Here’s why I’m not listening to women’s safety tips anymore.

Last year, within the span of three weeks, three of my female friends were attacked by men.

First I saw a Facebook post from a girl I went to high school with, describing how she had been pulled off a main road as she walked home from lunch. In an alleyway behind a shop, a man whose face she didn’t see shoved her to the ground and attempted to rip off her tights. She screamed and kicked and ran away, her legs covered in fingernail scratches.

A week later, a friend messaged me detailing how her boyfriend had tackled her in the bathroom of the home they shared, apropos of nothing, and tore out clumps of her hair in a violent rage. She escaped in to the kitchen, terrified, and called the police from the same phone he had called to ask her on their first date.

Only a few days after that, I was in a nightclub when a tall, stocky man appeared next to me out of the blue and made eye contact with a woman I was speaking to before throwing her to the ground. Muttering under his breath, he walked away. She had never seen him before and has never seen him since.

violent deaths women Australia

The experiences my friends have had, and I have had, with men are tame compared to many others. Each of us is still here, able to walk and talk and live our lives exactly how we did prior to these encounters. Slightly more fearful and more suspicious sometimes; but unlike many other women, we are at least alive to tell the tales.

When a man commits a violent crime against a woman, the popular response from media and law enforcement is to recommend that we ‘be careful’. Whenever another woman is killed – wherever she is killed – we are asked to be careful lest we find ourselves in the same situation.

We have to be careful walking to work, because Renae Lau was murdered on her way to work. We also have to be careful walking home from work, because Prabha Arun Kumar was on her way home when she was stabbed to death. In case you think driving is any safer, remember that Jackie Ohide and Dianne Chi were found dead in their cars and Rinabel Tiglo Blackmore died as she tried to escape from hers. Even once you get to work, you’re not guaranteed safety. Ting Fang was murdered as she worked and Stephanie Scott went missing from her workplace just last week. Strolling through a park, like seventeen-year-old Masa Vukotic? Bushwalking, as Kerry Lyn Michael did with her husband, before he bashed her to death? Look out. Even the home isn’t safe – in fact, it’s fast becoming the most dangerous place for a woman to be. Mai Mach, Salwa Haydar, June Wallis, Sabah Al Mdwali, Angela MacKinnon, Kris-Deann Sharpley, Tara Costigan, Ainur Ismagul, Traci O’Sullivan, Adelle Collins, Fabiana Palhares, Renee Carter, and Nikita Chawla all died in their homes; murdered by the men they lived with or loved.

In total, thirty women have died violent deaths this year at the hands of men. It’s April.

violent deaths women Australia

The Counting Dead Women cause can be found on Facebook.

Tips on how to stay safe have arrived thick and fast, with suggestions ranging from the sensible (“Check the credentials of tradespeople,” from Victoria Police) to the absurd (“Invent an imaginary male housemate,” also from Victoria Police). None of these are new, of course – most women have heard things like this since the days when our mothers asked us to be careful going out at night and told our brothers to simply ‘have fun’.

I’m not the first woman to stand up and say that I’m sick of it – sick of being told to only wear one earbud or a fake wedding ring or flat shoes so I can run away from someone if I have to. But it’s a common misconception that women are refusing to do these things simply on principle: that we don’t want to be othered and corraled off in to a separate group reliant on safety tips to survive, we just want to be treated as regular people. Of course we do want to be treated as regular people – that’s indisputable. But these tricks to survival are doled out to us as though they’re things we’ve never heard of before, as if a lightbulb will suddenly appear over our head that will save our lives. That’s not the case. We don’t want to hear these things any more, not because we don’t want to change our behaviour but because we already have. Every woman I know takes a hundred steps a day to keep herself alive, and more. ‘How to stay safe’ isn’t even offensive now, it’s simply redundant.

  Women have an inbuilt suspicion of dark alleyways, of empty train stations, of parks at nighttime. I can’t think of a female friend who doesn’t automatically check the cab driver’s identification number, or look for a seat on the bus next to another female instead of a strange man. Equally I think every one of my girl friends has, at some point, asked me to text them when I get home from the bar or the party, ‘just in case’. I’ve done the same for them, of course. Women are experts at this stuff: lifehacks for not winding up dead. We watch drinks for strangers in nightclubs and pretend to be friends with women we’ve never met when we see men harass them on the street. We do all of this not because it’s recent knowledge, but because it’s habit.

Suggesting we don’t answer the door to a stranger or walk down a dark street is like suggesting that we cook chicken before we eat it or we don’t touch exposed electrical wires: we don’t need to be told. We already do it. It’s not ‘common sense’, it’s survival instinct. Disturbingly, anecdotal evidence suggests most women are far ahead of these simple tips – we have more complex strategies and plans. We text the addresses of one-night stands to our friends and keep license plate numbers in our phones not because these things are going to save our lives, but because they lay a solid trail of evidence in case we are killed. We don’t just think about how to save our lives, but how to document our deaths.

violent deaths women Australia

The Our Watch campaign, launched by Natasha Stot Despoja.

All of this still isn’t enough, though. One in five Australian women has experienced sexual violence and one in three has experienced physical violence. We all know these statistics by now, well enough to look around our homes or offices or gyms and know that out of three women we look at, one of them has likely been in the kind of situation that we think can be avoided by wearing a one-piece swimsuit under her clothing.

Men have been attacking and killing women since before the invention of high heeled shoes, of nightclubs, of taxi cabs; and it’s highly unlikely that they’ll stop if we simply opt-out of these modern conveniences. I would love to finish this by presenting my idea to stop violence against women – I wish I could say that I’m sure men would stop attacking us if we followed some magic instructions. But I can’t say that. Everything that we could possibly try, we have. Everything we can do, we have done.

