'walk like a victim, you will be a victim'

(55 Posts)
sunlightonthegrass Mon 29-Apr-13 21:43:34

I can't work out what I feel about this.

I took someone to task for saying this recently (in a nice way - I just pointed out that it might not make people who had been victims feel great to feel it was their 'fault' in some way - she, to give her her due, was very gracious about it.)

However, I did sort of know what she was getting at but I still objected to it.

Interested to hear other thoughts?

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Mon 29-Apr-13 22:01:58

"meet an attacker, you will be attacked" as a riposte?

sunlightonthegrass Mon 29-Apr-13 22:04:51

Good one!

AmandaPayneAteTooMuchChocolate Mon 29-Apr-13 22:06:21

I think the main issue I have is in the phrasing.

I have no issue with saying that walking confidently, with purpose, without earphones, not on your phone, makes you a less attractive target for an opportunist violent criminal (of any type, mugging, sexual, etc).

Though, of course, it isn't addressing the underlying issue - just trying to make that criminal pick someone other than your loved one. Which is a deeply uncomfortable thought.

What you can't do is turn it around. Walking that way isn't a magic talisman and nor does not walking that way make you a victim.

Snazzynewyear Mon 29-Apr-13 22:06:33

I think you were right to point it out. There must be a way to say 'do everything you can to protect yourself but the problem comes from people who choose to do the wrong thing, not you as the recipient doing the wrong thing'. I really dislike the way that the person you mention said it. It does sound very 'you're bringing it on yourself'.

DuelingFanjo Mon 29-Apr-13 22:08:20

There's a stupid thing that he's round Facebook telling women not to dress a certain way, not to have your hair tied back so rapists can't granite and so on. Just utterly ridiculous victim blaming shite.

Sadly someone will be along shortl to explain why women in short skirts are like unlocked cards.

Personally I think things like this are utter shite.

DuelingFanjo Mon 29-Apr-13 22:08:59

Fore granite read 'grab it' - stupid iPad.

NiceTabard Mon 29-Apr-13 22:10:29

It's an awful thing to say
And when it comes to rape - pretty unlikely to be true? Given that most rapes are carried out by someone known to the victim and thus how they are walking at any given moment is unlikely to have much to do with anything.
It a, for various reasons (what does it even MEAN? It's pretty bloody vague isn't it) and so, what, they shouldn't go outside at all?

Load of balls glad you said something to your friend.

NiceTabard Mon 29-Apr-13 22:12:20

Oh whoops what happened there...

Should say lots of people can't do the "walk" for various reasons and so what are they supposed to do? Stay indoors for their whole life or say yes if I go out and someone rapes me it's my fault as I'm old / young / disabled / whatever it might be.

sunlightonthegrass Mon 29-Apr-13 22:15:01

Yeah, we were talking about some recent muggings and sexual assaults that have been carried out near the local market and she trotted that one out. I sort of made a hmm face and said "god, that's an awful thing to say, you make it sound like they asked for it!"

She backtracked then and clarified what she'd meant - about not listening to headphones, not appearing distracted or vague - and I could see what she meant and to be fair she was pretty apologetic but some of the other people we were with were all "It's truuuuue!" which made me wonder if I was alone in thinking it's a shit thing to say?

I can't stand anything that makes it sound like you (general you) are responsible for other people's nastiness, cruelty or personality defects in any way.

On a purely practical level, I think she has a point.

On a moral/ethical level it does amount to victim-blaming.

I like 'Meet an attacker, be attacked' - nice and succinct.

sunlightonthegrass Mon 29-Apr-13 22:16:47

Pacific I do agree, but can't we (as a nation I suppose, not you and me personally! grin) think of ways of phrasing it that don't turn it around on the victim?

bubbles1231 Mon 29-Apr-13 22:17:45

My sister was really nervous when we went out as young adults- she would look around her, clutch my arm at the slightest noise and do a half run-walk thing if she saw anyone she thought was suspicious (and that seemed to be most people).
She was the one who the wierdos approached, who was flashed at etc so I think that predators do spot something different about body language.

NiceTabard Mon 29-Apr-13 22:21:08

Strange.
I was flashed at followed etc etc etc and I always felt confident and cheerful.
Must have been something else I was "doing wrong" I guess hmm [rolly eyes]

NiceTabard Mon 29-Apr-13 22:22:10

bubbles what do you suggest then is done about vulnerable people and the people who are looking for prey?

AuntieStella Mon 29-Apr-13 22:24:27

I suppose it depends on whether you think the attacker selects the victim.

