Saw the claim yet again on the Book of Faces that instead of teaching women how to protect themselves we should teach men and boys not to rape or be abusive.
That’s a great idea. There’s just one problem. There are over 3.9 billion men and boys in the world. That’s a lot of individuals to teach. And how effective can we expect that teaching to be? If we are 90% successful with a mere 10% not being willing to get the message, that’s still 390 million abusers and rapists out there. If we are 99% effective, with only one person in a hundred proving resistant to our efforts, that’s still 39 million abusers or rapists. If we’re 99.9999% effective, that’s still 3900 abusers or rapists.
We’ve been trying to teach people not to murder since Moses supposedly came down from the Mount and yet…here we are. Some people just can’t be reached that way, not by any means we have now.
Don’t think so? Point me to the program. Point me to one that you really believe works. And by “really believe” I mean one you trust well enough that we could take all the rapists in our prisons and all the ones on the sex offenders registry, put them through the program, and then let them go free and removed from the registry because you’ve made them not rapists any more.
Any takers? Anyone? Buehler?
Didn’t think so.
But let’s suppose that someone comes up with such a program. That some expert or group of experts in cognitive science and neurochemisty and all the myriad other things that go into why one person does X where another person would do Y, figures out the solution. That after sufficient testing and validation it’s demonstrated to work with 99.99999999% effectiveness. And that the program has no negative downsides that will turn around and bite us in the ass. (Anybody who knows me knows how likely I find that–but let’s suppose for argument’s sake.)
The fact remains that we don’t have such a program now. It doesn’t exist. And so until it does exist and has been implemented and proven successful (good luck with that), then we have to deal with the reality that there exist people out there who will continue to hurt other people if it suits them to do so. And that includes rape and abuse. Just like we have to deal with the reality that cars crash and make sudden stops, which can be highly hazardous to the occupants of said cars.
And so, just like we have seatbelts and airbags and other things in an attempt to keep us safe when auto accidents happen, so too do we need to have ways to keep ourselves safe from those who don’t get the “thou shalt not rape” and “thou shalt not abuse thy partner” messages. That can be personal self defense in the form of various weapons (readers of this blog should know my preference). It can be shelters one can go to in order to escape an abusive partner (and I use the gender neutral term there deliberately). It can be long incarceration for those caught and convicted in order to keep them away from “decent people” who they might victimize.
And it can be a combination of methods. Indeed, embrace the power of “and.”