And yet women are still murdered, raped, and assaulted in their streets, parks, workplaces, and homes. When I open the news to see yet another story detailing a missing woman, I check the photo to make sure she’s not someone I know.

Only then does my fear turn in to fury, which eventually fades down to sadness and exhaustion. I don’t know what to tell my female friends, if anything, to keep them safe. I don’t know what to tell myself. I don’t know what else we can do. Because we are, genuinely, doing everything that we can.

In writing this I referred to the ‘Counting Dead Women’ project kept by Destroy the Joint. It is accessible here, and is an extremely valuable resource. If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, you can ring the Domestic Violence Line for help on 1800 656 463.

Feature image: https://ilitratophotography.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/night-shots-19.jpg//

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81 thoughts on “Here’s why I’m not listening to women’s safety tips anymore.

  1. Well said. It’d be nice if we as a society took responsibility and decided that violence is not inevitable, violence is not acceptable.

  2. None of these tips are even for preventing violence. They don’t prevent it. All they do is shift the target to another potential victim.

    • No, they don’t.
      I think the attitude behind tips like these is minimising danger by doing things we can control. Girls can’t forsee or control these attacks, which are committed primarily by obviously mentally unstable men. They can however, control themselves, where they are and what they do, and minimise these risks.
      I know what you’re thinking: ‘But they shouldn’t have to!’ Yeah, we shouldn’t. I shouldn’t have to leave a party when my boyfriend does so I don’t have to walk home alone. Children in Africa shouldn’t have to starve to death or be killed by preventable diseases. Last I checked, they still suffer from those things.
      It’s all very well and good to say that we should be condoning violence, and that women shouldn’t have to alter their behaviour in order not to be attacked. But the fact is, they DO. Hopefully we can change this, but for now, that’s simply a fact.
      There’s no point putting yourself in a more risky situation simply because of a matter of prinicple. It’s like that classic comic about a driver at St. Peter’s gate saying ‘but i had right of way.’ Doesn’t matter, you’re still just as dead.

      • ”obviously mentally unstable men” don’t shift the blame to the mentally ill. Violence is committed against women by men. No qualifiers needed.

        ”They can however, control themselves, where they are and what they do” I take it you missed the part about increasing violence in the home. Where are women supposed to go?

      • She didn’t “shift the blame to the mentally ill.”

        There’s a difference between saying that mentally ill or unstable people are usually violent and commit assault, and saying that many attackers are mentally unstable.

      • I’m not sure what the statistics are on men who randomly attack strange women, but the overwhelming majority of men who abuse the women they know are completely sane (look up the book “Why does he do that?” by Lundy Bancroft).

      • If we don’t define those that hurt and abuse their loved ones as mentally ill, then we really need to redefine mentally ill.

      • In a way, that’s part of the problem. I think it’s easier to believe that only mentally ill men could act like this, or only men who aren’t normal could act like this, because that means that ‘normal’ men are safe and okay to be friends with.
        The trouble is that there’s a lot in our culture that treats men’s abusive behaviour as normal. Things like saying “boys will be boys” when boys tease girls, romantic comedies that reward men who invade women’s boundaries, or the way that women are so often portrayed as a reward or a status symbol, rather than actual people in our own right. We’re at the point where women have to lie to get men to leave them alone (inventing a boyfriend or giving a fake number) because men ignore polite refusal, and a straight up “No” is extremely dangerous.
        In a culture where we treat these little acts of aggression as normal, it’s easy for the guy who hits his girlfriend to think of himself as a normal person – and even if he goes a little far, he still feels like his actions are reasonable.

      • Sorry but any man (or woman, let’s not pretend like women don’t kill people either) who attacks and kills a random stranger in the streets is mentally ill. There is just no sane explanation for such behaviour. Domestic violence is a different story but random acts of violence against strangers is just not a behaviour people who have fully functioning brains do.

      • this is not shifting the blame, she didn’t say ‘all mentally ill people attack women’. That’s no more accurate than ‘all men attack women’. I’m no psychologist, but I would strongly suggest that a man that would attack a woman would have a degree of mental instability.

      • But it doesn’t minimise the danger. That’s the whole point of the article. Women are attacked, raped, killed *everywhere* – on the way to work, at work, on the way home from work. At bus stops, at train stations, in taxis, our own cars. In our own homes. Everywhere. There’s no fool-proof harm minimisation tactic if you cannot be 100% certain you’ll be safe *anywhere at all*.

        Yeah, I get my friends to text me when they arrive home safe. I text my partner with the ID number of the taxi driver who has picked me up. My car doors are never left unlocked. I don’t wear my headphones after sunset. I carry my keys to use as a makeshift weapon, I never wear heeled shoes, I have an emergency contact app on my phone. But if I’m not safe *anywhere* – and the 31 dead women so far this year are proof enough of that – then all I’m really doing is making it easier for the police to find my murderer.

        TL;DR: Read the article again. We ARE altering our behaviour. It doesn’t make a difference. Now what?

      • Why are men who attack women ‘mentally unstable’? In the vast majority, they really aren’t. Suggesting this demonises those with legitimate mental health issues, and takes some of the blame from the perpetrators.

        They’re men of sound mind, with serious entitlement issues, coupled with a huge dose of anger and toxic masculinity. Society creates them, not some mythical mental illness, but ongoing rape culture embedded into the patriarchy.

      • “but ongoing rape culture embedded into the patriarchy”

        Oh you are mentally ill, that’s why you are so quick to deflect from the genuine reason of mental illness.

      • That is really offensive and inappropriate. You are obviously offended by the comment. As a women I wish that being offended by some idiot online was all I had to contend with. We fear for our lives while you get offended by something we say. That’s the inequality of our experience right there.

