Shift from usual victim blaming in Packers case?

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It’s nothing new. Several Green Bay Packers are alleged to have sexually assaulted two women who came to their rented condo. The police have released all but one of the men and are still investigating that man.

What’s really interesting about this case is a comment thread at CNN. There’s a sickening ton of the usual, “Women need to take more responsibility, because what do you think is going to happen when two women go to a condo with seven guys, duh?” (It follows, of course, that if women should know it’s unsafe to ever be alone with or outnumbered by men, then all men are disgusting rapacious beasts who can’t behave ethically. But that’s how victim-blaming works: you can only logically blame the prey for getting near the predator if you assume the predator is incapable of making judgments, and therefore innocent of all predatory behavior.)

But there are other comments. Some snippets:

So it hasn’t yet occurred to NFL players that picking up women in bars is a risky career move?

When will these players learn — STAY AWAY from these women. You keep playing with fire, you will get burned.

These guys never learn. Whether guilty or innocent stay away from situations that even imply you did something wrong. Some role models…huh?

why do these rich jocks have to try to be macho men and get girls into their rooms like their first year of college?

I don’t know why anybody on an NFL roster would do something like this even if it was consensual…it’s gonna get out and get you in trouble. Get your one hot trophy and be content.

dont these players know that the women want to be assaulted so they can get millions of dollars?

While most of these comments boil down to the still-very-problematic idea that women live for the chance to claim some rich guy raped them so they can make a bundle, it’s interesting to see anyone at all wondering when men are going to start taking the responsibility to avoid situations where rape allegations tend to occur. When you put the burden on women to avoid situations where rape is at all likely, and you actually check your facts to see in which situations rape tends to occur, you find you’re asking women to avoid… oh, pretty much every situation life offers. Even church. The only way to “avoid” being raped by men is to avoid men entirely. As Pearl said the other day: “But you can’t avoid being alone with a man, ever. I mean, even a separatist has to take elevators.” Indeed.

But if you transformed one of those ungodly long “Don’t Get Yourself Raped, Ladies” lists into a “Don’t Get Yourself Rape-Accused, Gentlemen” list, it would be a lot more manageable and go something like this:

  1. Don’t have sex with women you don’t know.
  2. Don’t go into hotel rooms or bars with women you don’t know.
  3. Don’t pick up strange women.
  4. Don’t get drunk in public.

Only 4 items. If you absolutely must assign responsibility automatically based on gender rather than examining each situation for specifics to get at the truth, it makes far more sense to put the responsibility on men – particularly rich, powerful, connected men – for avoiding situations where rape allegations tend to occur (since, thanks to how infrequently rapes are reported, rape allegations are actually far less common than rape itself). I realize this would limit the all-important male opportunity to have more sex than Casanova and drink epic amounts of alcohol in public places with pals, but my eyes remain dry. I just think of the opportunities women have been deprived of over the centuries, with rape as the prescribed punishment whenever we got out of line.

Shoe, other foot. Other foot, shoe.

Comments

  1. sbg says

    When you put the burden on women to avoid situations where rape is at all likely, and you actually check your facts to see in which situations rape tends to occur, you find you’re asking women to avoid… oh, pretty much every situation life offers.

    Jenn, I love you so much right now.

    Victim blaming just rolls off the tongue so easily, I would venture there is a fair number of us who do it, have done it or will do it without even realizing that is precisely what we’re doing.

    “Well, dressed like that, no wonder…”
    “What was Person X doing walking alone at night anyway?”
    “Person X should have known not to sit there.”
    “I’m not saying I blame Person X…” (Stop right there, because yes, you already are.)

    With the sample comments you gave, I think only the third didn’t make me want to punch a pillow, though.

  2. SunlessNick says

    With the sample comments you gave, I think only the third didn’t make me want to punch a pillow, though.

    You’re more forgiving than I am.

  3. Maria says

    Heh. I don’t know how I feel about not victim-blaming when it’s based under the assumption that the women are lying and the players are being duped. I mean, it’s not like one’s LESS misogynistic or one’s LESS part of a rape-culture.

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