Rape culture?

So, there was this:


First off, I wouldn’t tell anyone what they can and cannot wear.  I get to that in a little more detail later but first let’s consider why this picture presents a stupid (yes, I said stupid) argument.

Your dog will obey that command. Now, would you use the idea that your dog will obey as evidence that you can leave steaks lying about wherever dogs happen to be.would you consider that a good idea? Some dogs aren’t trained. Some dogs, no matter how much you train them won’t restrain themselves.

Consider.  I wear black. (No.  Really.) Now, does wearing black mean that I deserve to get hit by cars?  Of course not.  But that doesn’t change the fact that I’m harder to see at night.  So while I don’t “deserve” to be hit and in the end it’s the drivers’ legal responsibility to avoid me it’s still in my best interest to use a little bit of extra caution compared to someone who is dressed in outfits that are easier to see at night.

Truth is, I don’t know if a rapist is more likely to choose a woman in “revealing” attire than one more “modestly” dressed.  And the truth is, most places I’ve seen where that question is asked don’t. answer. the. question.  They answer a different question about who’s to blame for the rape. (The rapist.  Duh.) The closest I was able to find was an answer on a quora question which said:

In South Africa, where rape is a extremely big problem compared to India, they did actual study and found out that dress did influence a rapist, but in a different way, and it has NOTHING to do with the sexiness of the dress. (Will update link if I find it)

Dress made up a small percentage of the victim picking, but it wasn’t based on how sexy it was, but more so based on how much of a trouble the dress would be for the rapist. So jeans,shorts, and certain pants are big turn offs, skirts no matter what their length are advantageous to the rapist,( so are the “traditional” Indian dress of Salwar-Kameez).  Essentially all the rapist cares about is how easy it would be to get to her, rape her, and get out of the area, and the dress that caused the least issue was chosen.

Even so, in the end it’s the rapist that’s at fault, not the victim whatever her attire.  Now, if I were to say that because certain styles of dress are more likely to be picked by rapists for attack that when wearing such styles one should use extra care not to be victimized, there are those who would scream “rape culture”, “blaming the victim”, and “teach men not to rape.”

They all really boil down to that last one:  teach men not to rape.

Here’s the thing, though.  We already do.  We have been teaching men not to rape for a very long time.  Just like we have been teaching men and women not to steal, teaching men and women not to murder, teaching men and women not to defraud others, and so on and so on.  For the most part, it works.  Most men and women don’t steal, they don’t murder, they don’t commit fraud…and they don’t rape.

But there’s always that one asshole who doesn’t get the message.  It’s not the vast majority of men one has to worry about.  Like the dog in the picture of the OP, they’ll take “no” for an answer.  But there remains an irreducible fraction of scum who won’t, that no amount of attempting to teach them to morally and ethically get along with others will reach.  Those are the ones you have to worry about.

In the end, you have to look after your own safety.  Not because you’re at fault, even if you don’t.  But because you don’t want to be a victim.  So when I suggest that you might want to learn to defend yourself against an attack, to use care in situations where you might be attacked, or to arm yourself against an attack by someone bigger and stronger than you (after all, rapists rarely pick victims their own size and strength), I’m not blaming you for being victimized.  That blame lies entirely with the attacker.  I’m trying to help you not be victimized since there’s little I can do about the attacker.

So if you want to take extra precaution, I’ll cheer your choice  If you look at the options and decide they’re not for you, I’ll cheer for you making your own choice.  If you want some specific advice, there are some things I can suggest.  Changing to frumpy clothes would probably not be among those suggestions.

But if you want to accessorize, I hear Colt, Beretta, and Kimber make some excellent anti-rape fashion accessories.  Nothing teaches rapists not to rape like jacketed hollow points to the center of mass.

And if that’s a direction you’d like to go, I’d be more than willing to help as would a lot of other people.


9 thoughts on “Rape culture?”

  1. The twitter-level response would be something like: “OK, now do that at a public park, with hundreds of dogs passing by. Sure, they should all know better, but your steak will still get eaten by a dog, and pointing that out doesn’t mean I approve of the dog.”

    Of course, I could also read her post and say, “Yes, rapists are behaving worse than that dog and should be ashamed… so why are you also shaming all the other “dogs” who didn’t steal anyone’s steak?”


    1. I’ve seen comments where pointing out that there are some men who can’t be “taught not to rape” in the sense they mean is treated as if I were saying that all men can’t and it’s some sort of self-condemnation. Which is ridiculous. This whole “all X are alike” position is the very definition of bigotry.


  2. Indeed, there are two questions: “Who’s morally/legally culpable?” and “Did you get raped?”

    If you leave out your steak and a dog eats it, everyone on the planet can be as clear as day that the dog did the eating.

    But your steak is still gone.


  3. I don’t want my wife to be raped (or otherwise victimized), so I buy her guns. I also got her a pitbull, pepper spray, a zapper, and a variety of pokey thingies. Plus, she has some martial arts skills. I pity the fool…

    My wife is also inclined to dress conservatively, but that has more to do with decency, than with rape threats.

    I’m disinclined to instruct folks on dressing themselves. However, when you dress yourself, you send a message to others. I expect one to be responsible for the messages they send. If you dress like a slut, you really shouldn’t be surprised if some poorly raised guys think that you are, and behave accordingly. Likewise, if you dress like a thug, you can’t be too shocked if Security follows you around the store. And, if you are wearing a t-shirt with a giant pot leaf on it, it’s not a shocker when the cop who just pulled you over, wants to search your car for drugs.

    Let’s be sensible.


  4. One of the big subsets of the “rape culture” discussion is that of “rape culture in colleges”. These focus on stories of students who commit forcible rape and get away with at most, a slap on the wrist — because they’re stars. The school gains far more from having a winning sports team than it loses from one of the star players committing rape.

    This is not “rape culture”.

    This is “sports star culture”.

    Teaching men not to rape won’t be any more effective in this culture than it already has been. What you need to do is teach school administrators that they will suffer more damage from harboring a rapist on a sports team than from the team losing the next few games. And the way to teach that is to make the consequences appropriately proportionate.


  5. Native Europeans had centuries upon centuries of even petty criminals getting hung, resulting in societies where women didn’t have to hide in ditches. You can either be a racist or deny the power of Darwinism, pick one.


    1. That’s just the start. Assumptions required for that claim to hold:
      – Other societies have not also been harsh to criminals.
      – The evolutionary pressure is more on “don’t commit crimes” and less on “don’t get caught”.
      – The tendency toward committing crimes is genetic.
      – Any genes involved do not convey a countervailing advantage in other circumstances (see sickle cell anemia–unreinforced it conveys resistance to malaria, reinforced it’s deadly).

      We can go on and on and on about this oversimplified statement which amounts to you engaging in the logical fallacy of insufficient options.


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