      • Oh yeah right that’s it. Because it’s not like men are far more likely to be killed than women, they are. It’s not like men are far more likely to be falsely imprisoned than women, they are. It’s not like women get far less severe sentencing than men for the same crime, they do. It’s not like men aren’t blamed for everything and women get a free ride, they do. It’s not like men are actually more likely to be victims of domestic violence but we are told just to ‘man up’ and whatever you do don’t you dare defend yourself otherwise you are a misogynist, they are.

        Get a grip Trisha. Men outnumber women exponentially as victims of violent crime, but we don’t claim Misandry and Matriarchy because common sense prevails and we see that it has nothing to do with gender and everything to do with the problems within society. Women like you are nothing but professional victims, obsessed with focussing on gender rather than the real problems at hand such as socioeconomic imbalance, wealth gap, health and education standards etc. In essence you crying about sexism in such absurd matters is just being a puppet for a corporate rich white man to deflect from the blatant attack on the lower classes that creates this environment for crime.

        but hey why waste our time with facts when we can just bitch about the imaginary patriarchy.

      • The question remains though, how many men are substantially modifying their behaviour to reduce risk? I grew up in a country where violence was part of everyday. I witnessed and experienced situations that most Australians could never imagine. As a result of this I was raised with a mindset that I am always at risk. When I came to live in Australia I was amazed at how much of weight was lifted off my shoulders, that I wasn’t constantly planning my escape route, or how best to protect myself. Over the past 10 years I have noticed that, that weight has returned. Habits that I developed to protect myself are again part of everyday life. That fear is back.
        Its misogynist attitudes like yours that make it harder for women like me, who has experienced violence at the hands of men. You make my skin crawl with how you justify violent behaviour as part of societies neglect and direct it back to corporate greed. Stand up and take responsibility for the fact that your gender, who has physically superiority, abuses that to their own misguided gain. Stand up and say “its not okay” and realise that you have a role to play in everyday conversations you have.

      • “The question remains though, how many men are substantially modifying their behaviour to reduce risk?”

        All of them. If you think men don’t modify their behaviour to reduce risk you are profoundly ignorant to what men go through. Am I saying that men are modifying their behaviour in the same fashion as women do? of course not. But I often find myself stopping and letting suspicious characters past me because I fear being king hit in the back of the head… again. I avoid certain areas while out at night to avoid king hits. I have to essentially gain proof of consent before having sex to avoid a fake rape accusation.

        You calling me a misogynist only reflects your arrogance and ignorance. How exactly am I being a misogynist by acknowledging that men face a lot of risk in life too? I acknowledge that women face a lot of unfair risk in life, they are disadvantaged in a lot of ways and effected by sexism. But the pendulum swings both ways and your blind ignorance of that is a true reflection of which one of us is actually a sexist.

        Because I don’t treat women as a superior gender that doesn’t make me a misogynist. You calling me such only displays your ignorance and dishonesty.

        “Stand up and take responsibility for the fact that your gender, who has physically superiority, abuses that to their own misguided gain”

        What a complete crock of shit. It’s not my gender. I do not have ownership nor responsibility for the actions of men. Unless you also plan to claim responsibility for the actions of all women in the world.

        And lets have a look at some statistics.

        75% of domestic violence is committed by WOMEN.
        men are twice as likely to commit suicide and three times more likely to suffer from depression during divorce as women because the system is unjustly slanted towards women.
        Women are unfairly advantaged in child custody.
        Women actually get paid more than men for doing the same work in over 50% of jobs, despite the pay gap.
        Women serve 60% of the time in jail that men do for committing the same crime.

        Are you going to stand up and take responsibility for the fact that your gender, who has a legal superiority, abuses that to their own misguided gain? Stand up and say “its not okay” and realise that you have a role to play in everyday conversations you have?

        You are the worst form of hipocrite.

        I have never and will never physically assault anyone of any gender. I have not used my physical advantage to abuse anyone for my own gain. I have no responsibility for the actions of others, and I don’t at all condone or justify those that do.

        I am not pushing blame when I identify the causes of violent crime. I am not being misogynistic. I am being rational and realistic and it sticks in your craw because you have an enormous chip on your shoulder.

        Grow up.

      • Also just FYI crime in general is at the lowest it’s been for 50 years so your heightened sense of fear is just due to a false perception of rising crime rates due to an increase in media coverage.

      • I need not say more! You response is a perfect demonstration of the point the article is making. In case you need that spelt out – your response is disrespectful, violent and abusive. But I’m sure you feel entitled to behave this way (and somewhat self righteous) and will continue.

      • maybe you need to calm down a little and read what you type before you hit the post button. You’re right about one thing, you need not say more.

      • Men are attacked more often …. also by men. This is also regarded as normal behaviour for men, by society. That’s why hardly anything is done about either problem and all we ever hear is ‘you shouldnt have been drunk, alone, in a night club, at home, old, young, dressed that way etc etc etc. Those poor perpetrators – how were they meant to avoid attacking us?

      • “Men are attacked more often …. also by men”

        75% of domestic violence is done by women on men.

        “This is also regarded as normal behaviour for men, by society”

        Right and that’s a huge problem. Or do you think it’s ok that it’s seen as normal for men to hit each other? This is a direct result of the “it’s not ok to hit a woman” campaign. It creates a message that it is ok to hit men. It’s not ok to hit anyone, regardless of gender.

        Furthermore most assaults on women are carried out by other women. Does that somehow devalue them as victims of a crime? Of course not. Don’t be so sexist and misandrist.

        Further more can you provide me one example of anyone ever saying “Those poor perpetrators – how were they meant to avoid attacking us?”

        Just one. Advising you to be precautionary is not excusing the instigator. It’s just common sense. If you don’t want to run the risk of being harmed behave more safely. Should you have to do this? Of course not. But it’s the case. There will always be a small percentage of the population who behave like animals. They should and are treated as such. But just because they have no right to attack innocent people doesn’t mean innocent people shouldn’t protect themselves just in case.

