Feminists and Disarming the Victim and a Modest Proposal

I have just been flabbergasted at the feminist reaction against efforts to teach women to be more difficult targets for sexual predators (e.g. communicating the dangers of binge drinking, nail polish that detects date rape drugs, etc).  Nobody thinks that encouraging people to buy burglar alarms or lock their doors is somehow shifting blame for robbery to the victim.  But that is exactly the argument feminists are making vis a vis sexual assault on campus.  They argue that any effort to teach victims to be a tougher target is an insult to women and must be avoided.

This is just stupid.  So stupid that I wonder if there is an ulterior motive.  There is no way you ever are going to get rid of bad people doing bad things.  Our historic messaging on things like date rape may have been confused or insufficiently pointed, but we have always been clear on, say, murder and there is still plenty of that which goes on.  I almost wonder if feminists want women to continue to be victims so they can continue to be relevant and have influence.  It's a sick thought but what other explanation can there be for purposely disarming victims?

So I was jogging the other night through a university (Vanderbilt) and saw all those little blue light emergency phones that are so prevalent on campus.   In most cases, the ubiquity of those emergency phones is a result of the growing female population on campus and are there primarily to make women (and perhaps more importantly, their parents who write the checks) be safer feel more comfortable.  Women's groups were big supporters of these investments.  But why?  Isn't that inconsistent?  Shouldn't we consider investment in such emergency devices as wrong-headed attempts to avoid fixing the root cause, which is some inherent flaw in males?

If you say no, that it would be dumb to rip out the emergency phones, then why is it dumb to teach Freshman women some basic safety skills that may prevent them from being victims?   I have taken numerous campus tours with my kids and in almost every one they point out the blue light phones and in almost every case say, "I have never heard of these being used, but they are there."  I guarantee 30 minutes helping women understand how to avoid particularly risky situations would have a higher return than the phones.

I say this with some experience.  I was in a business for a while that required international travel and in which there was some history of executives getting attacked or kidnapped in foreign cities.  The company gave us a one-day risk-identification as well as beginner escape and evasion course.  It was some of the most useful training I have ever had.  And not for a single second did I think anyone was trying to blame me for street crime in foreign cities.


  1. Another_Brian:

    It's pretty much a slogan at this point, "Instead of teaching women to protect themselves, teach men to not rape." And every time I see it, I respond exactly as you have, "Instead of teaching people to protect their possessions, teach thieves to not steal." While I don't think it's a conscious decision on behalf of Feminism&reg, I think the willingness of so many to repeat this without thinking critically about it demonstrates that the outcomes they're seeking don't necessarily line up with the words they're speaking. As long as your goal is a victimless society, you'll always have constituents because you'll always have victims.

    It's the same sort of thought process that fuels the War on (Some) Drugs. When a certain drug becomes illegal and much more difficult to acquire, people find alternatives. So they make the alternatives illegal, and onward it goes, forever and ever, until some magic point in the future where people don't want to feel the effects of mind altering substances. Which anyone who's paying attention already recognizes is extremely improbable, but none the less the war continues. We have always been at war with marijuana; we have always been at peace with prozac.

  2. Matthew Slyfield:

    "So stupid that I wonder if there is an ulterior motive."

    "I almost wonder if feminists want women to continue to be victims so they can continue to be relevant and have influence."

    There is definitely an ulterior motive, but I disagree with what you think the ulterior motive is.

    A significant number of the hard core, inner circle of the feminist movement believe that all heterosexual sex is inherently rape, that consent for such sex is impossible even in the context of marriage. The real ulterior motive is that they want any male->female intimate contact to be considered proof or rape on the male's part regardless of the circumstances. Once you understand this, the difference in their view of the emergency phones vs rape avoidance devices/training is entirely consistent.

  3. Daublin:

    Regarding motives, it's a sufficient explanation that the people making these loud declarations are mainly engaging in culture wars, rather than trying to, say, actually help women.

