You're victim-blaming. You should leave your doors unlocked and just ask thieves not to be thieves.Slate's Emily Yoffe is taking it on the chin for an article warning college women about the dangers of heavy drinking, vis-a-vis sexual assault. Not that she didn't know what she was getting herself into:
But a misplaced fear of blaming the victim has made it somehow unacceptable to warn inexperienced young women that when they get wasted, they are putting themselves in potential peril.The Atlantic was quick to pile on, apparently looking to one-up the clickbait headline that Slate attached to Yoffe's article with one of their own: Slate Forgot That the One Common Factor in Rapes Are Rapists. And the article itself is just as strident:
Yoffe failed to realize that there's one thing that's more common than alcohol when it comes to rapes. That would be rapists. While alcohol plays a part in a number of rapes, I can assure you that in every case (both male and female) of rape, there is at least one rapist. And, well, Yoffe's column isn't titled "Rapists, stop raping women."But isn't the common factor in ALL crimes the fact that someone engages in criminal behavior? In the comments section of the Altantic article resides the snide comment that I opened this post with, which comes across as snide precisely because we would consider that to be absolutely moronic advice. I doubt that I could manage to convince any reputable online magazine to publish an article titled: "Thieves, Stop Stealing People's Stuff," that made the point that calling for things like deadbolts and burglar alarms was little more than a way to blame the target of thefts, rather than the perpetrators.
While I understand what's in play, the overall effect strikes me as an attempt to Newspeak misogyny and sexual violence out of existence. Declaring a broad range of topics to be "victim-blaming" and forbidding discussion of them is unlikely to get to the core of the issue. If a woman is raped, does anyone think that many people who are otherwise inclined to consider the perpetrator guilty would change their mind upon hearing that the woman as drinking beforehand? Treating victim-blaming tropes as if they were actually considered affirmative defenses, rather than after-the-fact rationalizations of a predetermined conclusion does everyone a disservice - and presumes that the rationalizations spread the conclusions, rather than the other way around. We have any number of reasons, some tied to the perpetrator(s) and others tied to the victim(s), for looking the other way when crimes occur, and the result is an uneven culture of impunity, that allows, if not encourages, predation under certain circumstances. What is now commonly termed "rape culture" is only one facet of this - previous manifestations have included what one could call "lynching culture," and perhaps even a "kidnapping and conversion culture" foisted upon Native Americans by Christian missionaries. These likely had both their warnings to potential victims and pushback against the idea that it was the job of the targets to take care, rather than the perpetrators to cease their behavior. While these things have been largely done away with, it was not that pushback that did them in - it was, instead, the fact that the greater society stopped the self-righteous rationalizations that allowed them to thrive.
Viewed from that angle, perhaps the message shouldn't be to rapists to stop the assaults (which seems that it would fall on deaf ears anyway) but to the rest of us to stop enabling them and/or looking the other way - and then blaming the victims to justify that behavior.