        What you are arguing is pure insanity. It’s like saying I shouldn’t have to lock my car, people just shouldn’t steal cars. Yes people shouldn’t but they do. So telling someone to lock your car isn’t saying “those poor thieves – how were they meant to avoid stealing the car”

        You are not invincible. And understanding that and behaving accordingly is a valuable asset living in a society of a species that is prone to violence.

      • It has been normal behaviour for men to fight each other a long long time before any modern day campaign. The campaigns are the new thing – not the violence. Some people are just really threatened when this behaviour comes under examination.

      • I mean the problem that it’s still seen as ok for men to hit/fight each other is a result of the campaign. It also probably plays a big part in the rapid rise of assaults on men carried out by women.

        You are right it has been a normal behaviour for a long time. But that doesn’t make it acceptable. The message should be anti-violence across the board. Rather than singling out a particular group, because by doing so it implies that violence against those not in the group is ok.

      • I agree the message should be anti violence across the board, but I dont agree every campaign needs to focus on every aspect of a thing – there should just be more than one campaign.

      • I can agree with that. As long as there are no aspects blatantly ignored. But there could be a problem with having two or more individual campaigns about each different aspect. It could be seen as competing campaigns even though they are not. I think one unified campaign would be more effective.

        Picture this for a campaign. “Say no to violence”
        Image – man hitting man with a line through it
        Image – man hitting woman with a line through it
        Image – woman hitting woman with a line through it
        Image – woman hitting man with a line through it
        Image – adult hitting child with a line through it

        Versus having say two seperate campaigns one saying “you should never hit a woman”
        Another saying “you should never hit a man”

        It looks like two opposing sides of an argument. And a lot of people will start taking sides

      • Let me ask you this Trisha. How many times have you been attacked unprovoked and had to defend yourself? I am 27 and to date i’ve been attacked unprovoked about a dozen times. You think I don’t fear for my safety? you’re an idiot.

      • No, I agree with you on this one
        “not all men” attack women in streets, And by stating that many men who do attack women are mentally unstable is in no way saying all mentally unstable people go out of their way to attack people.
        Mentally unstable is a pretty generalist term, which in this reality really just means someone who is capable of harming someone else because they feel that that is appropriate… in a society which would generally say that that is not on…Mental instability leads to non conformist ideas about violence, and more importantly, how they view people. i.e. not respecting them as people, in women’s case, viewing them as objects that it’s ok to abuse…. this is a mentally unstable view point in my opinion, and thus totally ok to state that men who attack women are mentally unstable….

    • You’re right in one sense – they don’t prevent violence and that’s half the point. Women are not ever going to be able to prevent the violence perpetrated against them, only react to it. It is not our responsibility, or even marginally possible for a victim, to prevent it. If a driver runs a red light and t-bones another car, do you blame the driver of the car that got hit? Tell them they should have expected it? Should have been keeping an eye out and ready for it to happen and prepared to make defensive maneuvres? Perhaps advise them they shouldn’t have been driving at that particular time of day, through that particular intersection, or should drive a car with a higher safety rating? No. The responsibility lies squarely with the driver who ran the red light. Why is violence against women so different?

      • With regards to your red light example, no it’s not the fault of the driver who was hit. Yes they should be driving at that time of day and at that intersection, if that’s where they want to be driving. Should they be keeping an eye out and be prepared to take defensive maneuvers? Unfortunately yes. This in no way aligns any fault with the victim, and by no means defends the actions of the offending driver, but isn’t it just logical to be prepared to take evasive action, when it could prevent you getting hit by an idiotic driver? All drivers stopping at all red lights is how the problem is solved. Taking a stand and saying “I’m not going to be ready to take evasive action because I shouldn’t have to” doesn’t contribute to the solution.

      • Actually it’s an excellent example because just imagine that you are ALREADY driving defensively; that you have eyes and ears peeled, that you creep through the intersection, nerves a-jangle, ready to brake/accelerate/take evasive action.

        And someone does run the light and they do t-bone you REGARDLESS but, because of the action you’ve already taken, it just means you don’t die. You get a broken leg and are in physio for 6 months, for eg. You’re in pain for two years. But you don’t die.

        The other driver walks away unharmed because you were going so slowly they just bounced off you. They pay their money, you never see them again. You’re still in pain but hey, it wasn’t your fault, right?

        And _that’s_ why “be prepared” doesn’t work. It’s not a binary system, where preparation means the thing you’ve prepared against never happens. It just means the effects are mitigated from the worst-case scenario.

      • You’ve helped to make my point. Of course “be prepared” doesn’t mean nothing bad will ever happen to you and it just mitigates the damage. On the same train of thought, what results do you think “don’t be prepared” will bring?

      • I agree with most of what you mean, but this is a terrible analogy. Yes, the driver that was hit could have done more to prevent it. They shouldn’t have to, but they could have. The first rule of driving is to assume everyone else is dangerous. It’s sad, but maybe that should be applied to general living too.

  3. Yes the world is a dark place full of evil men who will cause us harm if they have the opportunity. I’ve seen countless articles repeating this. What do you propose we do about it?

    • For a start – not sit by quietly and condone it by our silence. Not blame the victims. Not give out redundant safety advice while failing to recognise women are already taking steps on a daily basis to try and keep themselves safe, and that ultimately *nowhere* is really safe.

    • That isn’t what the article says. Read it again.

      If we stop assuming the victim did something wrong, then we can start looking at the causes of the violence. The tropes rolled out by the Victorian police are examples of empty words that don’t solve the real problem. This is what the author is railing against.