    If you spend your days making loud proclamations about feminism, it means you have plenty of disposable income and plenty of free time. It also shows that you Care (TM).

  4. jimbeaux:

    I agree - they have an ulterior motive, just as they do in completely overstating the risks. The number that feminists (and President Obama and VP Biden) bandy about is this: one in five women will be sexually assaulted while on campus.

    Go to any campus crime statistics page and check the stats yourself. For the university where I live, over a four year period there should be nearly 12,000 rapes. How many rapes were reported in the past four years? 48. Of those, seven were dismissed outright. Only a handful resulted in a conviction of the accused rapist.

    But of course, if feminists were to start saying, "Rape on campus is a serious crime! 0.3% of women will be sexually assaulted while in college!" - how much press would that get, how much funding, and how much blame would men receive for being such heinous creatures?

  5. mogden:

    The statistics include women who had sex while under the influence of alcohol, so that number is both absurdly misleading and wildly understated.

  6. HCE:

    curious about the math. 12,000 rapes over a four year period would represent 60,000 women that go through the school in that period. where do you go to school? I wish I went there. maybe not, I wouldn't get much studying done.

    While I tend to agree that the 1 in 5 seems high with the crime stats available, you must consider the unreported (at least unreported to police/school) assaults. Either by self blaming, fear, denial, etc. many incidents go unreported. additionally, unless a formal prosecution goes forward, do the universities have a vested interest in compiling/reporting suspected or not prosecuted (either by university kanagroo court or real court matters not) assaults? Would daddy drop off his little girl at school X that reports 900 suspected assaults a year? So while I believe that 1 in 5 highly suspect, I certainly wouldn't proclaim that since only (insert your number here) cases were convicted in court, therefore only that many women were assaulted...is equally suspect as well.

  7. Shane:

    These are the same people that think that "the pill" should not be made OTC.

  8. Another_Brian:

    They get around this by saying "sexual assault" which is more than just rape. Depending on who you're talking to, looking at someone in a way that makes them uncomfortable is considered sexual assault.

  9. Joe:

    I know! If feminists really cared about women they’d tell
    the dumb sluts that if they had any self respect they’d stay indoors unless
    accompanied by a male chaperone. Obviously they also shouldn’t wear provocative
    clothing or drink. Having beer while wearing tight clothing is clearly
    consenting to sex. It’s really kind of silly to try and focus the conversation
    around men only having sex with women who really want to have sex with them.

  10. MNHawk:

    I knew there was an ulterior motive when Democrat women gave Bill Clinton a pass, from everything to unwanted groping up to and including credible rape accusations.

  11. Rick C:

    Of course--if it were, insurance companies would stop paying for it, and the Sandra Flukes of the world wouldn't get it for "free."

  12. mesocyclone:

    Of course they have an ulterior motive. Progressives live their lives seeking causes that they can get angry about. It defines their self worth. Feminist progressives are among the worst in that regard. Add to that their fundamental ideology that the government is responsible for all ills and should solve all problems, and you get the current insanity.

  13. Gil G:

    Certainly insurance companies believe in blaming the victim if they feel as though the victim gave an easement, even accidently, to make him more likely to be a victim. Not to mention it tends to be older Conservatives who say something along the lines of "I shouldn't have to lock up my house and car because everyone should respect others' personal property." I'm sure the police hear nothing but moans and groans when they say to do things that don't make you more of an ideal victim to potential perpetrators.

  14. Joze:

    Guy gets too drunk at a party and they draw on his face with a sharpie. Girl get's too drunk at a party and they strip her naked, drag her all over town and molest the hell out of her (Steubenville). In both cases there are a lot of people that think the assailants didn't really do anything that bad. You really think the problem here is that women should drink less? The change you want to make in the world is that Women change what they do?

    It's obvious that women need to be careful so that men don't sexually assault them. Women know this. Focusing on that fact changes nothing and improves the world not at all.
    It's also obvious that this is a tragedy.

