WARNING: THIS POST DISCUSSES MALE SEXUAL VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN.
Mia Freedman’s at it again, blaming women for stuff and calling it feminism: This isn’t victim blaming. This is common sense:
Let’s say you have a daughter. Or a little sister. And let’s say there was something you could tell her that would dramatically reduce the likelihood of her being sexually assaulted during her lifetime.
Would you tell her?…
I’ll tell her that getting drunk when she goes out puts her at a greater risk of danger.
Look, I get it, I really do. Telling women that there are things they can do to prevent sexual assault seems like common sense, but it’s really not. I’m sure it’s well-intentioned advice, but it simply doesn’t stand up to logic: if women could prevent sexual assault, then we’d all prevent it and there’d be no sexual assault. It’s a no-brainer.
Telling women that if they don’t get drunk they’ll “dramatically reduce the likelihood” of being sexually assaulted is also telling them a massive lie: Women are at more risk in their own homes, from men they know, than they are from someone they meet while drunk.
We’ve been telling women for an awfully long time not to get themselves raped and yet, men are still raping them. Could it be – gasp! – that this ‘women take responsibility for your actions/don’t make yourself vulnerable’ message is utter bollocks?
Freedman’s article perpetuates pretty much all of the rape myths – that rapists are creepy dudes in dark alleys, that she was asking for it by drinking too much, that guys can’t control their urges and roam the streets looking for victims, that nice sober girls don’t get raped, that it’s not rape unless she tries to run away – and she would know this by now. I mean, it’s not like it hasn’t been pointed out to her before. By hundreds of people.
Let me be clear: sexual assault is never the fault of the victim… But teaching girls how to reduce their risk of sexual assault is not the same thing as victim blaming. It’s not. And we must stop confusing the two.
Now Mia, I know you’ve learned the term “victim blaming” but you haven’t learned what it means. It’s like the time I thought “reactionary” meant someone who reacted to things. Boy, was I embarrassed when I discovered it meant someone who opposes political/social progress. If we teach girls that they can reduce their risk of sexual assault by not getting drunk, and then they go out and get drunk and someone assaults them, then what? It means that if she didn’t get drunk then it wouldn’t have happened, right? That means she’s kinda responsible for what happened, right? Hello, victim blaming! You can’t possibly say in one breath that “sexual assault is never the fault of the victim” and then in the next breath suggest that something she did caused the assault. That seems pretty bloody obvious to me. Some might say it was common sense.
Will I also teach my sons about this connection between alcohol and sexual assault? Sure. I will teach them that binge drinking will obliterate their ability to make good decisions – about getting into cars, getting into fights and having sex.
Hopefully you will also talk to your sons about not being rapists, since 93 per cent of offenders are male. As Carina Kolodny writes, you need to have the “don’t rape” conversation with your sons “because so many parents have thought they didn’t need to and so many people have suffered because of it”.
Somehow, in some quarters, the right to get wasted has become a feminist issue and this troubles me greatly.
I haven’t seen any feminist argue that the “right to get wasted” is a feminist issue. Fighting myths that give rapists excuses, now that’s a feminist issue.
Freedman then mentions the study that was in Emily Yoffe’s piece that “almost 20 per cent of college women will become victims, overwhelmingly of a fellow classmate. More than 80 percent of campus sexual assaults involve alcohol”.
So, what you’re saying is that a large number of college guys are sexually assaulting their female classmates. And they think it’s ok to rape someone if she’s drunk. That shit is scary, but no no Mia, you should continue to use your privileged position in our society to suggest that it’s women who are the problem here.
This is not an issue of morality. If you want to have casual sex, go for it. Safely. Just make sure it’s your decision and one you’re still comfortable with the next day.
You know, I’m gonna give Freedman the benefit of the doubt here and believe that she’s not suggesting that rape is the same as sex you might regret.
Here’s what you are responsible for when you get drunk: your hangover; losing your phone; falling over and smashing your knee; spending too much money on booze. Here’s what you are not responsible for when you get drunk: someone else commiting a crime. To suggest you are responsible for that is just ridiculous. So I’m gonna repeat the point I made earlier: if women WERE actually able to prevent sexual assault, there’d be no sexual assault. Ever. There’s your fucking common sense, Mia.