      Some ideas of things to investigate that might help address the violence itself: Does violence between kids in schools lead to more violence when they grow up? Are there underlying social problems like alcoholism and mental illness that need addressing? Can we find a way to report violence better using modern technology? I’m sure there are more. Let’s agree not to blame the victim and encourage our leaders to start discussing it.

  4. Wow – thank you. This just articulates so well everything I have been thinking this week! Simply out of habit I do all these things – saving a cabs id number as a draft text in my phone or noting the cab number a friend gets into, texting a friend I am home safe or the address of where I’ll be staying if not at home, walking with my camera ready to record and making sure someone knows what route I am taking. At the forefront of my mind has always been the mantra that if you are attacked, make sure to scratch them…..”We don’t just think about how to save our lives, but how to document our deaths”. I’ve never thought of it in that context, but you’re so right

    • So? The only reason I don’t do that is because I figure it would have to be a bloody tough cab driver to hurt me. Men have to take precautions too. They just don’t have to take as many, usually because they are bigger and stronger than most women. But it is a foolish man who doesn’t check his surroundings and be aware of his safety.

  5. I escaped 3 attempted attacks on me in my street on way home in day light when I was 17, I wore short skirts, it was in ’72. I managed to push one away and said something that upset him, another 2, I also managed to get away unscathed. I would suggest girls learn self defence and how to psych down a sicko for starters. It wont save you if someone really really wants to kill you but it could help in some cases.

    • Suggesting women learn self defence is just more of the same victim-blaming safety tips. Why can’t the focus be on those committing the assaults for once?

      • Because that’s stupid. Advocating self defense is not victim blaming you moron. It’s empowering women and men alike. Your comment is kind of like saying, police wearing body armour is just victim blaming. Why can’t the focus be on those shooting at them for once? Violence is unavoidable. It’s happened since we first evolved and it will continue to happen. Only a complete idiot would not one to take the necessary precautions to improve their chances of enjoying life safely.

        I love how you pretend like the focus isn’t on the perpertrators. Like we don’t see constant non stop ads about how wrong domestic violence is, or as if there aren’t special task forces set up all over the place to catch these guys. Or how about the fact that men serve much larger prison sentences than women for committing the same crime? Should I blame the matriarchy, or how about the gold digger culture, maybe it’s embedded misandry.

        You are either completely delusional, or completely dishonest. Given your comments it’s actually possible that you are both. Either way people like you aren’t the solution, you’re part of the problem.

      • Are you kidding me? The type of people who commit assaults aren’t the type of people who are just going to be told, “Don’t that, it is wrong” and just go, “Really? THanks for telling me that. I’ll stop now”.

        But up to you. I personally would rather be able to defend myself than be in a hospital bed going, “I hope that person knows how wrong he was to do that”.

      • Of course I did. The comments I have made are relevant to the article and your comment. So the question I must ask is did you read the article?

      • Careful Shaun you are bringing facts and common sense to a discussion of lunacy. Never a good idea mate.

      • I know that. Fortunately it amuses me to rile anyone who lacks the ability for nuanced and rational thinking, confuses cause and effect and so on.

        I am sick to death of the shrill cries of rabid feminists who when you point out the flaws in what they are saying cry, “stop notallmenning me”.

        I am saying to them that even “not all men” is flawed when it comes to random violence against women, since that implies that most men, just not all men.

        I am saying that it is virtually no men. Statistically the murder rate in Australia is 1 per 100,000 people murdered.

        When it comes to domestic violence, I am fully supportive of campaigns to make it socially unacceptable. I couldn’t agree more. However I can also see that the reality is that the people who are violent against women in a domestic situation aren’t listening to the calls and don’t give a shit about what feminists think.

      • I can understand that. In regards to domestic violence though, there is a pretty big misconception that men are the primary offenders. In actual fact studies have shown that women offend in around 60-75% of domestic violence cases and that half of male offenders are involved in incidents where both members have been physically abusive (didn’t say who was retalliation in those cases, assume it’s probably a 50-50 split).

        I personally believe this is a result of the “never hit a woman” campaign. The underlying implication that follows is that it’s perfectly acceptable for a woman to hit a man, which is repugnant. I’ve met countless women who think they’re entitled to physically strike their boyfriends but he’s not allowed to even consider retaliation, otherwise he’s a piece of shit.

      • I know all about that. I find it pathetic that women can be given a free pass to hit a man, with the man being expected to take it because “a woman’s punches couldn’t possibly hurt a man”. Also, culturally, men simply don’t report such incidences. And if they do the police don’t take the report quite as seriously as they do a male against female report. Or – worse still – they take the default stance that the male must have caused it somehow.

      • I know in some places in the states and I think canada the police must always arrest the man in domestic disturbance calls. Even if the emergency call is made by the man against the woman, the man must be taken in cuffs and held in custody until the details are understood for the safety of the woman. How BS is that?

      • Yeah I’m never a big fan of guilty until proven innocent types of procedures like that.

        It puts the man on the back foot straight away, with anything the woman says automatically given more weight.

  6. I think you all life in a fantasy world if you get annoyed that women have to be careful. Yes they do. And so do men. There are people who are predators. They are gender neutral. If you have something they want and they perceive you as weaker than them they will try to take it by force.

    It appears that it is a gender thing because the attacks occur on women. But that is because you have something they want. And also because they perceive that they have a physical advantage over you.

    If you are a man and they perceive that they might be able to roll you for your wallet, you too are at risk if you don’t look capable of holding on to what is yours.

    I too hold car keys through my knuckles as I walk to my car in deserted, dimly lit car park. I too will leave a place that I feel has a bad atmosphere. We all have to be on guard. Unaware men who look like soft targets do get attacked too.

    And getting angry about it won’t change things either. Insisting that the men change won’t work. The predators aren’t the type of people who will listen to you. And the men who ARE listening aren’t the threat. But they are sick of being branded the enemy.

