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Ironically, one of the most ignorant posts I’ve read in recent weeks appeared on a blog that goes by the name of “Very Smart Brothas.”

In an astoundingly insensitive article, aptly titled Rape Responsibility — And The Fine Line Between Victim-Blaming and Common Sense”, The Champ, a blogger on the site, decided to tackle the subject of rape and why women, in fact, do hold some responsibility for sexual assaults against their person.

He found his inspiration from a post written by writer Zerlina Maxwell for Ebony.com titled, “Stop Telling Women How to Not Get Raped.”

In Maxwell’s article, she brilliantly states why society’s misdirected venom towards “unladylike” women is endangering potential victims:

“Our community, much like society-at-large, needs a paradigm shift as it relates to our sexual assault prevention efforts.  For so long all of our energy has been directed at women, teaching them to be more “ladylike” and to not be “promiscuous” to not drink too much or to not wear a skirt. Newsflash: men don’t decide to become rapists because they spot a woman dressed like a video vixen or because a girl has been sexually assertive.”

Even though The Champ agrees that statistics revealing that 1 in 5 women will become victims of a completed or attempted rape in their lifetime are horrific, he draws the line at agreeing that men, and men alone, are responsible for women being violated, stating that women should employ a modicum of common sense when dealing with their baser male counterparts:

“Why can’t both genders be educated on how to act responsibility around each other? What’s stopping us from steadfastly instilling “No always means no!” in the minds of all men and boys and educating women how not to put themselves in certain situations? Of course men shouldn’t attempt to have sex with a woman who’s too drunk to say no, but what’s wrong with reminding women that if you’re 5’1 and 110 pounds, it’s probably not the best idea to take eight shots of Patron while on the first, second, or thirteenth date? Yes, sober women definitely get raped too, but being sober and aware does decrease the likelihood that harm may come your way, and that’s true for each gender.

“It seems as if the considerable push back again victim-blaming has pushed all the way past prudence and levelheadedness, making anyone who suggests that “women can actually be taught how to behave too” insensitive or a “rape enabler.” And, while the sentiment in Maxwell’s article suggests that victim-blaming is dangerous, I think it’s even more dangerous to neglect to remind young women that, while it’s never their fault if they happen to get sexually assaulted, they shouldn’t thumb their noses to common sense either.”

And this is where the waters get treacherous.

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112 Comments

  1. sunshyne84

    I don’t see it so much as victim blaming, but a reminder not to put yourself in potentially dangerous situations. Like how I take my trash out in the day time instead of at night. Men shouldn’t rape women, but we can’t tell a rapist from every other man so we have to use common sense and take precautions.

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    • my dear, tell that statement to the many countless women in the Congo-who have been raped, and not because they were in potentially dangerous situations. No, but they still end up being blamed.

      How about that girl like you and me, going about her business in her a skirt and a regular ol blouse-waylaid from home and raped. and still gets blamed

      My point is, victim shaming and blaming is very much part of our society-human ie. I’ve read rape cases in which yahoo commentors have torn the victim into shreds-even when they don’t have the full details. It’s even worse in our community.

      God helps us. Ms.Savali, again I salute your English….coz lawwd knows if you and I were to get into a competition, I would loose, coz I would only write one word. Motherfuggers!

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    • QoNew

      @African Mami

      “..tell that statement to the many countless women in the Congo…”

      I agree with sunshyne84. Women shouldnt put themselves in harms way if they can help it. Therefore dont go on holiday in the Congo.

      “How about that girl like you and me, going about her business in her a skirt and a regular ol blouse-waylaid from home and raped. and still gets blamed.”

      Yes because we know that this is the typical rape scenario. Women just going about her business and some man out of no where just rapes her. Girl please.

      “I’ve read rape cases in which yahoo commentors have torn the victim into shreds-even when they don’t have the full details.”

      We do worse to those accused of rape without the full details or a verdict from a jury of his or her own peers.

