the police"
I read on mumsnet once a really good reason why it's rubbish to compare the violation of a person's body to having a phone stolen. I'll try to find it because it really explained why it's such a crass comparison to make.
"What I do mean is that alcohol blurs perceptions, and affects decision making, so a woman may make a bad decision that means she puts herself in a vulnerable position with a man, and that the man makes a bad decision that this means she is willing to be groped or have sex"
this is extremely offensive to men.
You think that men as a rule are so awful that they see a drunk woman who may be being friendly to them and they would think that's an invitation to grope them and that if they do it's not really their fault it's alcohol's fault? I don't know any men who would behave like that (as far as I know) and that's because I don't know any rapists.
can't find the exact quote I was looking for but this will do for now
"Comparing rape with theft makes my stomach turn. It suggests that a woman is a commodity who must be hidden so that people don't crave her too much. Men can quite happily walk around shirtless but women must cover up because rabid men can't possibly contain themselves?? What bollocks."
also: " but if I call the police because my TV is missing and I dont have an alarm system and I left my back door unlocked theyre not going to tell me that I secretly wanted my TV stolen or that it was all my fault. If the guy who stole it gets caught, the defence isnt going to put me on the stand and ask me 20 questions about how and why I left my back door open"
Fanjo was this the one?
That was the kind of thing Snatch, fab. thank you.
If I put my iPhone in my bag, someone meeting me might not know I have one.
They know I have a vagina, mouth and anus whatever I wear.
The other point about the crap-ness of the iphone analogy is that if I hide my iphone, a would be mugger doesn't know whether I've got one or just an old-fashioned brick, or indeed, none at all. But I am obviously a woman regardless of what I wear - I can't hide the fact that somewhere under my clothes I have a vagina. And it doesn't matter what the clothes are - women get raped in shapeless tracky bottoms and sweatshirts, twinsets and pearls, sensible business suits, etc. etc. as well as clubbing gear.
Sorry, maybe I should explain myself better. When I say that alcohol blurs perceptions, it makes them less likely to read te body language that we all exhibit all the time, so when I say bad decision, I mean that because of the alcohol, he may in fact not pick up that she isn't consenting, because he is too pissed to interpret things correctly. Hope this clears things up a bit, I was trying to differentiate between an assault resulting from both parties being too pissed to make good judgement calls about whether they want to have sex or not, and genuine predatory behaviour from either sex.
Roger I understand what you mean but the message should be "if you or the person you are with are too drunk to be sure of consent, then there is no consent." it should be as strong a message as "if you are drinking, don't drive"
But it's the gaining of consent that matters, not the witholding. And decent men, even when pissed, can tell the difference (and importantly, care about the difference) between a woman who's joining in enthusiastically (albeit drunkenly) and a woman who's lying, frozen and in distress. And I think rapists can tell the difference too, they just don't care.
RE locking your door reducing vulnerability to burglary being the same as staying sober protecting you from rape...
This is not the same. If you want an equivalent way of reducing your vulnerability to rape, then you would have to wear a locking chastity belt (which would also protect your anus), plus a locking mouth cover.
Is the consensus here that any advice given to women on avoiding sexual assault amounts to victim blaming and is therefore wrongful?
That doesn't seem right to me. I can absolutely accept that in a culture (i.e. our culture) of victim blaming and acceptance of aggressive male sexual behaviour much of the advice given to women is problematic and a way of failing to face up to male responsibility. But it does also seem appropriate to think in terms of there being some element of appropriate advice to women. And if (a big if, I know) the police are absolutely serious and committed in their targetting of male perpetrators, it seems acceptable and constructive for there also to be some carefully thought advice for women that avoids seeming to make them responsible for offences against them.
Oaty - are you making a distinction between sexual Assault and rape?
"it seems acceptable and constructive for there also to be some carefully thought advice for women that avoids seeming to make them responsible for offences against them."
what carefully sthought advice would YOU think is good? To specifically stop sexual assault?
Also - Oaty, why do you think it is just women who need advice on staying safe?
I am asking you because anyone who thinks women should take some responsibility for making themselves safe from assault should at least be able to list the ways in which they can, no?
I think women and men need advice on staying safe. I didn't say women needed more than men. For example, if there are drunk aggressive men in the streets intent on picking a fight, other men need advice on minimising their risk of being picked on.
An example of the kind of advice that isn't victim blaming and is acceptable? How about the advice not to leave your drink unattended in environments where it might be spiked? I don't think that offering that advice remotely suggests that spiking is acceptable and shouldn't be very aggressively pursued, and I don't think that advice suggests that a woman is to blame if her drink does get spiked. Whether or not it is being offered in an acceptable way depends entirely on the surrounding context, particularly the behaviour of the advice-giver. It is acceptable advice for the police to give only if they are conscientiously pursuing offenders and doing everything they can to make the environment safe for women, and to make all aspects of crime reporting and prosecution as positive and helpful for women as possible.
What I do mean is that alcohol blurs perceptions, and affects decision making, so a woman may make a bad decision that means she puts herself in a vulnerable position with a man, and that the man makes a bad decision that this means she is willing to be groped or have sex, when in fact, if both were in full possession of their faculties the situation would probably never arise because they would both have realised that the signs of willingness on the woman's or mans part weren't there.
Sorry, but being drunk doesn't excuse you from your culpibility when it comes to committing crimes. If you drink drive, you are responsible. If you mug someone when drunk, you are responsible. If you stab someone when drunk, you are responsible. When you sexually assault someone when drunk, you are still responsible. There is nothing magical about rape that excuses someone because they were drunk - it is still a crime.
Getting back to the OP - has anybody been in touch with the police group concerned with this project to explain to them just where they are going wrong?
Yes, namechange - there was a good result someone wrote a thread about, with the Leith police IIRC.
You can also do the slightly less faff-y thing of writing to your MP, obviously.
oaty - so why give advice on 'staying safe' at the same time as giving advice about 'not raping'? I think that's my issue. The two things could be separated - you could have campaigns about safety that weren't gendered, like those adverts about keeping valuables in your car out of sight. That would then not tangle up the issue with blaming women for getting raped.
I too was wondering how you could change your mental health or age to become less "vulnerable". I was also baffled by the idea that revoking someone's driving license would help prevent rape:
we dont want them out there committing sexual offences so if they are disqualified from driving this will help prevent rape.
Don't drink. Don't fall over. Don't be mentally ill. Don't get raped. And if you do, it was probably your fault. Same discourse, same culture that allowed Savile to do what he did.
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