    • Amen. This article is redundant without statistics on male attacks on other men (Almost cliché most inner city evenings in the city). It is not about being female but about being perceived as an easy target. All the advice given is about not being seen as an easy target. If you start to learn to trust the good men instead of lumping us all together, you might find you live in a safer world than you have been lead to believe.

      • But the only way to know if you can trust someone is if they dont attack you. How do we know which men are good? How do we know which men are only behaving themselves until we become an easy target? I agree with you – if women disappeared completely its not like rape would stop … but how do we get sexual and other predators to stop targeting those they see as weaker? When can we stop implying that because someone was perceived as weaker, it was their fault they were attacked? How can you say, knowing as you do that its about being an easy target, that we should trust the gender that more commonly commits these crimes? Are we not leaving ourselves open for being told we were too trusting if we are then attacked?

      • Who implies that it’s the women’s fault if she is attacked?. This is common rhetoric by you people but I never see it actually being said anywhere except from crazy religious right wingers who everyone else thinks is completely retarded.

        You shouldn’t trust anyone you don’t know personally. Regardless of their gender. You seem to imply that only men commit these crimes, which is false.

        Stranger danger is a very simple concept we learn as children. If you don’t know someone don’t trust them, particularly in environments where you might be vulnerable. This isn’t victim blaming, it’s empowering potential victims to defend themselves when they are vulnerable. That is the best way to stop predators.

        I wish there was an easy answer to stop violent crime from happening. But there isn’t. And blaming one gender (even though both genders do commit these crimes) is only creating more problems rather than solving anything.

        If you don’t want to partake in safe behaviours that is your choice. And you shouldn’t have to fear for your safety walking home late at night, or walking to work or at a night club or anywhere. But the unfair truth is that you do, so do I and so does everyone in the world. (remember that statistically speaking men are more likely to be victims of random attacks than men, so we do also have to protect ourselves) You are still free to choose to ignore the common sense safety tips, and in reality you are still likely to get home safely, because as much as the media beats it up your chances of being attacked are actually very slim. But there is always a chance things will go wrong.

        Think of it like wearing your seatbelt. You shouldn’t have to worry about another driver breaking the law and causing you to crash. But you do have to worry about that because it happens we all do.

      • Both genders do commit crimes of violence and rape, I agree. Both genders also get breast cancer – however, it is overwhelmingly perceived as a woman’s issue due to the fact that more women get breast cancer than men. Likewise, injurious violence and rape is committed far more often by men than women – hence it should be perceived as a men’s issue. Except that really it isn’t – it’s almost always perceived as a problem women have to fix by behaving one way or another. It is always taken for granted that men will behave this way.

      • ” it’s almost always perceived as a problem victims have to fix by behaving one way or another”

        I keep hearing this, and have repeatedly asked for examples and yet continue to hear crickets.

        When is this perception you’ve claimed ever a reality. Please just present one example? If you can’t, then I’d advise you stop spouting it as anything other than complete fabrication.

        As for the occurrences of violence. No one is pretending that men worry about being attacked by women. Nor is anyone pretending that women worry about being raped by other women. But there is a concern. Particularly from men being assaulted by women because that happens far more often than you seem to imply it doesn’t. I personally have been assaulted over a dozen times by strangers without provocation. 5 times it was by a female, one attempted to glass me because she thought I mistreated her friend whom i’d never even met.

        Violent assault statistics show that women offend at a similar rate to men, however due to the physical differences men are more likely to do serious damage and draw attention for their violations while women’s transgressions often go unnoticed. So isolating one gender based on the presumption that they offend more often is both fallacious and wrong. If you look at the socioeconomic status of violent offenders you will find the real common denominator. The vast majority, both men and women, of violent offenders are in the lower class.

        There will always be psychopathic individuals who will attack randomly with no rhyme or reason regardless of their background. But most perpetrators have reasoning and root causes that are quite easily identified and subsequently ignored by those obsessed with the genitals of everyone involved.

      • Did you actually listen to the interview or read the article?

        Here you have rape allegations made specifically to the media, quite publicly yet no formal complaints to the police. Why is that?

        Simple logic tells any rational human being that there is something fishy about the scenario. I mean sure a lot of rape victims aren’t comfortable reporting the rape to police because of the trauma they’ve suffered and my heart bleeds for those poor girls. But these individuals don’t seem to be too worried about telling everyone but the police. This reeks of an attack on the reputation of whoever these “roast busters” are.

        Now I will give you that the interviewers weren’t at all tactful or respectful in their line of questioning and were well and truly over the top with some of the quotes they’ve been attributed. But it’s perfectly reasonable to wonder why they’re not reporting the alleged crime to police yet happy to go on public media and “sell” their story, almost definitely for personal gain.

        I might be wrong but the facts don’t add up to anything genuine as far as i’m concerned. And I hope I am wrong because it’s such a fucking horrible thing to do. Not only are they unfairly tarnishing innocent people’s reputations and potentially ruining their lives but they’re also making it harder for real rape victims. Rather than pretending false rape claims don’t happen women should be more pissed about it than men are because it makes things so much worse for genuine rape victims.

      • Read around. 4 girls came forward. By the way – did you read the article? The girls didn’t have to say anything – the guys were bragging about how they had done these things themselves.

        How about this one http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-judge-prompts-outrage-after-saying-if-she-didnt-want-sex-her-body-should-have-just-shut-down-in-rape-case-and-reducing-sentence-of-attacker-by-ten-years-8414674.html A judge, implying a woman’s vagina will close over or something if they don’t want sex.

      • I did read the article and there was no mention of anyone coming forward to the police. The interviewers who you’ve accused of victim blaming were asking why they didn’t go to the police.

        I have read some more about it though and I see they did and the police did respond in a manner which is absolutely disgusting and they should all lose their jobs.

