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Outrage at Blaming Rapists, Not Women

Zerlina-Maxwell---HannityA proposal: “Blame the criminal, not the victim.” And there’s an uproar?

Last week rape survivor, Zerlina Maxwell, went on Fox’s “Hannity” to discuss rape and guns. But instead of saying women should drink less, dress modestly, arm themselves and learn self-defense, like she “should have,” she told Hannity:

I don’t think that we should be telling women anything. I think we should be telling men not to rape women and start the conversation there… If you train men not to grow up to become rapists, you prevent rape.

And all hell breaks loose. The Blaze calls her words “bizarre.” Blogs and tweets say she should get raped.

“Thanks for the feedback, Internet dopes. Why would anybody think that you need some sensitivity training?” responds Mary Elizabeth Williams at Salon.

Maxwell tells Salon that, “We need to teach (men) to see women as human beings and respect their bodily autonomy.” Williams points out that when you do, things change:

After Canada launched a “Don’t be that guy” consent awareness campaign in 2011, the sexual assault rate dropped for the first time in years — by 10 percent.

In fact, violence against women is much lower in non-patriarchal cultures that respect women. Both rape and battering were pretty much nonexistent among American Indians before Europeans arrived. Rape and battering have also dropped in the U.S. with a rise in feminism, according to Justice Bureau surveys of victims.

But why the rage when the focus of rape prevention turns from women to men?

Actually, the outrage hasn’t come from everywhere. It comes from right-wing groups — Fox News viewers and the like — who bolster the haves over the have-nots: typically whites, the rich, heteros and in this case, men, over everyone else.

Here, the matter relates to who is free and who is not. Do not even think about asking men to limit themselves. Women, on the other hand, should limit themselves: what they wear, what they drink, what time of day they leave the house… They must prepare themselves for defense against men who refuse to limit themselves. And continuing the right-wing rant, women must be stripped of freedom over their reproductive lives, entirely. No right to your own body in any way.

In this worldview even if rapists ACT, responsibility for the act must fall on the victim. Because men must be free, but women must not.

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