If you take the rape headline out of it, and think instead of another type of violent criminal - do they look for certain types, such as Tobin, whose victims looked similar, or the mugger who picks and old lady on pension day, or the snatcher who is looking for the person waving their phone about, or the bag thief who looks for the moments of inattention to your handbag, or the attacker who looks for someone teetering in hells rather than the athletic type in trainers. None of those victims were asking for it, and some of the victim selection criteria are inherent characteristics (such as age/appearance) about which you can do nothing.

But training in situation awareness can remind you of those factors over which you have a choice and how to minimise risks arising from your choices. It's the sort of thing that I want my DCs - of both sexes, for young men are also likely victims of violent crime - to learn about.

NiceTabard Mon 29-Apr-13 22:26:30

I suppose those things happened when I was quite young. That is a form of vulnerability.

I don't buy that it's up to the victim not to be seen as prey by a predator who they don't even know is prey and who they don't know what sort of prey they are looking for.

And some people will be vulnerable no matter what due to all sorts of factors.

Saying "oh well they will pick vulnerable people so don't look vulnerable" doesn't assist the people who just are vulnerable, and doesn't stop the crime it just moves it onto someone else. Which is simply not an acceptable solution.

Well, it's a bit along the lines of 'Don't rape' as an anti-raping slogan, not 'Don't wear a short skirt/get very drunk/go to dodgy parts of town'.

I have been flashed and groped (in public places, so never been in any particular physical danger that I know of) and I walk confidently, rarely feel scared, never drank huge amounts, never had the legs for short skirts wink etc etc. Random, dumb luck does come into it, I am sure.

Let's face it, rape/sexual assault is not about sex, it's about control/anger.

NiceTabard Mon 29-Apr-13 22:27:44

Well quite auntiestella.

the difficulty lies when the "advice" is a load of bollocks and the only people being exhorted to follow it are female.

Oh, yes, and the crime then just being moved to somebody who cannot help appearing or in fact feeling more vulnerable, is just morally more than dubious.
Until all people inclined to random or not so random violence are <ahem> persuaded of the error of their ways, I know what I would advise my daughters. If I had any.
As it is, my boys learn about respecting others as much as themselves, never to force physical closeness unless invited, No means No etc. In an age-appropriate manner (my 3 year old is currently very fond of licking my cleavage. In public. Without my consent. But he'll learn).

Levity aside, I do think parents of boys have a responsiblity here.

AuntieStella Mon 29-Apr-13 22:35:44

The good advice is that which applies to both sexes and multiple types of offence. And is about reducing risk, not a guarantee of ever being risk free.

bubbles1231 Mon 29-Apr-13 22:48:47

Nice I don't have an answer to that.
The problem is that there will always be attackers. All we can do is try to educate our young women AND men ( because it's not only women who are victims of rape) to take as many precautions as possible, to try and think ahead and read possible dangerous situations.

NiceTabard Mon 29-Apr-13 22:58:09

I think all we can do is

believe victims
support them carefully when they report crimes
make sure that the authorities take accusations seriously
make sure that multiple accusations / cautions / convictions are linked up so as to get better intelligence / more chance of successful prosecution
lock violent criminals up until a whole bunch of experts deem them to be of no risk to the public, rather than for an arbitrary amount of time

that sort of thing.

I am not going to be in the business of telling children, elderly people, disabled people, mentally ill people that they need to do x, y and z and if they don't do that and get attacked well really it's their own behaviour that's to blame.

This whole approach is riddled with victim - blaming and is a strong part of the reason that so few victims come forward.

There is often a misapprehension of 'risk': you can have a high risk of something, and it does not happy. You can have a low risk, and it does happen. But minimising risk still seems sensible, non?

And the types of attacks men and women suffer are often different. Yes, sexual attacks/rape happen to men too, but non-sexual violent attacks are far more common in young men. I live in Glasgow and knife-crime is still a shocking problem - women do of course on occasion get stabbed, but much more commenly, it's men. Young men. I do think initiatives like knife amnesties are a Good Thing. Encouraging young men NOT to carry knives when they go out as it common practice for some communities.

Saying to a young man person to avoid certain night clubs/wearing certain football stips IN certain night clubs/making eye contact with certain types is not considered 'blaming the victim' as much as suggesting that another young woman person should use some common sense.

Oh gawd, I know what I mean in my head, but it's hard to put down so it makes sense.
No victim EVER asked to be a victim. No attacker was EVER made to attack; certainly not by something the victim did.

<<ties herself in knots>>

x-post with Nice.

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