        I never said victim blaming doesn’t happen in fact I specifically said that it did but those who do are almost always religious bigots who the majority of the population are at odds with, however you have made a claim that it’s the go to attitude of the majority. It’s a very small minority of people who actually think this way, and no matter what happens you will never change that. I support the endeavour to have these people removed from positions of power but the insinuation that there’s some institutionalised agenda to opress women via rape cases is absurd.

        You’ll find all the articles, all the comments and the reactions to every single link you’ve posted is discontent, outrage and calls for people to lose their jobs (and rightfully so in the case of that turd of a judge)

        Also for every one of those articles I can produce another one about women who lie about being raped.

        Duke Lacross team.

        The UVA rape case

        http://www.avoiceformalestudents.com/avfms-mega-post-10-reasons-false-rape-accusations-are-common/

        There’s literally thousands of these scenarios and according to those who deal with these investigations they are more common with rape than any other crime. So I can sort of understand the immediate distrust of someone who fits into a certain profile, but that said it doesn’t excuse comments like “you were asking for it”. No one is ever “asking for it” unless they literally ask for it.

      • I think it is really hard to understand unless it happens to you, because then you see how ingrained that victim blaming attitude really is. I imagine you see something like it when you tell people you’ve been assaulted by 5 women – they’ll just shrug it off or act like it didn’t matter because you know, if you go out with drunk people that’s just what happens to you. I mean, what did you expect? You were out in a night club full of intoxicated people! And anyway – how come 5 women have hurt you? What exactly are you doing to attract that kind of negative attention? Where do you go? Are you drinking on the wrong side of town? Why?

        That’s what happens to victims of sexual assault too – the crime of course is considered horrendous, but the reality of the social interaction is that everyone is pretty much thinking ‘well you shouldn’t have…xyz’ in the best case scenario and ‘well it’s so obvious that would happen that you must have been looking for it’ in the worst. Prevention is better than the cure, for sure, but we are talking a two way street here and all the prevention for the perpertrators seems to occur AFTER the fact. Rape is still a school boy joke or just boys being boys to a great many people. Why is that?

        I don’t know how many times I’ve read: “These boys were just foolish young people having a laugh and now this mean vicious girl (who is the same age or younger and so also young and foolish) is trying to ruin their futures! What a terrible human being!” In the meantime, their gang bang and subsequent distribution of pictures has ruined her life and that was just, you know, boys being silly. She wanted to have sex and therefore it follows that she wanted her pictures distributed across the whole social group. Give them a break! They were just doing what boys (for some reason) would naturally do given the opportunity.

        Not even to mention the vast vast vast number of websites dedicated to sneaky looks up skirts, toilet cameras, women being spied on by their computer cameras, revenge porn, etc. The biggest question being – why is it SO SO ‘oooooh ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooh humiliating’ if a woman’s genitalia is exposed anyhow? This is a really interesting question.

        Victim blaming occurs across any number of crimes – like when insurance companies won’t pay up for a robbery because you left your house door unlocked or something, but in sexual assaults they are shrugging off a crime against your body, not your house. It’s a lot more personal when people tell you you should have locked the door properly and they’re talking about you, your whole self, as a person – it effectlvely means never go anywhere, never do anything and also, don’t have male relatives or relationships with males. In the meantime, despite this constant advice that you should protect yourself, women are also discouraged even in countries like the USA from owning guns for protection. Only 23% of women have them, despite every woman having access to them, and that is only recent – previously it was 11% compared to 45% of men. Why is that? Is there perhaps a massive amount of social pressure to be helpless? Why?

        We really SHOULD be doing more to make sure it doesn’t happen in the first place – both for men who get bashed on the way home from the pub because some guy wants to blow off some steam and for women who get groped while standing at the bar because some guy has severe issues around ownership and control. I don’t see anything wrong with wanting perpetrators to be the focus in terms of prevention rather than retrospectively and changing a few of the beliefs our society seems to have about men.

      • I agree with all of this, again I’m not saying victim blaming doesn’t happen, it does and it’s horrible but you seem to imply it’s the norm when it’s not the vast majority of the population do not victim blame in fact quite the opposite to the point of playing the guilty until proven innocent (listen and believe for example) and that is where I draw exception, 2 wrongs don’t make a right and because some assholes don’t follow the proper procedure in a manner that is unfair to women does not justify using a procedure that is unfair to men.

        Also some of this sounds like you are implying that it only happens to women which isn’t true. Men are also humiliated having their genitals posted online. There are websites where women will post names, addresses, pictures and phone numbers of men who they deem “assholes” (essentially male slut shaming) and often lie about them having STD’s or whatever it may be.

        I’m not trying to say men cop it worse than women, or even in reverse. I’m trying to point out that both men and women cop a lot of shit they shouldn’t have to. And the suggestion that women are somehow targeted for being women is simply not true in the vast majority of cases. When a man is a victim of a crime it’s just crime, can’t be avoided. When a woman is a victim of a crime it’s misogyny, rape culture and patriarchy.

        This is completely bullshit.

        The other thing I question is there is a fine line between a sexual assault and a women who regrets the decisions she made while intoxicated. That line is blurred by all the false allegations that are made which is what creates the environment for what you deem as victim blaming. Saying “you were drunk and consented to have sex with a bunch of guys who had a video camera and now you’re complaining about the images being distributed” is not the same as saying “look at the skirt you were wearing, you were asking for it”

        The former is a legitimate criticism of bad behaviour. There almost appears to be the perception that a woman can act as slutty and promiscuous as she desires and not have any ill consequences come of it, otherwise it’s somehow a rape even though she instigated the incident.
        And then a false equivalency is drawn between that and a woman who is genuinely raped and told it was because of the clothes she was wearing.

