Carol Malone: #NotNorman
Our latest #NotNorman goes to Carole Malone who wrote an article in the Mirror newspaper urging women to take responsibility for “their own safety”.
As is the norm when anyone is just about to hold women responsible for a man’s choice to rape, she pays lip service to the civilised notion that women are never responsible for men raping them; but everything she says in the article, clearly demonstrates that it is just lip service. And women aren’t just responsible for men’s choices to rape. no, but murder too. Malone discusses Judge Nigel Cadbury’s appalling remarks about Karen Buckley and ostensibly condemns them, but only because “we don’t know yet how much the poor girl drank that night or how her remains ended up on a farm on the outskirts of Glasgow”, the implication being that we might need to revise our opinion if it turns out that Karen drank more than judges and journalists think women ought to.
“Of course, victims of sex attacks aren’t “responsible” for what’s happened to them” Malone declares dutifully, just after having commented on the fact that the victim of rapist Ched Evans’ had been so drunk that she couldn’t remember the events of the night he raped her. “That doesn’t mean she deserved to be raped. It means had she been less drunk it might not have happened.”
No Carole, that’s not what it means. Of course it might not have happened if she had not been so drunk, or if she had not gone to that kebab shop, or if she’d stayed in that night and watched telly, or if she hadn’t lived in Rhyl, or she hadn’t been a woman; but mostly, it would not have happened, if Ched Evans hadn’t been a rapist and Clayton McDonald hadn’t been a creep.
Concerned articles like Carole Malone’s, simply confirm to the minority of rapists who rape women, that they are justified in targeting drunk women, because those women are more likely to be blamed for their rape than sober women are. Contrary to adding to women’s safety (as the article purports to be discussing), it actually adds to the danger for women by re-confirming to rapists that they’re not responsible for stopping rape, women are.
Malone declares that “there are things women can do to reduce the chances of becoming a target. And NOT getting falling down drunk is one of them.” By that logic, given that the vast majority of rapes (well over 90%) are committed by men who know their victim, the most effective thing a woman could do to reduce the chances of becoming a target, would be not to be acquainted with any men. This would however, be considered a wildly extremist course of action (and in our society unless you join a closed order of nuns it’s probably not possible) but it is actually the most effective step women can take, to “reduce their chances of becoming a target” for rapists and ensure that another woman becomes the target instead.
So it’s about time we abandoned this failed project of making women responsible for rape. If fewer men behaved like Clayton McDonald and Ched Evans then fewer women would be raped. So, instead of telling women not to get falling down drunk, tell men not to rape drunk women and tell them clearly and unambiguously that if they do, society will hold them every bit as accountable as we do when they rape sober women.
Under the guise of being concerned for women’s safety, Carole Malone has just written an article which can be added to the pile of crap that underpins women’s lack of safety from rapists in our society. For that, she gets a #NotNorman, our award for those who trivialise or minimise rape or who promote rape culture.