Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

The problem with scolding women who drink.

Since men decided to rape women world-wide by the hundreds and thousands the think piece writers of this world have decided that there was no way to stop them. They decided that each rapist is always some evil, hideous monster who was overcome with a terrible urge and simply could not resist. So instead they decided to yes blame the victims instead. They thought that if only women could stop being alive and in places doing things then maybe that would stop these demons from raping them. It sounds ridiculous doesn't it? That’s because it is. It’s also pointless.

For a Patriarchal society it is asking far too much of men to stop raping women – and men and children too. It thinks there is no way of changing men’s behaviour at all and that those who get hurt should change their lives constantly to accommodate the needs and wants of rapists. It’s the same way that we still think slavery is an okay thing to do to an entire race, or that we still think that diseases are caused by evil spirits, or that we still – wait. Attitudes can be changed, actions can be changed and it is only someone who is ignorant of history or who refuses to accept this for their own gains that refuses to believe this.

Women are most at risk of getting attacked by someone they know, their boyfriends, male friends, or even their family. I do not drink, I do not go out alone at night but that doesn't matter. I am sat in a house – women get raped in their homes. I go outside during the day – women get raped during the day outside. I have a boyfriend – women get raped by their boyfriends. If there was a perfect way to avoid getting raped then women would do it don’t you think? Women don’t want to be raped, men don’t want to be raped and neither do children. But some, and this is a lot, of men want to rape.

Rape is a choice made by the rapist. He decides to choose a victim, he decides to hurt her and violate her. It is also the choice of think piece writers to help him get away with it. It is the choice of comedians to let him off with jokes. It is the choice of judges to give him a lenient sentence, of police to not record or investigate claims, and it is the choice of those who do not believe victims to not believe them. But it is never a choice or a decision to be raped – that is the definition of rape, and its high time people learnt that.

I know the arguments people make about drunk women and I agree that women should take measures to protect themselves from harm. I believe women who drink to excess are at harm for falling over, they are at harm from falling off things, and they are at harm of getting into an accident because that’s the harms drunk people face. I also believe men should not drink to excess for exactly the same reasons. I also think women should learn to protect themselves from strangers who want to cause them harm; I think they should learn how to physically defend themselves and carry some form of protection if they are not physically strong enough. I also think men should do these things too. But do I think that women, and it’s only women who get told this despite men being at risk for being raped as well, should stop their lives in case they are attacked by an often ordinary man who doesn't care if a person can consent or not? No.

I believe it is up to us as a society, it is up to the police, the judges, and yes the think piece writers to hold men up to a higher standard. To believe, like I do, that rape is a very deliberate choice and it is not an acceptable one; it is not okay to keep letting men do it and not get the punishment they deserve. Women cannot protect themselves from rapists if the rest of the world refuses to help them do so. We need to teach consent in school, we need to teach how to prevent people from choosing to rape, and we need to make it so rape is seen as so utterly unacceptable as other crimes – we like to think it is but it is not otherwise none of this would need saying. We need to stop blaming women for the decisions of rapists.

Women who are drunk are targeted not simply because they are impaired but because rapists know that the woman will be blamed for it, they will be disbelieved and ignored and scolded by opinion pieces. Think pieces help rapists, and that will always be true if we believe them and if we continue to let them.

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