When ‘Rape Culture’ Meets Reality

Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.” – Aldous Huxley

In a recent piece for Salon, Andrea Flynn argues that allowing “campus carry” is a kind of “victim blaming.”

“…So far they’ve been silent on how we might prevent young men – who, of course, would also be allowed to carry a gun – from attempting to rape women in the first place…Let’s be clear. People aren’t raped because they aren’t carrying firearms. They are raped because someone rapes them. What a sinister new twist on victim blaming.”

Thanks, Andrea, because that was a real puzzler. Up until this point, I wasn’t aware that women were raped because someone rapes them. I’m also struggling with the concept of robbery. Does someone get robbed because someone robs them, or…?

In her piece, Flynn conflates self-defense with “victim blaming.” She argues that supporting campus carry for women is placing the blame, as well as the burden of defense, on women. This is only half true.

Andrea Flynn has simply decided to ignore a very cruel reality. We live in a world in which there are predators. The behaviors of these human predators are about as easily changed as the behaviors any other predatory animal. A shark will always be a shark. We don’t set out to alter the behavior of sharks, we give swimmers the knowledge and tools to avoid and fend off attack.

We don’t blame shark attack victims for being bitten, but at the same time, we acknowledge the reality that swimmers will be attacked. There are various “shark repellent” products, ranging from chemical to electromagnetic, that are designed to protect people from sharks. A gun is a human shark repellent.

This world is a sick place, and we cannot turn our backs to it with the blind hope that it won’t hurt us. We must confront reality by providing potential victims with the means to defend themselves.

Wouldn’t it be great if sickos didn’t rape? Yes, it would also be great if robbers didn’t rob, and killers didn’t kill—but we can only do so much to create a healthy society. After that, the burden of defense must often be placed on the shoulders of the potential victims. That’s the sad truth.

To close our eyes to this reality is naive and negligent.