Self defense and victim blaming

Article: “Women need to pack gun to avoid rape, says GPO Indiana lawmaker

Representative says that a firearm is a great way to defend oneself against an attacker, though his word choice could’ve been better. A “tsunami of criticism” twists that into, in essence, victim blaming. Somehow in the last several years we’ve twisted “women should learn to defend themselves” into “rape victims are to blame because they didn’t defend themselves”… Ugh…

Crime occurs for a number of reasons, with reasons varying on the crime, so it’s not possible to teach people to not commit crimes. Most people don’t commit crimes, and don’t want to commit crimes. So the common call of feminists to “teach men to not rape”, provided such is possible, is not necessary.

Plus it presumes that men are violent apes who don’t know how to control themselves, or don’t want to, until they’re “civilized”. Just as the anti-gun crowd seems to presume that everyone who wants to buy a gun is out to kill someone.

The chance of any person in the United States being a victim of any crime, petty or violent, is very small. And you’re more likely to be victimized by someone with whom you are at least acquainted. For those uncommon stranger violent crimes, a firearm will stop an attacker the vast majority of the time. And you don’t even have to fire a shot to do it. The mere presentation of the firearm will be enough to stop an attacker in their tracks the vast majority of times. Pepper spray has the same potential, though it doesn’t work on everyone. For the other times, that’s why self defense is codified into law, and the laws and standards are much more favorable to women as well.

This won’t prevent 100% of instances, but it does change the odds. Just as contraceptives change the odds of getting pregnant, but don’t eliminate the risk 100%. No matter how situationally aware you are, no matter how much you’re on your guard, you can still be ambushed, you can still be victimized. That doesn’t mean there are not steps you can and should take to get the risk as low as possible.

But that also doesn’t mean a victim of violent crime is somehow to blame because they did not or could not defend themselves or escape. The criminal is always to blame. But since crime is a risk in any society, everyone needs to account for that risk.

Travelers are advised to not carry significant quantities of cash or significant valuables, and tourists may also be advised to avoid certain parts of a destination. If you’re on a cruise ship, you’re advised to always lock your cabin. And when at an airport or on a plane, there are steps you take to secure what is on your person to avoid having it stolen. And when you’re at a bar, to not get significantly inebriated. Because of the very real risk of crime.

This is not to say that victims of violent crime are somehow to blame because they didn’t or couldn’t defend themselves. Yet unfortunately that’s how the conversation has been twisted.

Again crime is a risk. So you need to account for it and take steps to reduce the risk of being a victim to as low as possible.