Why can’t we accept personal responsibility?
So there’s apparently a big uproar over an article that Mia Freedman wrote on her mamamia blog, with people claiming she’s victim blaming.
I read her article. I also read a lot of the responses. I think most people responding either didn’t read the article properly, or have reading comprehension issues. Mia did NOT blame victims who had been drinking. She did NOT say that drinking causes you to be raped. She at no point said that if you were raped while drunk, it was your fault. She simply said that getting wasted lowers your ability to make good judgements, it lowers your ability to fight off an attacker, it makes it more difficult to recognize when you may be in a potentially risky situation.
She did say that she would also teach her son about alcohol, and about how it could impair his ability to make good decisions.
We would all like to live in Utopia, where we are free to get drunk and parade around the streets at 2am, naked if we want. Yes, all parents should teach their sons not to rape. However, we don’t live in a perfect society. Yes, the majority of people are assaulted by people they know, while both parties are sober. Most attacks don’t involve alcohol.
This doesn’t mean however, that just because it’s not the majority case, or because it’s not the woman’s fault, that she can’t try to protect herself in the first place. Molested children learn quickly that the easiest way not to be molested, is to avoid the molester, or the situations where the molestation occurs. When people travel overseas, they know not to walk in dodgy areas late at night, in case they get mugged. When people go camping, they know to put the food up high, so it doesn’t attract predators. Soldiers learn basic hand to hand combat techniques, and then first aid, in case they get into an up close situation.
I wish that there wasn’t rapists and molesters. I wish we lived in a rosy happy place where bad things didn’t happen. However, I understand that we don’t live in that place. Just because the law says a man shouldn’t rape someone, doesn’t mean that I can walk around blindly, thinking that a law is going to protect me. It’s not. Because bad people don’t care about laws. So therefor, it’s up to me to do the best I can to protect myself. It doesn’t mean I won’t be overpowered, it doesn’t make me infallible, but it does mean I can at least try to protect myself. I’ll know that I tried. Ever noticed how many women learn self defense after they’ve been attacked? Why not take a class before?
Nobody wants to think that while they’re out having fun with their friends they’re going to be raped. But it happens. I’m not ok with it, but I accept it as a fact. What this means for me personally is that I only drink when I’m with Matt. If he’s not around, I don’t drink. – I have to drive, so I don’t want to get drunk anyway. I am more conservative in what I wear when I’m not with Matt. I don’t want strange guys leering at my breasts, so I don’t put them on display. I don’t get why that’s such a difficult concept. Women complain men are looking at their boobs, but they’re wearing an outfit that puts it all on display. You don’t need to wear a burka, but if you don’t want people to look, don’t show them off. Sometimes I will have a scarf or a shawl, and if I wear a low v-neck, I can them use it to cover up my goods if I feel people are oggling too much. I’m not a fan of high heels, and it’s because they’re impractical. I want to be able to walk, or run, if I have to. Not just in case of rapists, but what if there’s a fire, or a terrorist attack? Or I just want to leave? Wear heels if you like, but they make those little slip on shoes that fit in your handbag. Most girls in Texas wear cowboy boots with their dresses, which is way more comfortable, and practical.
I can see that people are feeling defensive. I can see that people feel helpless. If you have been raped or molested, it in NOT your fault. This doesn’t mean that we can’t tell people though that there are things they can do to help protect themselves. We tell kids not to talk to strangers, we tell people to lock their doors, we tell people not to travel to warzones. We tell people if they’re traveling cross country to make sure they have enough water and petrol. Why can’t we tell women not to put themselves in a dangerous situation? Whether that’s by not walking in certain neighbourhoods late or night, or getting so drunk they can’t walk straight, what’s the difference? There are men out there who will take advantage of a drunk woman. No he shouldn’t, but that doesn’t mean he won’t. So it’s up to her to help avoid that situation.
I also found it interesting that the younger generation, those in their 20’s, are the more vocal about it being slut shaming. I get it, when I was in my 20’s, I thought the world should just be a more fair place. As I got older, I accepted that it wasn’t, as it seems a lot of the older readers have. I would like for you younger girls to be able to get drunk, flirt with men, and still get home safely. But, I have enough life experience to know that’s not the way the world works. It’s not your fault. It’s not. But you can still help yourself and accept that the world isn’t perfect, and take care of yourself.
I don’t get why people get so defensive when it comes to personal responsibility.