Asking for it: Incentives, theft and Tinder

TW: sexual violence

Another woman has been attacked by someone she met on Tinder. The first response from police? Women shouldn’t meet Internet strangers if they don’t want to get raped.

@mizjwilliams has the right reaction:

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Why is that controversial? Because well-meaning people think women should “keep themselves safe” by adopting “commonsense measures” like taking a friend with them on dates (really? Are these people not familiar with what a date is?). They say dressing modestly, drinking moderately, and keeping to well-lit areas are sensible precautions, like locking your car. You wouldn’t leave your car unlocked, would you? That would be just asking to have your possessions stolen. So a woman who doesn’t “keep herself safe” is just asking to be raped. Right?

No, numpty, of course that’s not right. A woman’s body is not an unlocked car. To equate assault on a human being with theft of property is, you know, dehumanising.

Why do we lock our cars? Because, as a society, we accept a certain level of petty theft as inevitable. Preventing theft entirely is expensive, both financially and in civil liberties; it would require more police, more surveillance cameras, more lighting. Also stronger deterrence – much harsher penalties for people caught stealing. And also eradication of poverty so that no one has an incentive to steal. Even then people might steal just for fun. We’d have to try to educate everyone that stealing is wrong. All to avoid the occasional theft of a trivial amount of property. It would be so costly that, on balance, we’d rather accept that theft is a part of society. We’d rather have to lock our cars.

Well-meaning people, do you accept that rape is a part of society? Is assault on a person so trivial that it isn’t worth the effort to prevent? Is it disproportionately expensive to make society safe for everyone? Is it just too hard to educate people that rape and assault are wrong?

You better answer those questions for yourself before the next sexual assault hits the media. Because, sure as daylight, you’re going to have another opportunity to ask why she was alone, why she was drunk, why she was meeting people on Tinder. Will you ask that again? Or will you ask why he was manipulative, why he was violent, why he thought that he had the right to treat a woman’s body like a piece of property?

Could it be that he thought that because he heard it from the police, the media, and all the well-meaning people who blamed the victim last time?

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11 thoughts on “Asking for it: Incentives, theft and Tinder

  1. I definitely agree with you! I’m sick of the media influencing public perception and equating actions like this to the victim not taking precautions or being careful enough. No. This is not the way to look at it… and if we continue to perpetuate this victim blaming perception we’re going to keep excusing the rapists for what they’ve done. No situation is an excuse for rape. ABSOLUTELY NONE. And we shouldn’t be perpetuating a culture that’s first reaction to a story where someone was raped was “how much had they had to drink?” It’s just giving rapists and would be rapists more leverage to assault someone because they know they’ll partially get away with it! I’m sick of a living in a society that cares more about blaming the victim then it does about blaming the persecutor. This has got to stop!

    Alana

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  2. Well if you don’t know the person, you don’t know if they’re a rapist, murderer, mugger, you know nothing about them. It’s only common sense to not meet them alone. I don’t think its that the police, media and society in general are just accepting rape. They are trying to instill a little awareness and caution on the womens part. Basically the police are trying to prevent rape, by warning the women not to meet a perfect stranger alone, and especially not intoxicated. Thank you for letting me chime in.

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    • Trying to help is laudable. Unfortunately, this type of help – advising victims on how not to become victims – creates, however unintentionally, a society in which rape is acceptable. Every time a rapist hears “be more careful” aimed at a victim, he hears “people who aren’t careful are asking for it” as the message for himself.

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  3. > No, numpty, of course that’s not right. A woman’s body is not an unlocked car. To equate assault on a human being with theft of property is, you know, dehumanising.

    To a rapist a woman in a vulnerable position IS like an unlocked car. A rapist views women (or men) in a dehumanising way by definition. That is what makes them a rapist. There is nothing ‘humanising’ about raping someone is there?

    In any case, we own our bodies, just as we own our cars. Rape is a violation of our property (trespass/ theft), just as car theft is.

    You’re confusing how rapists view women/ men with how well-meaning people trying to give practical advice view women/ men. If I advised you to not get in a cage with lions because the lions will just view you as food that does not mean that *I* view you as food does it?

    > Preventing theft entirely is expensive, both financially and in civil liberties; it would require more police, more surveillance cameras, more lighting.

    The one thing you failed to mention was better parenting. Particularly the presence of males (fathers) during early childhood development (0-6 years) which we know is essential for the proper development of empathy and self restraint – two components which naturally stop us doing bad things on impulse. We all have selfish impulses (“I want that thing in the shop window!”) but our empathy and self restraint stop us from acting immorally on those impulses.

    *Statistically speaking* single mother households churn out the greatest proportion of criminals into society. And women hit their children 50% more than men (the average middle class mother assaults her child 900 times a year).

    The key to ending both street crime and rape is raising children with peaceful, loving families – with mothers AND fathers involved in the child’s development in those crucial early years. We need to end violent, abusive and neglectful parenting and try to deter women from being single mothers by choosing men more carefully and NOT choosing to get pregnant without being in a committed, healthy and loving relationship. None of these things are promoted by feminism – which has for decades preached the idea of doing away with fathers altogether (and replacing them with the socialised state) as well as preaching it’s OK to abandon your baby/ child as soon as possible to ‘day-abandonment centres’ so you can go back to your ‘fulfilling’ job (even if you can well afford to stay at home and be a proper parent).

