'walk like a victim, you will be a victim'(55 Posts)
I can't work out what I feel about this.
I took someone to task for saying this recently (in a nice way - I just pointed out that it might not make people who had been victims feel great to feel it was their 'fault' in some way - she, to give her her due, was very gracious about it.)
However, I did sort of know what she was getting at but I still objected to it.
Interested to hear other thoughts?
I think that an opportunist will strike someone who is more vulnerable than they are.
To think that anyone can walk in a way to hide their apparent 'weakness' is nonsense.
I am a small female,and however much I stride confidently along,wearing rugged clothing,I will not disguise that I will, in all probability, be no match for a large man if he were to attack me.
I refuse to remain a prisoner to daylight hours,male escorts and 'safe' areas though.
I imagine that in this culture of victim blaming it was that which made me at fault when I was attacked by a man jumping out of the bushes ( where he had been waiting) and grabbing me on a lonely country road.
I guess thinking about it, it all comes back to women not going out without an escort / owner?
Although that never actually helped anyone , to be frank.
Slowloris, interesting post - I agree, a lot is down to luck.
I think for individuals it makes sense to consider where to go, when, with whom, how to walk/look, give out a certain attitude etc - yes, even if just gives a feeling of control.
As a society or as public policy saying 'You should look/walk/dress like this in order to not get attacked' is wrong and victim-blamey <has a way with words>
Basil, you've said it. Unless we should all consider hiring body guards??
I have to say, I find it amazing that people have a seemingly endless supply of random humans who are prepared to accompany them on trips out of their house.
I don't have access to a pool of people I can ring up and say "hey, I need to pop down to Tesco for some milk, can you come round and escort me please?" I envy those who have.
But saying "victims have certain styles of walking" or similar statements is silly. There have been criticims of early victim selection studies anyway, and to be honest, if you want to avoid being mugged, the easiest way is to avoid population centres and comercial centres from 6pm to 1am-ish, especially on a Friday and Saturday night. However, there are lots of reasons to go to those places at those times.
I think people like to believe there are ways to avoid being victimised, things they can control. This is normal, as humans we have evolved to try and make patterns out of randomness and to believe "it won't happen to me, because..."
I don't think it's helpful to compare rape and mugging- 75% of muggings (roughly) happen to men, whereas most rapes happen to women. Most muggers won't know their victim at all. Most rapists will.
With regards to muggings, age is a factor, most victims are young, under 25, with 20-24 being most at risk, then 16-19. A 20-24 year old male isn't someone you neccessarily think of as being vulnerable and they probably don't "walk like victims". It might be oppourtunistic- they are more likely to be around when muggings occur.
According to Wilson (1984) most victims are selected on the grounds of the resistance they will put up to the mugger- so people who look wealthy, or look like they don't value money are chosen, as they will be more likely to hand over their cash more easily. Some muggers said they didn't chose women, as they were more likely to "get hysterical and scream".
You can't focus on one factor and say that was what made them the victim. Most people are probably just in the wrong place at the wrong time (and alone or in a small group).
Good idea, they obviously can't be trusted.
At the moment, sadly, it isn't even happening for many vulnerable people.
Totally agree Goblin. And yes, I inrended it to mean for both sexes.
'Surely it is up to society and police to look out for vulnerable people to a certain extent?'
When that becomes an expectation for everyone, that we all look out and care for everyone we come into contact with, then we will have Utopia.
'I have no issue with saying that walking confidently, with purpose, without earphones, not on your phone, makes you a less attractive target for an opportunist violent criminal (of any type, mugging, sexual, etc). '
I have a boy and a girl, I taught both of them that as I believe it to be true. However, if they are attacked, no blame or responsibility attaches to them, they were victimised because of a predator who targeted them. The fault lies entirely with the attacker.
Wasn't there some study in the US, where they showed prisoners two people walking on along a street. One had their head down, hunched, no eye contact, the other person had their head held up high, good posture, looking aware, and something like 95% of them chose the first subject that was hunched with their head down as the person they would attack/ mug.
But this is a study on people they don't know, that are walking along the street, no friends/ relatives.
Just found that quite interesting.
It's never the victims fault if they're attacked but certain vulnerabilities will make some people more likely to be attacked. There's no way for elderly/disabled/physically weak people to prevent attack by walking a different way and even Mike Tyson would be endangered by a gang attack, only removing offenders from the streets can make them safe for everybody.
There will never be a safe society where we can all live happily with free abandon until there is severe punishment for violent thugs and the vermin that produce and raise them that way. As long as the fashion is to indulge bad parenting and the consequent criminals rather than holding them to account, civilisation and genuine freedom are impossible. People should be free to walk the streets without being attacked and enjoy their homes without being attacked, whether they can or not depends on geography and demographics.
Not to mention that if you ask an acquaintance to walk with you, they may turn out to be your attacker.
It's also impractical.
Most people do not have the option of having other people around them when they do stuff.
eg most people in winter walk around by themselves after dark. That's inescapable. The idea that they should somehow be taking "extra precautions" is only going to be damaging to the minority of people who are unlucky enough to have something bad happen on their way home from work or the shops or wherever.
Not quite sure what to make of that idea.
Surely it is up to society and police to look out for vulnerable people to a certain extent? Thinking about young people (children), elderly people, people with more profound disabilities, people with mental health issues, and the whole gamut of vulnerable people. The idea that it is "up to the individual concerned" to "walk the walk" so as to reduce their risk of abuse just sounds wrong to me.
Extra people with you if you can.
Up to the individual concerned isnt it?
But you might take extra precautions, if that is the right turn of phrase?
Thing is, it implies that anyone over about 70, or disabled, or a child, or is quite short and small, or is un-armed, should never go out by themselves.
Because by definition, those people look more like victims to someone inclined to victimise other people.
You only have to think about it for about 20 seconds, to realise how unrealistic such ideas are.
My favourite top tips were in the same email
Studies have shown that men who rape never choose women with short hair
Carry an umbrella at all times to defend yourself
Cheers for that!
Those top ten tips are good.
I know some people get very aerated about them. And they accuse feminists of not having a sense of humour
I don't see myself as prey either which is why it makes me so angry when I see and hear and read all these things which are simply telling me that is what I am.
And I'm not having it. I never did.
I have been averagely lucky I think.
Just today a friend told me she was out with some work people she didn't know that well and one of the blokes was "randomly sexually assaulting women in the bar". So those women were unlucky. And that man needed to be pulled up on it, but so few people are prepared to do that which is part of the whole problem. This sort of behaviour should be deemed utterly unacceptable by society and that would stamp out a lot of the more casual assaults.
I see it the other way around: I don't see myself as prey, I am not anxious and yes, I have often been lucky (with the benefit of hindsight).
Public warnings have been awful though, I agree. I like the 'Don't rape' one though . It would work well with 'Don't stab' or any other violent crime too.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.