Monday, April 8, 2013

Blaming the Victim

It seems that shit comes to me in groups. Yesterday I was accused of 'blaming the victim' when it comes to danger recognition, then someone else got upset with me over my answer to the first person (because the second person passionately believes in women's rights) and this morning -- on Allexperts -- someone asked me about blaming the victim of a crime --especially rape. Here is my full answer:

I'm not an insurance company or a lawyer... I don't give a fuck about 'blame.'

Both of those have a financial interest in placing blame. I'm about teaching people about staying out of the meat-grinder -- and how what they do overwhelmingly has direct influence on the speed setting of the damned meat-grinder.

Not always. But in a overwhelming majority of the time, what YOU do has a serious influence on whether you're in the meat-grinder, if it's turned on and how fast it is set for.

At the same time, I am the first to tell you: There are monsters out there. Monsters, who are walking  meat-grinders on a high speed setting and they will just grab people and throw them in.

But they are way, way less in numbers than people think. Ordinarily, the person DOES have control over climbing into the meat-grinder and turning it on. They sure as hell have control at what speed it's going to be set on.

Blame no. Kick that fucker to the curb. 'Actions having predictable outcomes because we are human beings' is what it's called.

The complexity of this, however, goes beyond just the immediate situation; it tracks back to all kinds of levels/lifestyle choices/comfort zones/socio-economic 'world views.' Here's a big one -- and since you asked in the context of rape --I'll answer that way.

I often tell women that forcible rape is viewed legally as 'grievous bodily injury.' That means the woman is legally allowed to blow his fuckin' brains into a fine pink mist. They can ram a knife into his heart and twist and -- from a legal standpoint -- it can be summed up as 'he needed killing.' Hey you know what? Gouging out an eyeball, tearing his throat out with her teeth or biting his cock off -- also on the table. (And very much something that the responding officers will have a hell of a hard time keeping a straight face over it happening to a rapist.)

Oddly enough there's a direct correlation to women who are willing to do this and the chances of them getting raped. Like odds are WAY low. Conversely, a woman who is NOT willing to do this has a much higher chance of being raped. Why? Because she's a safer victim.

Both crime and violence are INCREDIBLY predictable this way. This regardless of the person's sex. Safe victim yes. Not safe victim, no.  Pretty much a no brainer regarding violence.

Here's where it can -- and does -- get complicated. My willingness to commit extreme violence allows me to pass through (and function in) some extremely dangerous environments. Predators take one look at me while I am shopping in a shithole and say 'Uhhhh no. Let this one pass.'  (Not a safe target -- a term I prefer over 'victim') But there are a lot more factors involved -- especially my behavior and the circumstances.

Conversely, just because I'm willing to commit extreme violence will not --I repeat NOT --keep me safe if I'm being a complete asshole -- especially in their territory.

If I walk into a biker bar and loudly proclaim "You're a bunch of dickless pussies!" it's going to hit the fan. No matter how ready to commit violence I am, odds are good, I ain't gonna get out of there in one piece.  Me, meat grinder. Putting myself there. Flipping it onto high. DUH!

But, let's say I did that and bad things happened -- as they are wont to do. What would be the normal reaction if -- someone started advocating for me by telling anyone who brought up what lead to that bloodbath as  -- "You're blaming the victim! Marc had every right to walk into that bar and do that!"?

People would laugh in that person's face.

Because in essence, it doesn't matter how much of a bad ass I was, commonsense says you don't do that and NOT expect bad shit to happen. More than that, (assuming I survived) I would not be 'cleared' of the deaths and injuries I had committed while ~cough cough~ 'defending myself.' Not just because I had the power to withdraw, but because I'd participating in the creation and escalation of the incident.

Regardless if I lived or died, did the bikers commit a crime? Oh yeah. Does 'blaming me' make it less of a crime? No. Well at least not in states that don't have a fighting words doctrine. And even then it might be dropped from murder to manslaughter -- but convicted for manslaughter ain't the same thing as them walking free.

But -- and this is where 'blaming the victim' drives me up the wall -- the conviction is the result of what happens in court (i.e. how good of a lawyer they've got vs. how good the prosecutor is.)

It is NOT about society 'blaming the victim' Would folks think I'm a fucking idiot for what I did? Oh yeah. But 'them blaming me'  is not a free pass for the bikers. This issue is 'was a crime committed? Did they do it?" THAT is what the prosecution must prove (burden of proof). And if there's video of the event SODDI* isn't gong to hack it for the defense. So damned straight, the defense attorney is going to go after my behavior in order to sell it as 'self-defense' for his client.

Having said all of this, 'fuck fault.' Fault only matters -- and to most of us less than those who are trying to place blame -- AFTER an event. At the moment and place when/where it's going to happen, the only thing that matters is what YOU can do to prevent it happening to you.

You mentioned drunk and clothing -- which is a common selling point of those who accuse others of 'blaming the victim.' Again, restressing this point, a woman who is willing to rip someone's throat out is less likely to get raped.

Here's the rub, if she's drunk, surrounded by drunk/violent people and provoking them, there's a MUCH bigger chance of her ~having~ to rip someone's throat out.  Why? We'll get to that in a second.

 But if she doesn't have that 'willingness'  -- and those circumstances still apply -- there's a much, much higher risk of her getting raped.

The results are different.  But no matter, drunk, around violent/intoxicated people and being verbally aggressive ain't going to have a happy ending. That's because certain behaviors evoke negative responses regardless what the person's choice regarding extreme violence (me, biker bar, fuck you assholes).

Conversely, if a woman is around sober, non-violent people and she's not being verbally aggressive then it doesn't matter if she's drunk or how she's dressed. Odds are bad things ain't gonna happen.

This is not 'blame' or 'fault' it's circumstances, variables, who is involved and behaviors. Take this information and play with it. You take one detail and tweak it and you get different answers. What's the likely result of drunk, dressed 'like that' and aggressive among sober, nonviolent people? What if the drunk, violent people she's being drunk and aggressive with are family members?  What if she's a stranger to this environment/group? What if she's an entrenched member of the group who ordinarily has 'credit' with those involved? What if her credit rating is low? What if her brother is a known killer? What if she has no 'protection' except social conventions?

When it comes to the outcome of a situation, the details of the circumstances matter more than 'blame.' And in situations where bad shit happens, it ain't always going to be one kind of bad shit that happens. Blame? Who cares? That only matters if you survive.

And I've seen enough meat-grinder incidents to know
1) That survival -- much less non-injury -- is not guaranteed
2) No amount of blame is EVER as good as not putting yourself into the meat-grinder in the first place
3) If you are going to risk putting yourself into a meat-grinder
   a) know how to keep from turning it on.
   b) know what it sounds like when it's warming up
   c) don't be too proud/stupid/self-righteous to get the fuck out of there
   d) do NOT reduce your capability to do these things
   e) do NOT engage in ineffective force while standing in the meat-grinder. **


 *SODDI - Some other dude did it

**I was once nearly lynched at (city) Advisory Board on Rape for mentioning that in informal interviews of women who had been rape, I'd found approximately 80% of the time  that the 'victim' had hit first.

Oh the outrage! Oh the 'you're blaming the victim!'Oh the 'a woman has the right to protect herself!'  I finally reacted by snarling "You misunderstand me!  I don't care that she hit first. What I care about is she didn't break his fuckin' jaw!"

Ineffective 'violence' (or as I prefer 'force') is an disaster in ANY kind of violence, but it appears as a 'green light' for rape. This is an elephant in the room about this subject. One which unfortunately a whole lot of people have serious investment in ignoring.