    Feminism could hardly do more to encourage more rapists in society. But, hey, more rapists = good news for the (hugely profitable) feminist movement.

    > Well-meaning people, do you accept that rape is a part of society?

    Offering sensible advice on how best to avoid putting yourself at risk of being raped is NOT the same thing as being apathetic about the issue of rape in society…. just as advising people to use car seat belts and have airbags fitted is not the same as being apathetic about drunk driving.

    > Is assault on a person so trivial that it isn’t worth the effort to prevent?

    99.9% of rapists were abused as children. The way to *prevent* rape in society is to stop abusing children. Offering advice on how best to avoid putting yourself at risk of being raped has nothing to do with preventing rapists. It is advice to prevent people becoming victims of rapists – which is a totally separate issue.

    > Is it disproportionately expensive to make society safe for everyone?

    If you mean “is it possible for other people to guarantee my safety even when I refuse to take personal responsibility for my own safety?” then the answer is “no”.

    > Is it just too hard to educate people that rape and assault are wrong?

    Yes. By definition rapists cannot be ‘educated’ that rape is wrong. Rapists are not lacking an ‘education’, they are re-enacting childhood abuse. They are expressing the damage they incurred during childhood. Trying to educate rapists to not rape is like trying to reprogram a smashed up computer to open Word documents properly. It’s TOO LATE. The damage is already done.

    > will you ask why he was manipulative, why he was violent, why he thought that he had the right to treat a woman’s (GENDER EQUALITY INSERT: or man’s) body like a piece of property?

    There is no need to ask these questions. We already know the answers. We already know what makes the vast majority of rapists commit rape. Abuse in early childhood is the overwhelming factor that causes men and women to commit rape in later life.

    > Could it be that he thought that because he heard it from the police, the media, and all the well-meaning people who blamed the victim last time?

    Advising women (or men) on how not to put themselves in social situations that are KNOWN to increase the risk of rape (or assault, or whatever) is NOT the same as ‘blaming the victim’ (in the sense of excusing the perpetrator).

    It IS possible to blame the victim for being irresponsible AND blame the perpetrator for committing an immoral act. It’s not an either/ or situation.

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    • Thanks for that comment. You just compared rapists to: car thieves (again), animals, car crashes, broken computers, and said that they are too damaged to take responsibility for their actions. What’s your investment in excusing rapists? A rape isn’t an accident that happens to someone, done by an animal with no control over its actions, or caused by a broken piece of machinery that can’t be helped. A rape is a crime that one person chooses to commit against another. A rapist is a human being who listens to people like you telling them they can’t help it, they were made that way, and anyway the victim shouldn’t have asked for it. You may think you’re just helping victims by offering this advice, but you’re also telling rapists that rape is okay.

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      • > You just compared rapists to: car thieves (again), animals, car crashes, broken computers…

        Incorrect. I compared a person taking steps to avoiding becoming a victim of rapists to a person taking steps to avoid becoming a victim of care theft, wild animal attacks or broken computers.

        > … and said that they are too damaged to take responsibility for their actions

        You’re mixing up two different issues. The evidence is clear that people who commit rape are almost always victims of abuse themselves, usually from their early childhood. That is one issue.

        Then there is the other issue: should rapists be HELD responsible for their actions? And the answer is: Yes, of course they should. Being abused is not an excuse to commit rape.

        > What’s your investment in excusing rapists?

        As I already explained…. encouraging people to not put themselves in unnecessary danger of being raped is NOT the same as ‘excusing rapists’.

        The investment made by UNDERSTANDING and ACTING on the knowledge that rapists (a) exist (b) do not care about people trying to ‘educate’ them to not rape is returned by having a society where there are less rape victims. It really is that simple. Less rape victims is (IMHO) a good thing. Do you agree?

        Obviously less rape victims is bad news for the feminism movement which thrives on women’s (and men’s) misery, fears, suffering, anger, hate and distrust. The feminist movement has a clear incentive to encourage women to put themselves into situations where they are more likely to be raped – such as meeting stranger off the internet or getting drunk, wearing provocative clothing, flirting with men and then passing out …… or making out with men all evening while avoiding the issue of giving/ asking for consent until the very last micro second before actual penetration. And feminism DOES encourage all of these behaviours – therefore feminism DOES encourage more rape in society.

        > A rape isn’t an accident that happens to someone, done by an animal with no control over its actions, or caused by a broken piece of machinery that can’t be helped. A rape is a crime that one person chooses to commit against another.

        Yes most rapes are not random accidents, and most could have been avoided by spotting the warning signs – or by not choosing to put oneself into risky situations (such as meeting up with strangers without taking adequate steps to ensure your own safety).

