Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Why People Victim-Blame Whenever Rape Comes Up

I've seen a number of comments wondering about this, and in many cases someone suggests rather horrible motives. I think sometimes the motives are rather horrible, like I discussed here. But I think often the truth is much less horrible and much simpler, especially with random commenters on the Internet; what is victim-blaming in a rape case is the same ex-post-facto advice we get all the time in every venue.

Men are especially known for this. For an unpleasant example, when one of my fellow Aikido students got his arm broken*, a certain highly abrasive though highly skilled senior student rushed immediately over to where he was lying and said, "You know what you did wrong, right?" For a pleasant example, when I mentioned getting mildly shocked while disconnecting a car battery, my brother explained that one should remove the ground terminal first**, and it never happened again.

These two examples are off because the advice involved was actually pretty good, and the Internet advice focuses on the rare case of stranger rape; totally unhelpful with the more common cases like date rape. But even when the advice is useless, it's not usually*** motivated by blame, it's just run-of-the-mill, annoying, after-the-fact unsolicited advice like we always get.

* Yes, I intend to discuss this cluster of accidents with the teacher before going back.

** Because there's no voltage between the ground terminal and the frame (which connects all the things you're likely to be touching), and after the ground terminal is disconnected there's no longer significant voltage between the frame and the other terminal.

*** Again, sometimes it is.

1 comment:

  1. I can see this, mostly due to the defensiveness of some people- especially but not exclusively men- when I've tried to say politely or less so that their advice is not welcome when I'm dealing with something. Apparently it is a veritable knife to the heart to be asked not to Monday Morning Quarterback someone else's disaster.

    It's just them, I can much more easily dismiss...