The Lady Garden

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Monthly Archives: October 2013

Risky Business

Trigger warning for sexual violence

I was all set that last week’s post might conceivably be my last one, because: Reasons. And then Bob Jones gave me a reason for it not to be.

Bob Jones: Rape a risk for those who walk on wild side

 Writing in the Herald, she asked why shouldn’t women be able to walk safely through an unlit park at night? Grow up, girl. The answer is because you might be raped, or, alternatively, assaulted, robbed or murdered. It’s nothing to do with being women, the same danger faces men who in fact, rape excepted, are by far the greatest victims of unprovoked assaults.

That’s because they’re less risk averse, women more sensibly ensuring they don’t place themselves in harm’s way to the same extent.

As a piece of performance art, it’s brilliant. It has everything. Victim Blaming, apologia, BUT WHAT ABOUT TEH MENZ, made up statistics about how many men are rapists, fat shaming, and a good bit of “it’s always been like this, so we can’t change it”. All wrapped up in a nice stop-your-whining-you-gross-angry-feminists bow.

But as an opinion column in a major newspaper, it is a misogynist, ill-informed, hateful piece of shit. So…rather like it’s author.

I’d list all the ways he’s wrong, but there’s not a lot of point, he doesn’t care, and the Herald doesn’t care as long as it gets the clicks we’re all giving it. Let’s just check a few off for the sake of completeness though.

  • women =/= property
  • Walking through a dark park is not an invitation nor is the length of someone’s skirt or the size of their tits, or the fact they might be foreign.
  • No one is advocating abdicating common sense, but that DOESN’T’ MEAN RAPE IS OK, YOU GIANT DOUCHECANOE.
  • Also not OK? Advocating prison rape, as much as we might wish it.
  • And you know what? we SHOULD be able to walk through dark parks at night. So should men. We should be safe in our cities and crime should be as rare and as unacceptable as we can make it. And suggesting that by not walking in dark places means we can avoid rape is a) wrong and b) DUDE. WHY NOT TELL RAPISTS NOT TO RAPE INSTEAD OF ASKING US TO SOMEHOW PREVENT IT?
  • How about you start treating women with respect, instead of calling them silly?
  • A judge, spouting this stuff, no matter why he was saying it, should maybe consider the impact of his statement on the victims of this particular crime, and other sexual assaults, and how this kind of victim blaming might affect them. Or not, cos it’s not like our justice system already discourages victims of sexual violence (especially men, and other minorities) from coming forward.
  • And you know what? Rape might be as old as “mankind” (and what a genius insight that usage is), and it might be really difficult to stop. But it will be impossible while dinosaurs like you GIVE RAPISTS EXCUSES. (and while you are at it, dramatically underestimate the number of men who might be rapists, because apparently? Maths, along with empathy, kindness and reason, is not a thing you are good at, apparently.)

Lastly, I will point to something Emma said here when we last engaged with another white dude dinosaur “columnist” (come on down Martin van Beynen!). What you say about rape, you say to rape victims. You want to be that guy? Really?