Rape: 'The real offenders'
How to end rape culture in NZ?Share your stories, photos and videos.
Rape in NZ: Join the debate
The problem with the victim blaming culture of telling women to be careful when walking alone at night is that the majority of rapes happen by a person who is known to the victim.
The overall induced fear that makes women not feel ok to walk by themselves in society is mostly unwarranted. The "rapist hiding in the bushes" idea is not the major problem, however it's a problem we males can use to push ourselves away from the problem.
The idea that a rapist is someone who lingers around at night, something not many of us generally do, means we can blame someone else.
And since this unknown creeper is someone who is sex-fuelled, drugged up and insane, we can't reason with them. Therefore we unload the blame on the women of the world - you're aware there are these bogeymen around, why didn't you take more care?
What we need to realise is the majority of rapists are people similar to us. If not us.
Those who drink a little and maybe don't listen to the real meaning behind "I don't know if we should" statements coming from the women we work with.
Those of us who keep pushing the women we love because we feel like sex and a relationship always means consent.
Those of us who use manipulative techniques to reduce a women's self-worth to a level where she doesn't care what happens to her anymore.
These are the real offenders. And the worrying part is these people don't know what they're doing is rape. And they're everyday people.
This is why I don't agree with victim blaming in this sense. Even if the major problem was lurkers in the bushes, the right message to send would be to inform everyone to stay vigilant and report anything you didn't feel comfortable with.
Don't leave it until a women is chased to test if her running shoes and adrenaline are enough to ensure she stays safe. Get people to check out the creepers before anyone gets hurt.
Most of all we need to check ourselves. We are wired to glance at bodies first, then associate that body with a person. If we ever get past the first part. There is half of the population who we are training to be afraid of the world outside, most of which is unnecessary.
The real change needs to come from all angles. Feminism is not just a women's problem.
There is no shame in caring for those people we truly need. Understand people for who they are and if there is any doubt in a situation you're in, just ask.
You might be made fun of with a cheeky "of course, you idiot", but it's a whole lot better than knowing you could have ruined another human's life. Or worse, not knowing.
View all contributions