Asking for it


So! Ever been to a beach? Ever worn a revealing swimsuit? Well congratulations! You didn’t know it, but you were asking to be raped. Oh, you may not have thought so, but you’re not a CNN Headline News anchor, so what do you know?

Yes, Jane Velez-Mitchell declared today that the proper response to a number of rapes at Daytona Beach during Spring Break was to blame the victims, not that she was blaming the victims:

Host Jane Velez-Mitchell’s response? Word for word: “Listen, I don’t like to blame the victim, BUT…” As she goes on to – seriously – say, “If you’re scantily-clad, wearing nothing but a skimpy bikini, I mean…You’re making yourself vulnerable.”

Well, sure! I mean, okay, you’re at a beach, it’s hot, you’re going swimming, you may want to therefore wear a swimsuit. But that’s not an option, ladies! If you’re not wearing a burqini, it’s pretty much all your fault if someone sexually assaults you. And even then, one of Velez-Mitchell’s guests would wonder:

Final verdict from ex-frat boy dude: “Listen, we can’t stop rapists from committing rape. But we can reduce the number of rapes that occur by women not walking around scantily-clad and drinking so much on Spring Break.”

Um…yeah. I see a problem there. It’s the “we can’t stop rapists from committing rape” thing. Because…we can. We have.

Have we managed to do this by forcing women to wear ill-fitting sweatsuits while swimming? No. We’ve done this by saying, clearly, that rape is wrong, that rapists are scum, and that when someone is raped, it is not his or her fault – it is the rapist’s fault.

It is true, rapists will rape. But not because they saw a scantily-clad woman in a bikini on Spring Break. No, rapists will rape because they want to abuse their victims. Which is why, every day, rapists rape women who aren’t dressed provocatively, who aren’t walking alone in a dark alley late at night, who aren’t conventionally attractive, or young, or any of the things that supposedly put women at risk.

Rapists target their victims and victimize them. The women and men who are victims of rapists are guilty of nothing. Like a mugging victim, they were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong person, and they are blameless for their attack.

No, the fault of rape lies solely with rapists. They are the ones who should be the focus of our ire. Women can’t help but exist. But everyone can choose not to rape.