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    • QoNew

      @sunshyne84

      As African Mami alluded to, she thinks she is in as much of a risk of being raped wearing a skirt going about her business at the mall as a woman is in the war torn country of the Democratic Republic of the congo. This is why the message of taking certain precautions falls on deaf ears.

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    • JaeBee

      “a reminder not to put yourself in potentially dangerous situations. Like how I take my trash out in the day time instead of at night.”

      The problem is, we focus too much of our time trying to control the behavior of innocent women (even if it is a safety precaution) then we do controlling the behavior of rapist men. Does anyone else not see the gender imbalance?

      I find it abominably that as a woman, you should be afraid to take the trash out at night instead of during the day because of potential violence that may be enacted upon you. I doubt there are very many men that would have the same fear (even those who could “easily” be assaulted because they are not not very big or muscular). The problem is in the way we as a society handle violence against women. It doesn’t help that the justice system is not very “understanding” of the plight of the victim and often engages in such victim blaming tactics as you used above (“Well, why were you out in the middle of the night? Why were you wearing such a short skirt? Why did you allow the guy to perform oral sex on you if you weren’t interested in intercourse?”) that it makes it difficult for victims to come forward out of fear of being maligned or knowledge that nothing will be done to punish the rapist.

      It would be great if we had better laws that were more supportive of women who are victims of violence. There needs to be more stringent punishments placed upon perpetrators to make it less easy for them to get away with the crimes that they commit, and which enacted harsher penalties for committing crimes. Maybe if more men who rape are taken off the streets, it will make it safer for women to be able to take out the trash at night without fear of being harmed.

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    • JaeBee

      I meant to write “abominable”, not “abominably”.

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    • baabaa

      @JaeBee

      Harsher punishment doesnt prevent crime.Honestly, I dont believe stronger punishment will relieve our sense of safety. Because we are overwhelmingly physically inferior men will attack us. Yes, we need to speak to our young men regarding their part in keeping s safe and not growing up to be perpetrator. (I wonder how many parents actually make this an essential lesson when training their boys????). But in the mean time, I will take precaution at all times. Including during intimate occassions.

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    • JaeBee

      “Harsher punishment doesnt prevent crime.Honestly, I dont believe stronger punishment will relieve our sense of safety.”

      Harsher punishment may not eliminate crime, but it will help to prevent it. If all rapists received life sentences in jail then there would be less rapists on the streets to re-offend. If all rapists were forcibly castrated, then they’d have less “motivation” to engage in such an activity again..

      If we as a society took a harsher stance against men who commit violent acts towards women it wouldn’t make it so easy for men to get away with, and to continue to re-offend. That may influence others to think twice before they commit a first offense.

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    • QONewcastle

      @Jae Bee

      And perhaps if we cut off the hands of those who stole we would be living in a society where theft was non existent. Where is your date proving anything you are saying? I was sexually assaulted as a child by someone I assume was no older than 18. What would have prevent him from assaulting me if he had never assaulted before or he was never accused, and found guilty of a sexual act? Ultimately it is up to the woman to behave in anyway she deems fit but certain behaviors come with their risk. That is with everything in life. Stop being so childish. You are potentially putting people at risk by telling them there is nothing they can do to prevent crimes from happening to them.

      As an experiment, why not leave your doors and windows open in your home or in your car. Society shouldnt control you by telling you to lock your car do or close your windows because of potential intruders. I bet you wouldnt dream of taking those risk would you?

      “We expect people to control themselves and not steal something that they may want and desire–even though human nature would have us take the object to gratify ourselves and for our own benefit. ”

      How well has that worked out?

      How do you control the behavior of people who would rape if they have never raped before? What you want to do is control the behavior of ALL men so as to prevent any rapes. How about we just lock all men up after they turn 14 years old ensuring no woman or girl is in harms way. We can put them in concentration camps.

      Our society doesnt tell me to rape. Quite the contrary. Men, all men, are told that they are potential violent brutes that need to be controlled. I dont want to live in that society.