        I guess bottom line is that a lot of the claims that women are specifically targetted for their gender is mostly unfounded. The general theme always seems to be people targetting those they have an advantage over.

        You are right prevention needs to be better. But trying to blame one gender over the other only makes you look like an asshole yourself rather than prevent anything.

      • Actually, I think when men are the victims of violent crime it’s a result of the patriarchy as well. Especially the bit where they shouldn’t cry about it.

      • You lost me as soon as you said Patriarchy. I didn’t take you for the tin foil hat type.

        That’s it when a person king hits you, it’s not because they’re a lowlife scumbag who learned a culture of violence in a low income social environment. It’s because men in some illuminati style secret society want to oppress women and rule the world.

      • Ha, no secrets needed. Patriarchy is just a system of society or government in which the father or eldest male is
        head of the family and descent is traced through the male line.
        a system of society or government in which men hold the power and women are largely excluded from it.
        a society or community organized on patriarchal lines.
        Can’t really claim we aren’t a patriarchy. I don’t see it as some big Illuminati organisation though – just what happened in our society in the past and has certain effects on how we are.
        A lot of people have become quite weird about patriarchy lately I’ve noticed, but I’m not one of them.

        Anyway, I’ve said what I wanted to say. Thanks for the debate. I am interested in how many men are getting involved in these debates lately and I think it is a good thing, even if I don’t agree with every perspective. I actually hope that it will make men more aware of gender issues in general – maybe you guys will finally see that the things that oppress you are the same things that oppress us.

      • Actually every aspect where I as a man feel oppressed is the result of radical feminism. I can claim we aren’t in a patriarchy. The society we live in fits none of the characteristics you state. There are no heads of family, there are heads of states. Who are democratically elected. Plenty of women have been elected for this position around the world and it looks very likely that the next POTUS will be a woman, meaning the most powerful person in the world will be a woman. Descent is traced through both lines.

        The automatic women get the kids in divorce/separation settlements, the massive favouring to women in financial settlements in family court, the countless false rape cases that result in men serving jail time based completely on hearsay, the complete ignorance of male victims of domestic violence, the ridiculous assertion that men can’t defend themselves against women.

        These are all symptoms of the modern feminist movement. I supported the original feminist movement, that of the woman’s suffrage. But this new nonsense is just professional victim-hood and an attempt to gain ascendancy and superiority.

        In no way shape or form do I experience oppression caused by male sexism. The problems with our societal structure go so much deeper than the vanity of “gender issues” that I find the focus on this as profoundly superflous and a lot (not you though you have actually been very rational and reasonable throughout this discussion and I thank you for that) of people who make these arguments are either misinformed, or driven by an agenda to claim superiority.

      • “..but how do we get sexual and other predators to stop targeting those they see as weaker?”

        Sorry Kat, you don’t. Predators are predators. It is in their very nature.

        The only solution is to lock them away when detected. Adrian Bayley, the killer of Jill Meagher, had something like 11 prior convictions. Seriously, after 3, a judge should have the power to say, “You’re a habitual sexual offender” and lock him away for good at that point.

      • Agree. But it wasn’t until this was known that people started saying “what was he doing alone on the street”. That question was asked about Jill Meagher, who did nothing wrong, long beforehand.

      • Let me make this very clear before I begin this. Legally and morally she did nothing wrong. Absolutely.

        But there is a big difference between being in the right and being safe. So you can make your choice on that.

        In my experience the only people who jump on their moral high horse about their rights in such circumstances are middle class people who have led comfortable upbringings and have not developed street smarts.

        I recall being with friends like this at a venue, where a bunch of other people were starting to behave badly and I recommended leaving. The response was, “why should we leave? We have a right to be here. Why should we spoil our night because of them?”. My response was, “because if it kicks off, your night is spoiled regardless”.

        Now I’m sorry if it offends people to hear this, but walking home drunk at 2am down dimly lit deserted streets is high risk. You have a right to do it yeah, but if you have any common sense You don’t.

        I know men in exactly the same situation who have been king hit from behind, knocked out and when they wake up find they are short of their wallet.

        So by all means go on about your rights. Criminals don’t care about your rights. Otherwise we wouldn’t call them criminals, we would call them law abiding citizens.

  7. The Australian Bureau of Statistics commissioned a study that ran from July 2008 to June 2010 that looked into the homicide deaths that took place in that period in Australia.

    It found that 1 man was killed (homicide) every 2.0 days and 1 woman every 4.2 days. For cases where the perpetrator was a stranger to the victim (which seems to be what this article is about) the rates were 1 man killed every 13.0 days and 1 woman killed every 45.6 days. So men were 3.5 times more likely to be killed by a stranger than women.

    Source: http://www.aic.gov.au/media_library/publications/mr/21/mr21.pdf

  8. I wish they would legalise tasers (even weak ones) and pepper sprays. As a young woman I feel intimidated a lot of the time & when push comes to shove even though I am a feminist, I cannot protect myself against possible rape or a larger and stronger person than myself. I feel defenceless. The criminals have guns and knives and I have what, my shouting voice? Yeah that won’t intimidate them. Legalise pepper spray/tasers. I may never use them, it’s intimidation. In a possible rape situation I would want to feel protected and able to defend myself.

  9. Yup. Agree 100%. Something struck me while reading it towards the end. If we are trying to hold men accountable , then we need to do that in our speech. Popular phrases like “stop violence against women,” keep the focus on women, while these phrases put the focus on men: “stop violent men … stop men who abuse women … stop men from abusing women.” It’s awkward b/c its not what we are used to, but its important b/c of the way language patterns shape our thought patterns.

  10. Women need to carry weapons and fuck up dudes who fuck with them. If I could afford one, I would keep a handgun in my purse. If most women did this, I think men would think twice.

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