Stupidity can take many forms. This blog, for example. Or a center page article from The Hindu. In which, Julie Bindel argues that women need not assume personal responsibility for their safety.
Rape, under any circumstance, is a crime, nay, a sin. There can be no justification for assaulting a woman. Roughly, from this point, Julie Bindel and sanity part company.
In rape trials, the perpetrator of the crime can plant doubts in the minds of the judge or the jury by claiming that the act was committed with the consent of the victim. The signals of consent, as misread by the assailant, could be the victim’s promiscuity, revealing attire, lewd language, the influence of alcohol etc. Bindel argues that the victim cannot be blamed in such cases, because she is only exercising her individual right.
Fair enough. The only thing we need to check is if Bindel locks her house when she leaves it for work.
We were taught in middle school that with rights come responsibilities. Feminists like Bindel hold the view that society must protect women, even if they themselves violate their individual rights flagrantly.
“Let’s be clear; women have the right to go out, dressed outrageously and be gagging to pull a man for sex.” If Bindel’s argument were true, people should hang signs outside their homes proclaiming that a particular room has jewellery and cash worth a million dollars. A map or floor plan might help. Not just that. In case such a house is robbed, then when the case comes to court, judges should recommend the houseowner to the Nobel Prize Committee.
Locked houses get robbed, no doubt. But that is no reason why any sane person would leave the doors of his house open at all times. Maybe there is some obscure survey that says otherwise, but chances are an unprotected house is more at risk than even a half-secure house.
The theft is still a theft; it is a crime, and punishment for it must be no less than it should be for a normal theft. But what should not be lost on the courts, the victim and society is that fact that while the victim of the crime did not actively encourage the thief, criminals are only looking for chinks in the victim’s armor to advance their aggression.
Consent is a tricky issue for courts to establish weeks or months after the crime has been committed. But the legal system can only go some distance. Perpetrators of rape, or any other crime, should be shown no mercy. But the onus is always on people to protect themselves. If they fail to, they are partly to blame as well.
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