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AIBU Victim blaming

(118 Posts)
rpitchfo Tue 17-Dec-13 13:10:27

Why is this concept only starting to catch on for rape and sexual assault.

We have two big big police campaigns running in my City at the moment that i'm taking issue with.

Don't leave valuables in your car.

Leave your lights on if your going out close to Xmas.

Why should i have to take these steps to protect my belongings? is it reasonable advice? or is this another form of victim blaming?

Aeroaddict Tue 17-Dec-13 13:27:26

I think the difference is that it is reasonable and easy to avoid leaving valuables in your car, or to leave a light on in your house. It is not reasonable to say a woman should not go out looking attractive. That is more like saying, do not have a nice car, or other nice possessions, as they might get stolen, which would again not be reasonable. I am not sure if that makes sense, but I know what I mean!

GinGinGin Tue 17-Dec-13 13:27:45

Ok, my apologies. I do agree with you a bit in regards to the theft - obviously no- one should take what isn't theirs, regardless of how easy it is to do. Unfortunately we don't live in an ideal world though.

DoesntLeftoverTurkeySoupDragOn Tue 17-Dec-13 13:28:19

I think there is big a difference between saying
a) You should do X to minimise risk and
b) If you'd done X, Y wouldn't have happened or You shouldn't have done Z

rpitchfo Tue 17-Dec-13 13:28:32

Lurcio i've tried to clarify this is not an analogy! I (think) its a comparative discussion. Based on the excellent awareness raising brought about re rape victim blaming

BarbarianMum Tue 17-Dec-13 13:30:58

I think the difference is this:

It is unreasonable to curtail the personal freedom of a competant adult under the guise of preventing harm from befalling them. So it's not reasonable to impose curfews, constrain dress (though I really don't think that makes any difference), place certain times or locations out of bounds for section of the population in order to protect them from assualt/rape. It is 'victim blaming' to say a person is at fault for an assualt cause they refuse to be restricted (and this is not just about women but also age, race etc).

On the other hand, my possessions do not reasonably require freedom. If I take £100 out of my bank and leave it on the table in the pub whist I nip to the loo and it's not there when I get back I am being stupid and don't require sympathy (although I am still technically the victim of a crime). If I park my car and leave the keys in - ditto.

There are grey areas, of course - how much effort do we reasonably need to make to stop ourselves being burgled? But it's not victim blaming to expect people to make some effort on their own behalf to avoid crimes such as theft.

rpitchfo Tue 17-Dec-13 13:32:24


Exactly, its the victim beware culture i take issue with.

Nancy66 Tue 17-Dec-13 13:32:48

You can go on holiday for a fortnight and leave your front door wide open if you want. It's just that people might rob you if you do, so it's up to you.

Suggesting people protect their property is fine and not the same as 'wear a short dress and you're asking for it.'

mrsminiverscharlady Tue 17-Dec-13 13:33:37

Actually I agree with you in many ways. When I started my current job I had to sit through a lecture on how to prevent getting your stuff stolen by other members of staff - put it in your locker, don't bring nice stuff to work. At one point he gave an example of a woman who'd brought uggs in and had them stolen. He asked the audience whose fault it was - I said loudly 'the thief's'. No, apparently it was the silly woman's fault for bringing them in. Too tempting. Why did he not use the opportunity to address potential thieves and tell them in no uncertain terms that stealing was unacceptable and if they had a problem they should get help.

While rape is obviously way more serious than having your uggs nicked, I do think as a society we're far to easy to place a lot of responsibility on victims than on the perpetrators. Maybe if we made it clear that victim blaming is unfair in all kinds of crime, rather than diluting the message it would actually strengthen the view that women should not be blamed for the behavior of their rapist.

rpitchfo Tue 17-Dec-13 13:34:15


Victim blaming isn't always as obvious as that though is it.

projectbabyweight Tue 17-Dec-13 13:34:21

That's a good point BarbarianMum, maybe we should encourage people to avoid being the victim of crime (or at least give advice on how to), up to the point of it curtailing their personal freedom, and stop there.

LurcioLovesFrankie Tue 17-Dec-13 13:35:07

rpitchfo - how do you suggest I disguise/hide the fact that I've got a vagina then? Because women get raped while wearing twinsets and pearls, while out jogging in tracky bottoms, while walking home from school in school uniform. And I have never seen a convincing set of statistics to suggest that a short skirt and heels puts me at higher risk (in a statistical sense) of being raped than women in any of these other groups.

rpitchfo Tue 17-Dec-13 13:37:04

Lurcio seeing as your comment is in no way related to anything i have said so far i won't be answering.

LurcioLovesFrankie Tue 17-Dec-13 13:38:10

Barbarianmummy has hit the nail on the head - all these "crime prevention" suggestions impinge on people's liberty to go about their daily business in a perfectly reasonable way.

(The worst one I ever saw was the advice, following the tragic murder of a woman who was sitting up the embankment above her broken-down car, to sit in your car on the hard shoulder - despite the fact that statistically you would then be several orders of magnitude more likely to be killed by your car being hit by another vehicle than you would by encountering a random axe murderer).

LurcioLovesFrankie Tue 17-Dec-13 13:40:02

But it is - "don't leave valuables in your car" only works because there's somewhere else you can put them. Don't you get it? No matter how I dress, where I go, whether I am stone cold sober or drunk, a rapist knows I have the sort of "valuables" he is interested in about my person, because in this case, it is my body - me - we're talking about.

rpitchfo Tue 17-Dec-13 13:42:34

I'm not talking about rape though - i'm talking about victim blaming/victim beware culture as a concept.