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    • baabaa

      I would love to see life sentences for rapists and child molesters. I agree with you on that one. I read somewhere that the average rapist only does 4 1/2 years and are likely to reoffend.

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    • Renee

      @QOnew

      your comment was ignorant. the “oh like that’s the typical rape scenario”

      there is no typical rape scenario, which is why rape is so scary.

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    • JaeBee

      @Renee

      Most people choose to ignore Queen of Newcastle. As you can see evidence why…

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    • A lot Middle eastern countries do have low crime/theft rate because of its high corporal punishment laws. In Korea, for example, one can leave their bags on a table in the middle of a crowded mall and not worry so much about theft than you would in America. Actually, the idea of doing that in the USA without someone watching them is ludicrous. So, harsher punishment perhaps will bring down a lot of crime rate here but because of its inhumane ways will never pass.

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  2. OHHHHHHHHH MI GOSH!!!!!!! *I STAND IN APPPLLLLLLLAUSEEEEE*** Ms. Savali, this is the one article you’ve written I have amened throughout the post! My God! You speak so articulately. There was victim blaming on Deelish’s story, and the comments on there were super crazy. I and a few other Clutchettes were involved in a back and forth as to why-the VICTIM is not to blame! I also saw the same article you mention on VSB, and I did not comment for I did not know whether to cry or shoot somebody!

    This is what I’m talking about! Thank you for articulating this so well.

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  3. Miss September

    I somewhat agree with the previous comment, but on the other hand it is a double edge sword. Just because a woman is alone with a man or even invited him to touch/pleasure her it does not give the excuse for him to rape her. NO MEANS NO ….yes we as women need use more discretion but that does not justify a man taking something that you did consent to give him no matter the circumstance. I think that women need to be more supportive of women who have been victims, to let them know that they did not warrant being taken advantage of .It is strength in numbers. If we rallied more around victims, I think men would practice more self control. They are not animals in a jungle, jeez the way some women excuse this type of behavior is deplorable …smh its really sad…..

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    • peaches

      You are accusing SUNSHYNE84 of, “Excus(ing) this type of behavior…),” when she did no such thing.

      Basically your comment is similar to hers. SUNSHYNE84 stated that, “(This is a)reminder not to put yourself in potentially dangerous situations.” She also stated, “Men shouldn’t rape women, but we can’t tell a rapist from every other man so we have to use common sense and take precautions,”

      You sated the same thing, “Yes we as women need use more discretion but that does not justify a man taking something that you did consent to give him no matter the circumstance.”

      What is the difference between your statement and SUNSHYNE84?

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  4. Miss September

    * previous comment direct to @sunshyne84

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  5. Socially Maladjusted

    society needs to focus on controlling men, not women.

    Rape is wrong, no excuses, no arguments no if, ands or buts.

    It is a violation of personal autonomy and choice, which as a human being and the Ascedent of Enslaved Africans, I understood all too well, and for those reasons make rape a particularly is abhorrent crime to me.

    If a woman does not want to have sex with you – don’t force her. If she agrees to sex but later and changes her mind, incuding during sex, then stop.

    Now let’s go over some other facts about rape.

    !) The power element in rape is the force applied to execute a rape, the motive however is in most cases – SEX.

    2) removing the sexual motive from rape is way to dehumanixe the rapist as a sadist who derives some twisted pleasure from torturing his victims.

    If we saw the rapist as someone trying to fulfil the basic human need for intimacy, then we might see the rapist in more sympathetic terms.

    That is the reason many men still insist on assigning some blame to the victim. They sympathize to some extent with the rapist. They imagine themselves a heightened state of sexual arousal and imagine that under the same circumstances, they might act with the same lack of control.

    Yes men do rape and most often it is because they’ve lost control of themselves, which means simply telling people to control themselves is not the answer –

    Telling people to control themselves is rarely the answer to impulsive or compulsive – (eg over eating food addicts) – behaviour.

