Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Louise Pennington and others who think preaching safety is 'victim blaming' are putting our daughters at risk

Ours is a culture that "blames women for drinking alcohol rather than men for committing rape" according to self-proclaimed feminist Louise Pennington. If a writer or an anti-rape campaign dares to remind young women about the risks they assume when they drink and have sex with men they don't know, it is "victim blaming."

It doesn't seem to occur to this shrill zealot that a lot of people who remind other people to be safe when it comes to rape might actually believe that rapists alone are responsible for their rapes. They just want to keep people safe. Suggesting that preaching safety is victim blaming is the epitome of a non sequitur; the one has nothing to do with the other. Unfortunately, this non-sequitur has become the mantra of an entire movement. Few people outside of Pennington's circle of like-minded nitwits are actually buying it.

Now, if the sum total of efforts to reduce the prevalence of rape was to tell women to be careful, that's a legitimate beef. But when Pennington suggests that Emily Yoffe at Slate, of all people, doesn't want to hold rapists responsible, that only underscores the puerility, the pure idiocy, at work here. By shaming people of good will who are trying to protect our daughters, they are actually putting our daughters at risk.

Pennington's not finished. You have to wade through some serious bullshit before she finally gets around to her real point. Society needs to change and "this change needs to start with a message to men: rape must stop. Men must take personal responsibility for their own perpetuation of rape culture and men need to call out other men who are engaging in sexually predatory behaviour."

Ah, finally. "Men," as a class, are guilty by reason of penis.

Intolerance of rape is a noble and proper impulse. Assuming all "men" are complicit in perpetuating it is worse than the victim blaming this stupid woman screeches about. Rape is not normalized, it is aberrant criminal behavior that is universally detested among all rational people. Rapists, not "men," rape, and rapists can be either men or women. Pennington would do well to read what Dr. David Lisak says about rape.

Wouldn't it be helpful to tell both young women and young men that, as Dr. Lisak points out, the typical rapist is a serial criminal who preys on drunken, unsuspecting women at parties? Or is that "victim blaming"? Wouldn't it be useful for both young men and young women to be reminded that, as a matter of scientific fact, men and women view casual sex differently? That women feel remorse more than men following one-night stands? Or is that "victim blaming"? A study shows how common remorse is for women following one-night stands: "Overall women’s feelings were more negative than men’s [about one-night stand casual sex]. Eighty per cent of men had overall positive feelings about the experience compared to 54 per cent of women. . . . . The predominant negative feeling reported by women was regret at having been 'used'. Women were also more likely to feel that they had let themselves down and were worried about the potential damage to their reputation if other people found out. Women found the experience less sexually satisfying and, contrary to popular belief, they did not seem to view taking part in casual sex as a prelude to long-term relationships." See here: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080625092023.htm Similarly, Amy Bonomi, a professor of human sexuality at OSU specializing in domestic violence and assault, said: "Women tend to feel bad after having a "random hook up," she said. Typically men are not upset by these occurrences. Bonomi attributed this situation to society's "gender double standard" that men are expected to be more sexually forward than women.

Pennington doesn't want young women to hear any of that. She's too busy spewing hatred on an entire gender.

And we would be remiss if we failed to mention that Pennington would discard any semblance of due process any time a woman cries rape. "Rape victims," she bellows, "should never be required to testify in open court. . . ."

Why bother with the trial, Pennington? In your mind, you've already convicted an entire gender.