Thursday, December 3, 2009

Not "prevention-prevention"

Victim blaming, perpetuating rape myths, and camouflaging offender accountability are not tactics of prevention. They are rape culture.


Gender Across Boarders has a great response up (and actually found the flier out on campus) which you should read, here I have a few things to add.

"Don't get so drunk you don't know what you're doing" GAB identifies this as good general advice, but victim blaming in this context. I'll go a step further. Generally, people probably don't intend to get so drunk that they don't know what they're doing. Particularly on college campuses, students may not have much experience with drinking, and may not be quite in tune with their limits. If the goal is, in fact, to be oblivious, then perhaps we need to identify these people not as inviting rape, but in desperate need of support. Why are they using drinking as a coping mechanism? And to be really clear, drinking - regardless of amounts - does not invite rape. Targeting (mostly women) intoxication is rape.

"Don't accept a drink from someone you've just met...only leave your drink with someone you trust." denies both the original assertion of the card which is that alcohol is the #1 drug used to facilitate rape (so one doesn't need to slip anything in, just have you drink), and the fact that most sexual assaults are perpetrated by an acquaintance means that the someone you trust may be the someone trying to take advantage.

Rape happens on purpose, not as an unfortunate side effect of drinking. These lessons on the cards reinforce the message to victims that if they were drinking they are at fault for "inviting" or "being vulnerable" to rape.

We are vulnerable not because we are drunk, but because we are women in a society which allows and makes excuses rapists. Also, following these "SMART" tactics (which insinuate you're not if you're unable or ignored) don't prevent rape. Not raping people prevents rape. Holding rapists accountable prevents rape. Viewing and valuing women as more than sex objects prevents rape.There are all sorts of better lists out there for easy ways to prevent rape (like not raping someone), including one I came up with, which you can see here . (Update: Rebecca Whisnant *!! swoon* was kind enough to send along this list of helpful rape prevention tips.) (Update II: Twisty picked up on this and edited the helpful rape prevention tips and makes me chuckle!)

Victim blaming - especially in "prevention" messaging - helps rapists and hurts victims. 


Criss L. Cox said...

Seems like it should be so obvious... why isn't it??

Amanda said...

Best headline-as-response-to-an-asinine-comment-on-The-View ever.

Anonymous said...

nice post. thanks.

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