  15. marque2:

    Hmm - isn't that a straw man. How often do women who get drunk at parties have even one article of clothe ripped off? Its is pretty rare indeed, but when my daughters go to college I will warn them not to get rip roaring drunk.

    By the way, your straw man, though rare happens to men as well. Men have been raped at parties when drunk - and didn't just have the face painted. I think cases of male rape are much less reported then the claimObama makes for women.

  16. marque2:

    It also includes "unwanted touching" which could even be a handshake. I firmly believe many of the women who take those surveys aren't even aware of the sexual assault until they read the overly permissive definition.

  17. marque2:

    Actually the rules are good for both men and women. Have a few drinks - but don't get wildly drunk. Don't look vulnerable is unfamiliar situations. Don't hang out in strange allies in the middle of the night behind the bars ... While men won't get raped quite as often in these situations, they are likely to get beaten up and robbed.

    Don't see how this is a gender thing except to try to perpetuate feminist negative stereotypes of women.

  18. Rkeva:

    "They argue that any effort to teach victims to be a tougher target is an insult to women and must be avoided." One idea is the avoidance of liability. If an institution provides instruction on the avoidance of high risk situations then the implication is that such high risk areas exist. In a lawsuit it would be argued that reasonable steps should have been taken to remove the high risk area and self-protection instructions do not address its removal. Basically, don't talk about the elephant in the room or you'll be responsible for it.

  19. Ann_In_Illinois:

    This is especially true when protesting the nail polish that identifies date rape drugs. Anyone that tries to give a woman (or a man) such a drug deserves to be caught and prosecuted, in my opinion, and if there were some highly publicized convictions thanks to this nail polish, then people might be deterred from trying it. Who could be against that, other than the attempted rapists themselves?

  20. Ann_In_Illinois:

    I didn't think that my opinion of women's studies could go any lower, but then I heard about their reaction to the possibility of Ayaan Hirsi Ali speaking on campus, first at Brandeis and more recently at Yale. What feminist would want to block this woman from speaking?

  21. joe:

    Most rapes aren’t committed with violence in back alleys.
    Most are committed by people within the victim’s social circle. It’s not “Don’t
    pass out in dark alleys. It’s Don’t get drunk and let your ‘friend’ john share
    a cab / walk you home.”

  22. Jimbeux:

    I live near the University of Georgia, with approximately 15,000 women students each year (http://www.collegedata.com/cs/data/college/college_pg01_tmpl.jhtml?schoolId=975). And while I understand that there are very likely unreported sexual assaults, using the available statistics that only 40% +/- of rapes are reported, there were approximately 100 rapes in the past four years at UGA. That makes the one in five claim of 12,000 assaults patently absurd. Again, based on the stats, less than 0.4% of female UGA students will be raped - a far cry from the claim of 20%. That number is still atrocious, and of course I too find rape to be a heinous crime, but politicians and feminists are not doing themselves a favor by fictionalizing the problem.

  23. ben:

    "If you say no, that it would be dumb to rip out the emergency phones,
    then why is it dumb to teach Freshman women some basic safety skills
    that may prevent them from being victims?"

    Because the phones are a credible and public symbol of the feminist movement's political influence. Spontaneous arrangement of classes are not, and if anything amount to competition for the feminists' solution set, and so it will be resisted for reasons that appear necessarily absurd, since the true reason, unrelated to womens' welfare, cannot be revealed.

  24. Natalie Ryan:

    Women are not objects, or possessions. We are people with feelings and ideas just like you :) While everyone should know ways that will reduce the risk of rape, no one should ever be told that they "should have done this", or that "they were asking for it". There is an administrator at my school who was talking about how she could have prevented a situation, and that is what the problem is. Society tends to make women blame themselves, when it is 100% not her fault. The victims blame themselves while many rapists don't even know that they raped someone.

  25. Natalie Ryan:

    It's quite easy to not get angry about something that you don't have to live through :)