Barbarianmummy makes a good point though - not sure i agree completely - but the idea that it should only be linked to the idea of personal freedoms. That's quite interesting.

DeWe Tue 17-Dec-13 13:46:22

Why is that victim blaming?

Victim blaming would be notices saying "Don't come whining to the police if something valuable gets stolen from your car because you shouldn't have left it."
Nah... can't see that slogan catching on.

The ones that make me laugh are the ones that say "Leave NOTHING in your car". I always imagine seeing a little man carefully carrying his steering wheel and car seats away in order to leave nothing.

My parents do take it to slight extremes. Big security crook lock when they leave the car more than half an hour. They always lock their radio away in the glove pocket too. This radio was the original with the car (about 15-20 years old now) and does have a cassette player attachment. I asked them if they thought it had vintage value last year and got a hard stare. grin and the car doubles its value with a full tank of petrol

LurcioLovesFrankie Tue 17-Dec-13 13:48:05

rpitchfo - OK, bowing out now - your first sentence of your OP says "why is this concept only just beginning to catch on for rape and sexual assault", and now you say "I'm not talking about rape." You either want to have the first discussion, or you want to have the second, but you can't have both. Unless you're deliberately posting inflammatory shit then backtracking when people call you on it. I must admit it does come across to me as if you're just out to have an utterly self-contradictory ramble with a view to starting a bunfight.

rpitchfo Tue 17-Dec-13 13:50:38

Lurcio The only reason i have used rape to discuss victim blaming is because it's the only area i can think of that has successful raised awareness around the issue. Is that because it's the only area it is applicable to? I doubt it.

YouTheCat Tue 17-Dec-13 13:51:48

How is it victim blaming? If your house is prevented from being a target by leaving on a light (and therefore making a burglar doubtful as to whether the house is occupied) then that is a sensible thing to do.

Same as urging people of both sexes to keep themselves safe by knowing how they will get home is sensible advice. It's not saying do this or you will be raped.

Prevention is surely better than becoming a victim?

Nancy66 Tue 17-Dec-13 13:53:23

suggesting people keep their valuables out of reach is not victim blaming. It's a suggestion. A sensible one that people are free to ignore if they feel 'victimised'

mensachampion Tue 17-Dec-13 13:56:18

This is the whole danger of the whole kneejerk 'victim blaming' campaigns, you get people without the power of rational thought like OP here who can longer function as a sensible member of society because they believe they've been told (and maybe they have) that if something bad could happen that isn't their fault, they should act as if it isn't a possibility and take no sensible measures whatsoever to reduce the possibility of encountering unpleasant events.

Yes people should be told some actions (aka crimes) are unacceptable, and they are, there are many such campaigns, police visiting schools etc. However it doesn't work on everyone so it makes sense to advise people to take sensible precautionary measures, if they don't impact too much on their quality of life, in order to reduce the chance of crimes happening to them. What the crime is is irrelevant, if there was an obvious, easy, effective way of significantly reducing the probability of it happening to you without reducing your quality of life significantly and you didn't take it, that is stupid. That is a completely separate concept of the blame of commiting the crime on the perpetrator, and lack of precautionary measures taken by the victim does not reduce the blame of the perpetrator. Seems to me a lot of people are unable to distinguish between these two concepts and this leads them to getting irrationally enraged, but there you go.

NoComet Tue 17-Dec-13 13:59:05

Sensible precautions are sensible precautions!

And I'm sorry that includes, as the mother of two DDs, not getting stupidly drunk!

Getting drunk leaves you open to making stupid decisions.

Wether that's crossing the road at the wrong moment
Leaving an expensive phone on the bar.
Accepting a lift of a pissed mate
Or going home with a loser who rapes you.

He is a rapist, but you are still a fool.

And as he is a rapist he should go to jail for the requisite term. Your being drunk does not make him any less guilty. He still choose to rape.

Just as leaving you handbag on the front seat of a car or your bike unlocked doesn't make the thief any less of a thief!

I really wish feminists would get this straight!

I know it comes from the best of intentions because of the misogamist, victim blaming, excuse finding appalling behaviour of many judges, but for a million good reasons I want my DDs to understand getting pissed is not the same as wearing a short skirt!

yourusername123456789 Tue 17-Dec-13 14:00:24

Isn't it all about minimising risk? Obviously no one asks to be burgled/raped and no one should have it happen, but it's not very sensible to walk home drunk on your own in a dark area, just as it's not sensible to leave phones and ipads and your grandmother's pearls lying on your car seat.

It's not victim blaming it's just friendly advise. These things shouldn't happen, but they do, here are some tips to help you. simples.

WigWearer Tue 17-Dec-13 14:04:28

He is a rapist, but you are still a fool

Fucking hell. If your DD was raped, you would call her a fool?


And they wonder why rape is under-reported.

I never told my mum when I was sexually assaulted as a teenager. Probably because I knew she would consider it to be (at least partly) my fault.

My mum is a bear of very little brain.

mensachampion Tue 17-Dec-13 14:09:27

Here is one given definition of a fool:

"One who acts unwisely on a given occasion"

So WigWearer, your argument is basically that if an unwise decision results in a bad outcome, that decision is immediately disqualified from being counted as foolish?

This sort of "logic" is the same as "don't speak ill of the dead", so er... Jimmy Saville.. can't say a bad word about him then?

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