Ladies, don't go out alone at night

(59 Posts)
GotMyGoat Sat 19-Jan-13 20:04:43

There was an attempted rape in my town in the early hours of the morning, in a park. All terryfying and awful.

But I'm feeling REALLY uncomfortable about the local response, in the media and on local facebook sites the message is "Ladies, don't go out alone at night". Which in my mind is victim blaming, and makes me feel controlled and limited. I wouldn't mind if he message was "People, watch out". Dh understands i think, but is it unreasonable of me to push away all the menz warning me to stay safe indoors?

A local take back the night march in solidarity with the victim might not go amiss.

BigStickBIWI Sat 19-Jan-13 20:12:29

I am very conflicted on this issue. I agree, absolutely 100% that women should be free to go where they want and wear what they want. However, in a situation like this, where you don't know where the rapist was/what the circumstances were, I think a little more caution is probably not a bad idea.

GotMyGoat Sat 19-Jan-13 20:13:24

I have never heard of this - it sounds like a fantastic idea. Are there any towns it has been done in well before? We live in a reasonably safe town, mostly idiot teenager crimes. I don't want to have a curfew.

DameMargotFountain Sat 19-Jan-13 20:15:07

have you suggested the same poster/awareness campaign to catch the rapist?

or is that wrong, to ask people to be suspicious of a 'loved' one?

where abouts are you OP, i'd be happy to go on a 'reclaim the night' march if close enough

GotMyGoat Sat 19-Jan-13 20:17:04

Bigstick - I think I understand, logically it makes sense not to go out alone late at night, it's how we've all been bought up, but then I thought about how it's fine for my husband to walk through town at 3am after a night out (rare, btw!) he doesn't worry about getting raped, and No one else worries for him.

GotMyGoat Sat 19-Jan-13 20:21:42

DameMargot, i'm in Banbury, Oxfordshire. There's a description floating around - white male wearing a baseball cap, so not much hope there. I live very close to where it happened, its my local park.

BigStickBIWI Sat 19-Jan-13 20:30:06

... and if I had a daughter, I would certainly be counselling her to be careful, etc

GotMyGoat Sat 19-Jan-13 20:36:31

Bigstick - you should also be counselling your son too! This is my problem, can't we warn everyone that there is a dangerous rapist about? i'm not sure i've ever heard media warnings aimed only at men.

DameMargotFountain Sat 19-Jan-13 20:39:09

also agree with BIWI, but there should be 2 campaigns, running side by side

if it's anything like something that happened locally, there was lots of 'ladies, don't get in taxis alone, wear short skirts, go anywhere alone, there's a rapist on the loose' - i'm really loathe to say this, but i did start to feel sorry for the men - the police were virtually encouraging women to treat all men as suspicious until they'd caught the one they needed too.

scurryfunge Sat 19-Jan-13 20:46:52

Do you think the police have specific intelligence that this rapist is targeting a particular type of victim and it is not a generalisation that all women are potential victims due to their behaviour. It seems this rapist will rape regardless.

dublinrose37 Sat 19-Jan-13 20:58:14

It always comes back to "women, modify your behaviour".

I agree that no one, male or female should take risks but sometimes you have no choice. You sometimes have no option but to go where an attack has taken place if you live there or work there.

I work in an office close to a lonely canal walk where a girl was killed a few years back, I often work late and yeah I do find myself looking around and being wary but I can't let one random attack scare me. I can't always rely on someone to pick me up and I can't afford taxis. And I have to work.

Rather than focus on the few cases where something terrible has happend I prefer to remember that many women walk around on their own at night and nothing ever happens to them and that's all I can do.

BigStickBIWI Sat 19-Jan-13 21:01:43

Yes, you're very right re warning sons. I have two sons, one of whom is gay. I worry about both of them, but for very different reasons ...

dublinrose, you are absolutely right. It's just very difficult, as I'm sure you also know, when it's so close/specific to your own area. And I do absolutely hate the whole idea that women should be the ones to change their behaviour.

GotMyGoat Sat 19-Jan-13 21:04:21

It always comes back to "women, modify your behaviour".

This.

