Monday, March 10, 2014

In case you find yourself in a debate with a victim blamer any time soon...

[Content note: rape, sexual assault, victim blaming]

You know how every time anything about rape or sexual assault and drinking comes up some dude has to chime in with things like, "What if you're both drunk? It's so confusing," and "Having drunk sex and regretting it the next day isn't rape!"...?? Well, a study I've seen floating around several places importantly shows that these examples have little relevance to real life and are pretty inappropriate in discussions of rape. Turns out male sexual predators aren't necessarily intoxicated themselves but they ARE targeting drunk women.

Sigh. In other words, the sky is blue. It's a day that ends in Y.

Thing is though, this evidence is helpful for the next time you find yourself in one such discussion with a mansplaining/victiming blaming/MRA-ish asshole. You know the kind...he's always second guessing your personal observations and experience because you don't have any "empirical data" to back it up? Well now slap him with this study. As NPR reported,
When researchers at the University of Toronto and the University of Washington observed young people's behavior in bars, they found that the man's aggressiveness didn't match his level of intoxication. There was no relationship.
Instead, men targeted women who were intoxicated. 
I also like what Maya at Feministing said to distill the data and it's important implications for our society,
The myth that drunk victims gave off “mixed signals” underpins some of the worst victim blaming and outright rape denialism we see regularly. And, as we’ve discussed extensively on this blog, since predators knowingly look for the most vulnerable-seeming potential victims, “rape prevention” efforts that focuses on telling individual women how to decrease their personal risk are inadequate. As Alexandra’s said before, “Until we create real systemic change, anyone’s individual efforts to not be [the drunkest person in the room] don’t actually reduce rates of violence.”

It's so important that when we hear someone peddling victim blaming and rape culture nonsense, we call them on it. We can't move toward a society which teaches "don't rape" instead of "don't get raped" unless those of us who know better spread the message that violence reduction efforts MUST be aimed at those who actually or potentially commit violence.

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