ETA: Conversation seems to be going nowhere, with people repeating the same points, desperately trying to get the last word, or just insulting people they disagree with. I don’t see much in the way of productive comments/discussion at this point, so I’m turning off the comments. There may be a follow-up post if I have time, or there may not. Depends on deadlines…
So apparently Miss Nevada said something about the importance of awareness and self-defense for women, some people responded with varying degrees of anger on Twitter, and Larry Correia chose to respond with a blog post called “The Naive Idiocy of Teaching Rapists Not To Rape.”
I’m not gonna waste a lot of time here, and I’ll preface this by noting that as someone who studies and teaches self-defense, I have nothing against people learning to protect themselves.
- Self-defense isn’t and can’t be the only answer. If it is, we’re basically telling everyone who isn’t physically or emotionally capable of fighting off every attacker, no matter how much power that attacker might have over them, that they’re on their own. Sucks to be them, eh?
- How many self-defense courses teach that you’re vastly more likely to be raped by a friend, acquaintance, or loved one? How many courses actually prepare you to use the kind of force you need to use against someone you like or love?
- To LC’s claim that rape culture is a myth and we’re just dealing with individual, isolated criminals, and that all of those studies have been debunked (in which he omitted any links or citations to the alleged debunking … strange, considering how grumpy he is about people supposedly “ignoring reality”):
- A study of 1800+ college men found that roughly 1 in 20 admitted to attempting or committing sexual assault. There are 138 million men in the U.S. Assuming 76% of them are 18 0r older (college age), then statistically, it’s good to know that “only” about 5+ million of them have attempted or committed sexual assault, eh? (Not counting those who begin raping in high school or earlier…)
- Or you could look at this 2007 study that found 1 in 20 college women were raped in a single year. Now extrapolate that to four years in college.
- Oh look, another study about men admitting rape, but this time it’s 1 in 16 men.
- Here’s a National Institute of Justice study that found roughly 1 in 5 women experienced rape or attempted rape at least once in their life.
- There’s a lot more actual research and data out there, but you get the idea.
- Finally, on the “naive idiocy” of teaching men not to rape, I’m gonna just quote from an old blog post:
- If only we had information showing that education can be effective in reducing sexual assault and rape-enabling behaviors/attitudes, not to mention research on how debunking rape myths can increase bystander intervention, or that “Men who consume alcohol two or more times a week and who have peer support for behaving in an emotionally violent manner toward women and for being physically and sexually violent toward women are 10 times more likely to commit sexual aggression toward women.”
Correia is right that there are a lot of different kinds of predators out there. When it comes to sexual assault, the majority of them are men, and they’re far more likely to be someone the victim knows. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, yet for as long as I’ve been working with rape survivors and speaking out about rape, there have been countless people insisting that the Only True Solution is to turn all women into gun-toting ninjas.
I don’t understand the fear some people — again, this seems to be primarily men — have when it comes to looking at other solutions. Instead of reading the research, they just proclaim that education will never work, because reasons. They ignore the pervasiveness of rape myths, the myriad approaches to things like bystander intervention, the utterly broken way our legal system treats rape, and all of the other factors that contribute to the prevalence of rape in our society.
There’s nothing new in LC’s rant. It’s the same attitude we’ve seen for ages, an attitude that conveniently puts the burden on victims to end rape, oversimplifies the problem, and allows the rest of us to look away and pretend there isn’t a real or widespread problem here, despite countless studies showing otherwise.
Some of you are aware of the current conversation in SF/F fandom about several Big Names who sexually assaulted hundreds of children, and how fandom stood by and let it happen, despite there being multiple eyewitnesses to these assaults. Call me a naive idiot, but I wonder how many children would have escaped those assaults if others in fandom had intervened or reported them or enforced any kind of consequences, anything to teach the perpetrators that this kind of behavior was unacceptable.
I wonder how many victims we’re continuing to turn our back on today because we assume there’s no point in doing anything to intervene.