A woman walks across Bicentennial Mall late at night. Some guy had asked her for a light sometime earlier that evening on 5th Avenue. When she walks past the bandshell area of the mall, that same man rapes her.
Kay Brooks says:
She should not have been walking through the park alone and late at night.
No, that doesn’t mean she deserves what happened but she is not without responsibility in this*. She made some bad choices that resulted in severe consequences.
Aunt B takes what Brooks said and draws a chalk line around it, if you know what I mean.
I live near the Bicentennial Mall. I don’t walk through the mall late at night, because I know there is no security to be found, and it is generally unpopulated. In other words, if I got mugged, there probably wouldn’t be anyone around to help me. Would I be responsible for losing my wallet or perhaps my life if I decided to cut through the mall after a late night at work and I had the unfortunate luck to have my walk coincide with a mugger’s need for cash?
On the other hand, I live in a neighborhood** that many Realtors won’t show to perspective home buyers. I’ve had nary a problem, but I’ve heard gun shots. Am I irresponsible to my wife and family for living in such a place?
When we lived in the greater Green Hills area near Lipscomb, there was a series of home invasion rapes. The rapist*** watched the houses long enough to know when a female was home alone. Should these women be culpable because they didn’t hire a bodyguard to watch them during times when no one else is around?
Sounds silly, I know, but not half as asinine as stating that a woman bears any responsible for being raped. Yes, everyone needs to take precautions. Don’t leave unattended unfinished drinks around when you are at a bar..don’t walk down the street with money hanging out of your pockets…etc. etc. Common sense should never be an ‘attic grace’ to use the words of Auden. But, moving from chastising someone for a lack of common sense to actually stating that a victim bears responsibility for being raped is a chasm that fair minded people should have a hard time bridging.
Update: Apparently, about the same time I was writing this piece, S-townMike was penning a similar post. Mike takes the pretzelian nature of Ms Brooks logic and takes it fully to its logical ends.
**just to be clear here, I love Salemtown.
***The asshole was apprehended and is in prison.