That's my problem.

dublinrose I don't envy your walk. I do avoid this park after 6pm, mostly because of the drinking teens who hang out there but there have been some dodgy goings on there in the past, it only takes me 5 more mins to walk round it though - if it took any longer I probably wouldn't change my route.

Have been looking at the take back the night website, a fantastic resource.

I wonder how many men will leave their baseball caps at home tomorrow?

GotMyGoat Sat 19-Jan-13 21:06:29

"It seems this rapist will rape regardless." How do we know he's a hetero rapist though? I think there's no need to target women with these warnings, I believe its counter productive. Warn everyone equally, warn everyone that it's safer to walk in company at night etc.

scurryfunge Sat 19-Jan-13 21:08:36

That's my point, a rapist will rape, regardless. Rape isn't to do with sexuality but about power and control. They will find their victim.

BadRoly Sat 19-Jan-13 21:08:41

I used to live in Banbury near Moorfields park and although I happily walk most places alone at night, I wouldn't go through the park. But neither would dh! I agree it shouldn't be down to women to modify their behaviour because of the actions of one man - but I would try to educate all my children (I have girls and boys) how to assess risk and act sensibly. In my experience, men are at more risk of attack (generally not sexually) at night due to muppets spoiling for a fight sad

GotMyGoat Sat 19-Jan-13 21:09:55

Sorry scurry, misread you smile

LapsusLinguae Sat 19-Jan-13 21:10:08

looks like Thames Valley police have form for this type of thing..

(link is to a Bristol based feminist's blog. I am sure there is something on there about the Bristol feminist group's complaints to the police after Joanna Yeates' murder but I can't find it at the moment)

GotMyGoat Sat 19-Jan-13 21:14:02

It's generally sound advice to avoid parks at night, isn't it? Sad that the world is that way. I'm not for one moment blaming the victim for this, she has every right to walk through the park without expecting to be raped. I know in London they lock some parks up at night, I'm thinking the park in question should go the same way.

LapsusLinguae Sat 19-Jan-13 21:15:13

OK found it - here it is

Here at Bristol Feminist Network, we believe that women's freedoms should not be curtailed by the actions of one or some men. Therefore we were disappointed that the initial police response to Joanna Yeates' murder was to warn women to be afraid of walking home alone in the dark, whilst the police search for the perpetrator.

We believe that this warning perpetuates the myth that women are somehow responsible for any attack that happens to them. But violent crime, sexual assault, even murder, are not natural hazards that women can somehow avoid if they follow a set of rules. The only person who is ever responsible for a violent crime is the perpetrator. Never the victim.

Women should not have to change their daily lives thanks to the actions of one or some men. Women should not have to feel afraid, or vulnerable. Women should not be made to feel responsible or ashamed for the violence committed against them.

We are pleased that the police have decided to amend their message to the public, encouraging women to carry on with their daily lives and not be afraid in their surroundings. We hope that they continue with this message.

GotMyGoat Sat 19-Jan-13 21:16:25

Lapsus - that is a fantastic link. Thank you, I can put that up in response to some of the comments I'm finding difficult.

I'm not sure how Banbury would respond to a take back the night march tbh, looking at that.

HoneyDragon Sat 19-Jan-13 21:17:14

I know the case you've referred to as I am near by, and I have been somewhat frustrated too by the "lock up your daughters" kind of posts that have popped up on FB.

BadRoly Sat 19-Jan-13 21:19:34

It is sad that parks are seen as somewhere to be avoided after dark but I guess they have always been seen as areas for unsavoury behaviour after hours (I sound like my mother).

And I agree that it doesn't place any blame on the victim, we (make and female) should be able to walk in any public place whenever we want whatever time of day or night.

dublinrose37 Sat 19-Jan-13 21:20:07

I can see why some women would walk through a park at night. I went to college with a girl who worked nights in a bar, she took a short cut home through a park. I thought she was mad but she always said she felt the short walk was safer than the longer walk she would have to take if she avoided it. She always said you met more men on the streets and that the park was usually totally empty.

I really hope the woman in your area GotMyGoat is okay and that they catch this guy soon.

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