Remember that time you were watching daytime TV and a show came on about female violence (rape, spousal abuse, etc)? I do. I learned about self-defense, never to go out by myself at night, that I’m stupid to stay with my abusive husband, and to fear every man bigger than me that I encounter in the dark.
Remember that show focussed entirely on how men just shouldn’t rape and beat women, how disgusting that behaviour is, and what they must do to help themselves stop? Hmmm….
Why is it that the responsibility for safety lies on the victim of crimes of assault and battery? If blaming the victim is not ok, then holding them responsible for prevention as well should also not be ok. If a woman goes out at night and does get assaulted, is it her fault because she didn’t take the proper precautions? Of course not. Why then do television shows about these subjects focus mainly on what women need to do to fix the problem?
This situation doesn’t only apply to women. This can apply to any situation in which one person is taken advantage of by another. For example, when someone is defrauded, bullied, swindled, etc. The phone numbers for advice are geared towards the victims reaching out for help. The commercials are about “consumer awareness” and all the things we should be paying attention to. The shows are geared towards how we can “defend ourselves” from evildoers.
This is garbage.
These predators have taken our power away and have made us responsible for everything bad thing they do to us.
If we can’t focus on prevention from the perspective of helping the perpetrators improve themselves and seek help, then we will never stop these crimes from happening. If we continue offering up well-meaning (but utterly defeating) advice, then all we do is place even more responsibility on the victims of these crimes and instill guilt that they did not try hard enough (or were too careless) to prevent what happened to them.
I realize it’s much harder to reach people when they sometimes don’t want to be helped (i.e., the perpetrators), but does that mean we shouldn’t try? We need to stop placing guilt and responsibility on the victim’s shoulders. We need to stop giving advice to women that ultimately defeats their basic human freedoms (i.e., only go out of the house at certain times of day).
We need to help people and stop crimes before they happen by placing the responsibility where it belongs – squarely on the shoulders of the people who victimize others. Fear and a few self-defense courses are not going to help reach that goal. If we spend our wholes lives afraid, whether we put these people in jail or not, they will always have gotten the last laugh.