        While rapists should be held responsible for their actions it is also true that the majority of rapists are simply re-enacting abuse they suffered as children. It’s known as ‘the cycle of abuse’. In that sense rapists ARE like broken pieces of machinery. The human mind, the emotions and a person’s psychological responses CAN be broken by abuse – just as a human bones can be broken by abuse. The mind/ psyche is a lot more fragile than bones – especially when we are infants and children which is when most rapists were themselves abused.

        Our basic personality is formed by the time we are six. If all we’ve known by that age is domination, humiliations, force, coercion, ‘spanking’ (assault – typically on a sexual area, the bottom), shouting, pushing, shoving, cruelty, abuse etc at the hands of our parents then that becomes ‘set’ into our psyche as part of our personality. For some people the result is dysfunctional relationships, depression, drug abuse, panic attacks and a general difficulty with coping at life….. while other people will simply repeat those behaviours and end up abusing other people in their lives (AKA the ‘cycle of abuse’).

        > A rapist is a human being who listens to people like you telling them they can’t help it, they were made that way, and anyway the victim shouldn’t have asked for it.

        This is a very weak (and totally unsupported) claim based on a mischaracterisation of what I am actually saying. Do you have any EVIDENCE (studies etc) which show that advising people to not put themselves in risky situations encourages potential rapists who are ‘listening in’ to go out and commit rape?

        > You may think you’re just helping victims by offering this advice, but you’re also telling rapists that rape is okay.

        Are you actually saying that advising women (or men) to not put themselves into unnecessary situations that we KNOW will statistically increase their likelihood of being raped is the same as telling rapists it’s OK to rape?

        I just want to be crystal clear about this. Is that what you are saying?

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      • Your statement is too simplistic to have any meaning.

        In a world with rapists there is an issue which needs solving.

        In a world without rapists there is no issue which needs solving.

        > The only way to have a world without rape is to have a world without rapists.

        This just means “in a world without rape, rape is no longer an issue”.

        Like most things to do with feminism, it has no bearing in the real world we actually live in and it does not propose any plan of action. As such it is completely disempowering and can only serve to reinforce the idea that you are (as a feminist) merely an inert objects with no agency, responsibility, power, control or responsibility for the way society is.

        Understanding that we can choose to avoid certain behaviours that would put us at risk of being raped is *empowering* because it allows us to do something to avoid becoming rape victims.

        Understanding that rapists are almost always created by abusive upbringing is also *empowering* because it allows us to solve rape (rather than just complain about it), by stopping the main CAUSE of rape which is abusive parenting (ie hitting, dominating, humiliating and of course raping children).

        Do you want to avoid being a rape victim?

        If “yes” then you will choose to behave in ways that keep that risk to a minimum. If “no” then you won’t.

        Do you wish to see a society free of rapists?

        If “yes” then you will advocate peaceful parenting and condemn parents who are abusive and you will be a peaceful parent yourself (if and when you ever have children). If “no” then you won’t.

        Feminism does not advocate either of these solutions because feminism is not interested in solutions. Solutions mean there will be nothing left for feminism to complain about.

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      • Feminists want a world without rapists. You want a world without rape victims. But that’s impossible; while there are people who would commit rape, everyone is a potential rape victim. No amount of “precautions” can change that fundamental disempowerment. The only thing that can change is the extent to which society condones rape.

        Blaming a victim for failing to take “precautions” is condoning rape.

        Holding rapists to account for their actions, without any excuse arising from the victim’s behaviour, is avoiding condoning rape. Without that they can never begin to learn not to rape; or to put it another way, they can never begin to heal from whatever damage makes them objectify and hurt other humans.

        The solution that feminism offers is deeply aspirational: treat everyone like a human being at all times. Assert that everyone has the right to safety. Never accept any erosion of that right. It’s simple.

        You, on the other hand, aspire to a world that dehumanises attackers by denying them responsibility, and dehumanises all people by denying them safety.

        I will not be content with your “realistic” solution. I will fight every day to see our ideal realised.

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    • Your comments about the victims of abuse by parents are also extremely disrespectful to the real victims of such abuse. To suggest that they will become rapists, and can never heal from their experiences – that’s a terrible thing to say. As they say in rehab for violent behaviour, maybe your past makes you feel like being violent, but you, the human being, get to choose whether it rules you.

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      • > Your comments about the victims of abuse by parents are also extremely disrespectful to the real victims of such abuse.

        Are you saying that people who suffered abuse as children (whether they become rapists in adult life or not) are NOT themselves also ‘real’ victims?

        > To suggest that they will become rapists, and can never heal from their experiences – that’s a terrible thing to say.

        I am not ‘suggesting’ or ‘saying’ this. The studies PROVE that the overwhelming majority of rapists were abused as children. It is a FACT. The data shows what it shows – no less, no more.

        > As they say in rehab for violent behaviour, maybe your past makes you feel like being violent, but you, the human being, get to choose whether it rules you.

        Yes. It is our moral duty to try and heal ourselves from the abuse done to us as children, so that we do not end up just re-enacting that same abuse onto other adults – or our own children.

        And healing is also preferable too. Most people were abused to some degree as children, even if it was ‘just’ being hit (AKA ‘spanking’) and dealing with our own abusive past gives us the only real chance to be happy and loving. But it takes work.

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