Sarah Ditum on “Comparing Acquisitive Crime to Rape”

Link to "Comparing Acquisitive Crime to Rape"
Link to “Comparing Acquisitive Crime to Rape”

One of the most common misconceptions about sexual violence is that it can – and should – be treated as any non-violent crime, such as theft.

Surely, if it’s fair to tell people, “Lock your car doors if you want to protect your valuables”, it’s fair to tell a woman, “Don’t be female in public if you don’t want to be raped”…right?

In Sarah Ditum’s original article on the subject (from the Guardian), she wrote:

When [Nick] Ross compares rape to theft, he presents it as a crime of property, not a crime of violence. It’s an idea that belongs to the dark ages when women were permitted to own nothing apart from that abstract quality called “honour”. Now – oh, fortunate modern females! – we are understood to have to rights to all sorts of things, including the right to decide who we do or don’t want in our own orifices. And that’s a right we cannot forfeit. Whatever we’ve drunk, however we’re dressed and whoever we’ve kissed, a vagina is never a laptop.

The logic of victim blaming says that by being in a certain place, or wearing a certain thing, or consuming a certain substance, or being in a certain relationship, a woman has forfeited protections against violence. Placing responsibility with victims of sexual violence rather than perpetrators is an obvious and grotesque injustice to those who have been abused or attacked, but there’s also a secondary and more widespread effect that applies to all women: by laying out a set of “acceptable” and “unacceptable” behaviours, victim blaming tells women what they may and may not do, and that the punishment for crossing the line could well be rape.

But when campaigns such as EVB object to this grotesque logic, there’s a certain refrain that rises up in response, self-satisfied in the belief in its own commonsense: “But shouldn’t we tell women how to avoid becoming victims of crime?” it says. “Don’t we tell people to conceal their possessions to protect themselves from robbery? Isn’t advising women against wearing a short skirt just like advising people not to leave a laptop on display in a parked car?”

You yourself may even find this plausible, but it rests on a fundamental error about what rape is. Rape is not a property crime: it is a violent physical assault.

– See more at: http://everydayvictimblaming.com/submissions/comparing-acquisitive-crime-to-rape/#sthash.oioslvU

The logic of victim blaming says that by being in a certain place, or wearing a certain thing, or consuming a certain substance, or being in a certain relationship, a woman has forfeited protections against violence. Placing responsibility with victims of sexual violence rather than perpetrators is an obvious and grotesque injustice to those who have been abused or attacked, but there’s also a secondary and more widespread effect that applies to all women: by laying out a set of “acceptable” and “unacceptable” behaviours, victim blaming tells women what they may and may not do, and that the punishment for crossing the line could well be rape.

But when campaigns such as EVB object to this grotesque logic, there’s a certain refrain that rises up in response, self-satisfied in the belief in its own commonsense: “But shouldn’t we tell women how to avoid becoming victims of crime?” it says. “Don’t we tell people to conceal their possessions to protect themselves from robbery? Isn’t advising women against wearing a short skirt just like advising people not to leave a laptop on display in a parked car?”

You yourself may even find this plausible, but it rests on a fundamental error about what rape is. Rape is not a property crime: it is a violent physical assault.

– See more at: http://everydayvictimblaming.com/submissions/comparing-acquisitive-crime-to-rape/#sthash.oioslvUz.dpuf

The logic of victim blaming says that by being in a certain place, or wearing a certain thing, or consuming a certain substance, or being in a certain relationship, a woman has forfeited protections against violence. Placing responsibility with victims of sexual violence rather than perpetrators is an obvious and grotesque injustice to those who have been abused or attacked, but there’s also a secondary and more widespread effect that applies to all women: by laying out a set of “acceptable” and “unacceptable” behaviours, victim blaming tells women what they may and may not do, and that the punishment for crossing the line could well be rape.

But when campaigns such as EVB object to this grotesque logic, there’s a certain refrain that rises up in response, self-satisfied in the belief in its own commonsense: “But shouldn’t we tell women how to avoid becoming victims of crime?” it says. “Don’t we tell people to conceal their possessions to protect themselves from robbery? Isn’t advising women against wearing a short skirt just like advising people not to leave a laptop on display in a parked car?”

You yourself may even find this plausible, but it rests on a fundamental error about what rape is. Rape is not a property crime: it is a violent physical assault.

– See more at: http://everydayvictimblaming.com/submissions/comparing-acquisitive-crime-to-rape/#sthash.oioslvUz.dpuf

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