    So how do we solve the problem of rape without completely isolating the sexes from each other?

    I don’t know

    but I know that I would resist any further efforts to control the male population on the pretext of protecting women from rape.

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    • QoNew

      @Socially

      This may be a crude analogy but we are far more careful and mindful or we are socially required to be more mindful of our material possesions than we are with ourselves. We indulge in victim blaming all the time when we arent mindful of our possessions while out; when we carelessly pass on our personal details to potential fraudsters; when we leave our car doors open.

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    • peaches

      @ Socially

      I get what you are saying. I think we have to speak to both men and women to get a better understading of how we can eliminate rape (or shall I say reduce rape). I think date rape is the most common. And being a woman I know that most of us do take precaution when out with men. So clearly this precaution doesnt prevent rape. Im sure the rape numbers are MUCH MORE higher than what’s reported because often women blame themselves and dont report it.
      As a woman I know it’s my right to say no at any time during sex. I have used that right and have been successful each and every time. Men have respected my wishes in the mist of extreme sexual arousal and I am so greatful that they did not use this power that you mentioned to rape me. But I dont think I will continue do certain sexual actions simple because I have heard too many stories of rape victims. Therefore, I’d rather use their experiences in an effort to prevent rape happening to me.

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    • JaeBee

      “Telling people to control themselves is rarely the answer to impulsive or compulsive – (eg over eating food addicts) – behaviour.

      So how do we solve the problem of rape without completely isolating the sexes from each other?

      I don’t know but I know that I would resist any further efforts to control the male population on the pretext of protecting women from rape.”

      This is ridiculous. Why shouldn’t we have these expectations? We expect people to control themselves and not steal something that they may want and desire–even though human nature would have us take the object to gratify ourselves and for our own benefit. If you can’t control yourself, then you don’t deserve to be an active member of society. You should either be behind bars, or in the case of rapists we can castrate you and maybe that will help your “control” issues.

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    • Socially Maladjusted

      jaebee

      Yeh, you’re right but despite the fact that there are lots of things we shouldn’t do, and are told not to do –

      ALL OF US still do them.

      Unfortunately, some of those things have serious consequences.

      Getting angry at me won’t cure the world’s problems.

      I suggest you start thinking about how you can HUMANELY address the issues that are important to you without becoming a fascist who wants to control people –

      rather than solve problems.

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    • Angie

      This ia actually in agreement with QoNew…you are right. We are so vigilant in protecting our cars, bank accounts, homes, passwords, social security numbers, and other material possessions from thieves and robbers and in doing so, we are not considered victims, nor are we letting the thieves and robbers off the hook, we are simply being cautious. Why are people so resistant to the same message of self protection when it comes to the awful topic of rape? Yes, a woman should be able to take the trash out at night or wear whatever she wants to wear and not feel like she could be attacked just as much as I should be able to leave my door unlocked at home or let my little boy play outside without me watching him like a hungry momma bear but sadly, that is not the world we live in. The message that I get is simply just BE CAREFUL. I cannot control a rapist’s actions no more than I can control a thief or a drug dealer or any other criminal. All I can do is be CAREFUL. It’s just that simple.

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    • JaeBee

      “Getting angry at me won’t cure the world’s problems.”

      First of all, I am not angry with you and don’t see how my post could be interpreted as such. Responding in disagreement to something you said does not mean I am “angry”.

      “HUMANELY address the issues that are important to you without becoming a fascist who wants to control people -”

      Once again, I don’t see where my post contained evidence of inhumanity, but I guess that term is very subjective. I suggested that rapists should either be put in jail, or castrated if they felt they could not control themselves. Everyone else is expected to control themselves to maintain a civilized society—if you (meaning rapists in general) feel that you can’t do that then you don’t deserve to be in society or should consider other, more effective ways of treating your disorder.

      As for your comment about being a fascist who wants to control people…girl, take a seat! You sound like one of those crazy tea bag republicans who likes to throw around political terms that they know nothing about!

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