Damned if you do, damned if you don’t

// 8 August 2005

Gendergeek has an excellent post on recent research on the prevalence of date rape drugs, which found that there were fewer doing the rounds than were originally thought.

The research has sparked comments about women’s “responsiblity” when it comes to somehow preventing being raped in the first place. If women were not drugged, the thinking goes, then that must mean that it’s their fault if they got raped. As Gendergeek’s Emma comments,

“[inherent to this assumption is] that women are responsible for controlling and limiting male violence. It also says quite unpleasant things about men. Implicit in it is the idea that at all times women should be prepared to physically fend off rapacious attacks from the large number of men who will exploit the physical vulnerabilities of any woman who strays across their path.”

In the Guardian, Decca Aitkenhead said:

“If we say that anything less than vigilance is culpably irresponsible in a woman, this means we think all men are rapists. When militant feminists made this suggestion, it was taken as proof of their lunacy. Now, apparently, it is taken for granted. Girls are expected to understand that if they wind up in the pub car park, tights round their ankles and peeing on their high heels, the average man passing by cannot be expected to pass up the chance… Why isn’t everyone asking what kind of man is it who would see her lying there and want to have a go?”

Note that, yet again, it’s the feminists who are questioning the prevailing (yes, man-hating) theory that the average man is naturally predisposed to rape. A theory, incidentally, that so-called men’s rights activists propound relentlessly.

Aitkenhead echos a similarly enlightening comment in the comments in an old post on Avoiding Rape and “Common Sense” at Alas, A Blog. “Neko” writes:

“We can\x92t win. If I exercise caution by not going into an elevator with a man I don\x92t know, by not inviting my date up for coffee at the end of the night, by not allowing a guy to get me a drink (ah, the wonder of date rape drugs), I\x92m a man hater who thinks all men are rapists. If I didn\x92t do these things and something happened, I\x92d be asking for it because I didn\x92t exercise "common sense."

What she said. Anyway – read the Gendergeek post for more on this.

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