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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?

Callani Wed 18-Dec-13 12:52:47

I think advice about how to help yourself can be useful, I think it is good for both men and women to be aware of where they are, not get too drunk, stay in contact with friends etc because there are risks to such actions - for example men are more likely to suffer GBH, and there's also the risk of being robbed or generally getting into other trouble.

However other advice such as "well just don't wear short skirts" is pre-emptive victim blaming, as it assumes that the rape is caused by the skirt rather than by the intent of the rapist.

As for signs that say "remove valuables from car, lock windows" etc, I'd say they're pretty different as you can remove your iPod from your car, but its a bit trickier to remove your vagina!

And as PPs have said, there's a massive difference talking about people and objects. When a nutter killed my BF's dog, she was informed that although he would be done for animal cruelty, it was actually classed as "destruction of property" and not animal murder because animals are apparently belongings. People who equate rape to theft, in my mind, are classing women as objects in a similar way.

Golddigger Wed 18-Dec-13 10:08:52

People can help themselves up to a point, [sometimes a big point as in leaving valuables in a car], not to be a victim.

That is not the same as victim blaming.

Re "isnt proper theft/you were asking to have it stolen" not being said to victims of theft, i have heard both, from people who left belongings (a pram in one case, a bike in another) in their gardens. Both said no point contacting police as there would be no likely prosecution anyway, and felt they would be made to feel it was their own fault for not following advice. Sounds pretty similar to me.

The trouble with any advice though, is the fault of people who victim blame if the advice is not followed, not the fault of the people trying to prevent the problems. You don't know which camp people (the police and general public) will fall into though, and the fear that they may blame you affects your decision, and you don't make a fuss just in case

That looks like a big long jumble of words to me, hope you can make sense of it.... fblush

Golddigger Wed 18-Dec-13 09:26:59

Insurance companies and the police are "victims" in the leave your valuables in the car scenario. And they would like to reduce the risk and cost.
Particularly the police, who dont have a chance to get their money and time and resources back. Hence the campaign.

I presume that if all people leave valuables in the car, and then dont claim on insurance, and dont report to the police, then no one would bother to run a campaign. There wouldnt be any need.

Fleta Wed 18-Dec-13 09:20:30

When we went away to university we had a "be careful of yourself talk". It was a mixed gender talk.

We were all given advice such as "always carry an emergency £10 hidden in your purse/wallet so you can get home", "don't go off by yourself if you're drunk" and the basic away from home advice such as "lock your door when you're out", "don't leave heated beauty products on when you go out".

Then the girl who was doing it (who was our "dorm mother" so 21) said "now I'm going to give you some gender specific advice: - GIRLS - if someone makes you uncomfortable do NOT go anywhere alone with them. BOYS - if you aren't sure whether a girl has said "yes" better assume she means "no""

I always thought that was really sensible.

Advice that prevents a crime isn't victim blaming - it is reduction of risk. If I go out and lock up and get broken into, my insurance will pay out. If I go out and leave my door wide open and get burgled, the insurance won't pay out. It isn't victim blaming to suggest people take responsibility and minimise risk in any one situation

LeBFG Wed 18-Dec-13 09:16:34

I've read the age statistic multiple times, but here is a link. As for alcohol/drugs, here is one link. It's hardly surprising that our judgements like reaction to red flags in behaviour, whether to go into a man's flat alone and so on are affected by alcohol. It's not surprising that rapists choose women who are incapacitated and vulnerable (young, away from close friends, unable to fight back meaningfully/shout out etc).

LeBFG Wed 18-Dec-13 09:01:23

FFS - NO ONE on this thread is remotely saying it is the fault of the drunk woman she got raped!!!

Lovecat Wed 18-Dec-13 08:26:02

Gosh, I never realised we "feminists" (that sneaky, homogeneous group of wimmin all hellbent on destroying society as we know it) had such power that 'we' can suppress actual research. Who'da thought it? confused

There have been quite a few insulting and outright silly comments about feminists on this thread and what 'they' believe. Feminism is a broad church. However, one thing that most of "us" seem to agree on is that rape is the fault of rapists, not the 'fault' of us being women - after all, short of a sex-change/staying locked in a panic room all our lives, there isn't much we can do about being women.

I might draw people's attention to the Mumsnet 'We Believe You' campaign, and also the many threads about rape myths. Rape myths are damaging because they inculcate the belief that "If I don't do xyz and I do do abc, then it won't happen to me" - unfortunately, as the 1 in 10 stranger rape figure shows, most rapes are committed by someone known to the victim, generally in their own homes, so staying sober/modestly dressed/home after dark is hardly a guarantee of safety.

It's never a good idea to be incapacitatingly drunk because, as someone said upthread, you could get run over/fall over and hurt yourself/choke on your vomit/any number of harmful things could happen. It doesn't mean you are to blame for getting raped. That takes the active action of another party.

I do, however, think that having stuff stolen from your car IS the fault of the thief.

Golddigger Wed 18-Dec-13 08:06:56

Dont leave valuables in your car.

If you do, you increase the likelihood of them being stolen. In that particular case, you increase the likelihood from a starting point of 0.

CailinDana Wed 18-Dec-13 07:58:57

I'd be really interested to see that research LeBFG, can you link to it?

LeBFG Wed 18-Dec-13 07:27:05

Until rapists actually explain their thinking there is no way to tell in what circumstances being drunk or sober does or does not prevent rape.

Research like this is suppressed by some feminists because they don't like the results.

Rape occurs much more frequently in the young and vulnerable. It is highly associated with drugs/alcohol. We don't hear this message.

