Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

Safety Advice and what it means.

EVB as an organisation are not against safety advice. We've written previously about 'Stranger Danger' and the misleading message it gives, but we wanted to reflect on the safety messages given to adults and what these mean.

Safety messages are meant to be targeted at those undertaking risky behaviour - and with a quick 5 minute google, we found the list below:

Water safety;

Safety at work;

Fire safety;

Travelling/ Road safety;

Driving safely

If we assume safety messages are provided in order for us to live more safely, they are a good thing, right? We want to avoid accidents & injury, we want to take part in life as fully as we are able, and we want to be able to do this as safely as we can.
We've seen some discussions on social media discussing why we should be warning women about alcohol consumption, and the reason for this is because perpetrators specifically choose victims who are likely to be considered vulnerable - and alcohol makes you vulnerable. Perpetrators know it makes them less likely to get caught. However, telling women not to consume excessive alcohol (especially around men) as a safety mechanism has been debunked here, here & here.
The majority of incidents of sexual violence are perpetrated by men, against women. To take this message further, in order for women to be *truly* safe, they should avoid being around men. How realistic is that?  Unfortunately, abusers do not have a special marking that means we can avoid being in their presence. Living an ordinary life means you are going to come into contact with men, even if you do not have relationships with them. These men will be driving your taxi, investigating your symptoms as a medical professional, serving you alcohol in your local pub, being your father, brother, friend, carer, colleague or casual acquaintance.

The recent furore over women and alcohol should have men outraged. Men should be appalled that their fellow men put women at so much risk that they need to be warned about consuming alcohol in their vicinity. Because that's what the warning means. Warning women about alcohol consumption assumes that men are not to be trusted around an intoxicated and/or vulnerable woman.

Men - the safety messages are for YOU, even the ones directed at women. They are about you, and you should be heeding them. How does that make you feel? Where are your blog responses to this message? Where are your contributions? Why can't we hear you?

Men - stand up and be counted.

Men - be trustworthy around women - intoxicated or not.

Men - be the man who women are safe around.

Men - stand up, challenge other men & make your voice count.

Men - support the This is Not an Invitation to Rape Me campaign - and tell other men about it:

Until you do this, women will respond to safety messages by assuming you're unsafe.

We hope this encourages you to take action.

If you'd like to find out more about what men can do, spend 12 minutes of your time watching Tony Porter discussing the Collective Socialisation of Men.The women you come into contact with deserve it.

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2 thoughts on “Safety Advice and what it means.

  • David says:

    I would like to help in any way i can and make my voice heard online as well as in public but don’t know where to start other than intervening in public where i see something that i know is wrong. Any advice?

  • Alan Strafford says:

    I work closely with support workers in two women’s refuge premises in my town. They know & trust me to help them & the women & girls they support, I feel honoured & priveliged that they do. I was brought up to respect women as equals & am proud to call myself a feminist. When out socialising I have intervened many times when witnessing predatory males eyeing up vulnerable, drunken women either by warning them off or by ensuring security staff are made aware of the situation. It’s a sad indightment of society that women should feel unsafe in the company of men & threatened ny them. We aren’t all a threat by any means but unfortunately violent men hide amongst the good ones. I will continue to stand along side my sisters and fight violence & mysoginy.