Commercials like the one above are never viewed a “victim blaming”.
Burglary happens and we rarely attribute it to a “burglary culture”, thought it’s notable that a “culture” that leads people to feeling entitled to burglary is probably much more likely to exist on a wide scale than “rape culture”, but that’s not my point.
We don’t find it shocking or offensive for people to give seminars on preventing home invasions or car theft. Lists of ways to prevent burglary become part of the nightly news every Christmas, containing things like:
- Lock your doors and windows.
- Purchase a home security system.
- Don’t leave your curtains open.
- Don’t leave boxes from expensive items where a burglar can see them, it makes you a target.
- Install motion detector lights.
Etc. Etc. You get the picture.
We are encouraged to do as much as we can to make ourselves less of a target for burglaries and home invasion. We are given the necessary information to learn how to prevent these things from happening to us and it would be completely silly for us to refuse to lock our doors and windows and then complain about how “burglary culture” was the real problem and “we need to teach people to not steal.”
It’s not that I disagree necessarily. I think there is a culture of entitlement that makes some people think that they have the right to steal from others in order to support themselves. I think that is a genuine problem in our world and there probably does need to be something done about it.
However, that is not going to stop me from acting in such a way as to minimize the risk to my belongings, my family, and my home. I’m going to continue changing the bulbs in my motion sensitive lights, checking the backyard when my dog barks, and locking my doors and windows before I go to bed.
Because, even if I want to blame a rotten culture for burglary, that doesn’t change that burglary happens. We teach our kids that stealing is wrong, society generally teaches them the same thing, the law teaches them there is consequences for burglary…yet somehow it still occurs. Maybe if we take the necessary precautions we can prevent burglary from ever happening again. Make it too difficult for the burglar and they’ll eventually give up.
So why is it that, when discussing rape (a topic that isn’t entirely without comparison to burglary), it’s absolutely heinous when someone suggests that women learn how to protect themselves? Why is “teach men not to rape” and “rape culture wins again” the preferred comeback to someone says “there are ways in which you can minimize your risk of being raped, here they are” and discusses not taking drinks from strangers, not walking through a dark alley or street alone, or learning self defense.
We would find someone incredibly stupid if they got robbed blind because they refused to lock their doors. That doesn’t mean we wouldn’t hold the burglar responsible, they have done something terrible and deserve to pay for that crime. The fact that the house was unlocked didn’t give them the right to steal from it, end of story. However, the homeowner maximized his risk by refusing to listen to common sense ways to prevent that home invasion. That was foolish.
Do home invasions still happen even when you’ve done everything you can to prevent them? Yes, they do, but far less frequently and that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take those precautions.
The fact that a women doesn’t know self defense, walks home alone in the dark, or takes a drink she didn’t see prepared herself doesn’t make it her fault that she was raped. The rapists had no right to do what they did, no matter how foolishly a woman might act, end of story.
But same as the home invasion, it’s incredibly foolish to not realize that the woman in question maximized her risk by not taking precautions.
Does rape culture exist? Frankly, I don’t think so, but if it does then that’s even more reason to take those precautions and learn to protect yourself. Whether that means karate, pepper spray, a taser, or a gun.
That’s not rape culture winning, that’s just common sense.
Maybe, just maybe, if more and more women learn to take those precautions we could prevent rape. Forget “rape culture” for a second and let’s realize that preventing rape is what we want to do.
We teach that rape is wrong just as much as we teach that theft is wrong and maybe the fact that both these things are still happening does point to a cultural issue that we need to deal with, but that doesn’t mean that we get mad when others suggest that women should have the tools to defend themselves in the interim.