So saying to women that they shouldn't get drunk in order to prevent rape is pointless because there's no evidence for that.

1000's of women get drunk every evening without getting raped. However, you can reduce your personal risk by getting paralytic with good friends who you know will look after you.

The only thing such "advice" does is make women feel afraid of something that is unlikely to happen and to make those few unlucky ones that do happen to be raped and were drunk at the time feel responsible for what happened because they didn't take the "advice" That is ONE unfortunate result but is not the ONLY result.

TheBigJessie Wed 18-Dec-13 01:15:30

I think you're equivocating two very different messages.

If I leave a wallet somewhere visible, no-one will tell me "it isn't proper theft and you were asking for it" or "it's not fair to report it to the police, when you tempted that thief into stealing". With crimes against property, the general public is able to distinguish between crime prevention and moral blame. They are able to recognise that a car thief only knew a door door was unlocked because he tried it, and he'd already decided to steal a car that night.

With rape, advice on making yourself seem a harder target (so that the rapist picks another woman to rape) is bound up with ideas that the victim made the rapist do it. I've even seen incidents with particularly naive UNDER-AGE girls raped by previously convicted sex offenders referred to as "it's a tragedy but it's a victimless crime" which encapsulates this idea that if you didn't reduce your risk of rape as much as possible you aren't a victim of crime.

garlicbaubles Tue 17-Dec-13 23:58:04

Yes, I know. It also includes muggers and people looking for a fight.

bumbleymummy Tue 17-Dec-13 22:45:43

garlic baubles " It may make you walk into an oncoming lorry, fall down steps, or be a target for opportunistic criminals. That could include rapists.

bumbleymummy Tue 17-Dec-13 22:44:12

Autumsn "My assertion is that: "Preventative measures that are aimed at, and restrict only women (in this case), to the detriment of their basic freedoms as a person (such as where they can go, when they can go, and what they should wear), are not reasonable"

But if you're talking about women getting raped then of course you are going to aim advice about reducing risk at them. I'm not saying that you should tell them where they can and can't go and certainly not what they should/shouldn't wear but advising certain precautions is not to curb their freedom - they just happen to be more at risk of being raped.

HombreLobo Tue 17-Dec-13 21:54:48

I would be upset but thanks to my insurance I will get the window/lock changed

It actually would depend on the terms of your insurance. There are plenty of 'victim blaming' clauses within insurance polices, e.g. they won't always pay out if you have an alarm and it wasn't set when the house was unattended, or if you leave the car running on the driveway to defrost the windscreen and it gets stolen

YoniMatopoeia Tue 17-Dec-13 21:54:36


TheGhostOfPortoPast Tue 17-Dec-13 21:37:08

I have a thought A LOT about this from the feminist pov. I have a daughter but no sons. Even if I had sons, I would give them all the same advice. Never go off alone with someone you don.t know. Never drink so much you don.t know what you are doing. Keep your personal property close to you at all times. Don't go off the beaten track alone/call a recognised taxi to get home.

CailinDana Tue 17-Dec-13 20:08:50

To get back to the original post, I see what you're saying rpitchfo. I agree with others that advice such as "don't leave valuables in your car" is not victim blaming because leaving valuables in your car is clearly linked in a totally uncomplicated way to those valuables having a high possibility of being stolen. Plus it isn't a great hassle for people to ensure that valuable things are hidden or put away. By contrast there is no evidence whatsoever that being drunk has any link with a greater possibility of being raped. The fact is, if valuables are in a car then they can get stolen. There is nothing to say that if you aren't drunk you won't get raped or if you are drunk you will. Some women who are raped are drunk, some are not. Until rapists actually explain their thinking there is no way to tell in what circumstances being drunk or sober does or does not prevent rape. So saying to women that they shouldn't get drunk in order to prevent rape is pointless because there's no evidence for that. The only thing such "advice" does is make women feel afraid of something that is unlikely to happen and to make those few unlucky ones that do happen to be raped and were drunk at the time feel responsible for what happened because they didn't take the "advice".

FortyDoorsToNowhere Tue 17-Dec-13 19:59:50

If someone broke into my car and stole a CD or some lose change, I would be upset but thanks to my insurance I will get the window/lock changed and a CD i could burn from my back up files. Same as anything in my house.

If I was to get raped, I was not to blame and I can't get that back.

Golddigger Tue 17-Dec-13 19:48:56

Massive apologies. They look to be USA figures.

Golddigger Tue 17-Dec-13 19:47:18

Oh I see. Not 1 in 10 of the population. 1 in 10 of rapes is stranger rape.

Interesting stats on here.

CailinDana Tue 17-Dec-13 19:29:47

Yes it's 1 in 10 reported rapes. For many reasons stranger rape is far more likely to be reported than any other type. But even if 1 in 10 of every rape ever was stranger rape that would still mean 9 in 10 are not. So why focus on stranger rape when it is far far far less likely to happen?

AutumnFire Tue 17-Dec-13 19:26:16

I don't think anything women do about themselves is going to reduce the number of rapists, nor the number of times they seek to satiate their desire to dominate/humiliate.

As an individual, yes you can look at ways of reducing your individual risk of any person-on-person crime, whether you are a man or a woman. But this won't reduce the number of victims, just possibly shift the targets around a bit.

As people, as a society, if we want to reduce rape itself, we should be looking at how to prevent/reduce/manage the number of perpetrators.

TheGhostOfPortoPast Tue 17-Dec-13 19:20:20

1 in ten of rapes - not women!

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