I blogged earlier about problems with the approaches taken by the student media to violence against women – in particular the fact that expecting women to stop themselves being raped is problematic.
Not only, of course, does this leave the rapist out of the “how do we stop this happening” equation, but it also stops the majority of us who do not use sexual violence having a role to play to keeping our communities safe. Whether we are male or female.
Most importantly though, perhaps, is the fact that this approach leaves women who have been raped – that is, have not successfully avoided it, despite advice – feeling responsible. Victim blaming therefore contributes to survivors recovery and sense of self in very direct ways.
Anyways, I want to take my hat off to Magneto’s editor, David Peters, who after reading that blog, has written this:
This is a complicated subject – and a tricky one to tackle; sexual attacks against drunk women.
Last year, I (David Randall Peters – Magneto Editor) wrote in Magneto that the apparent sense of immunity that young women possess when walking home (following a night of drinking) is down-right daft.
I wrote that “it will happen to someone else” is an attitude as stupid as it is arrogant.
In the same article, I echoed the New Zealand Police’s own ‘Safe in the City’ campaign – “Be careful” (stick with friends).
At the time, this felt a natural conclusion to draw on the subject – I felt that it was responsible to raise the alarm. But here’s the thing; I’d slipped into a trap – as one student pointed out.
Indeed, there’s a bigger picture. The article Koire wrote for print in Magneto [below] points out the flaw in this approach to the matter.
Having read Kiore’s submission, my stance remains that there’s no sense in rendering one’s self prone to sexual attacks by walking home alone – but that this solution is non-holistic and is therefore not an adequate solution. I’m now sure to append that there’s even less sense in suggesting that it is women’s behaviour that is to blame for these attacks – we need to look to men’s attitudes towards women for improvement in this area.
Perhaps you can appreciate what a tricky subject this is?
Read below what Koire wrote in response both to my original comments and similar suggestions in the media at large.
Please feel free to leave a comment below this article – it’s one that could benefit greatly from exploration.
Sexual attacks against drunk women in Wellington are on the rise, and it seems the response to this from reporters and police – and I felt let down to read it from Magneto as well – is to focus on what women are doing that is causing the rise and how they should change their behaviour. These rebukes seem to often be delivered to us by men, but too many women are falling into this short-sighted trap as well. If women going out, getting drunk, being sexually active and taking risks correlates with a rise in assaults against women, then if women stop going out, getting drunk, being sexually active and taking risks those rates will go down again, and surely the ultimate goal here is to reduce attacks against women.
But this doesn’t work, and it won’t stop the problem. Hard drinking and risk taking have been and still are, for better or worse, integral to Kiwi culture – it’s just that it’s only recently that women have actually become part of that defining culture.
To continue reading click here – and big ups David Peters, I am fully impressed with your approach to this.