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14 August 2009 @ 18:02
Victim blaming - the logical conclusion  
 
Crossposted from my lovely new blog.

(Via Jezebel)

An upmarket hotel in the US is accusing a woman who was raped at gun point in its parking lot of having "failed to exercise due care for her own safety and the safety of her children".

The rapist attacked the woman from behind while she was strapping her two small children into their car seats. He forced her to undress and raped her on the back seat in front of the children. He pointed his gun at the children and threatened to sexually assault one of them.

The rapist was apprehended, tried, and sent to prison for 20 years. Neither judicially nor morally is there any doubt who is 100% responsible for this inhuman violation of another human being's dignity and personhood.

We talk a lot about victim blaming and how prevalent it is in our society, and it's often difficult to explain to people who are blinded by patriarchal assumptions about gender what "victim blaming" actually is, or how, e.g., asking questions like "why did she take him back?" or "why was she walking alone at night?" constitutes victim blaming behaviour in the first place.

But this is an absolutely clear cut case. The Marriott here is totally adamant that the rape was the woman's fault, or at least that she bears a lot of the responsibility for it (presumably they're not deluded enough to claim that she raped herself). They are, explicitly and unashamedly, blaming the victim.

They're not saying "young women are more prone to attack, she should have been more careful", because she was 40 when the rape happened.

They're not saying "she shouldn't have been flirting with him", because this was one of those tiny minority of random stranger rapes.

They're not saying "she shouldn't have been alone in a dangerous neighbourhood", because it happened in their own 4-star garage parking lot.

And yet, when she sued them (for an earth shattering $15,000, no less) for failing to provide adequate security on their premises and for ignoring previous reports about the rapist hovering in the area and harassing women, thereby leaving him free to rape, they turned around and quite clearly stated that it's all her fault for not making "proper use of her senses".

How can this be? How can someone even take precautions against a random crime? How do they propose women parking in their garage "mitigate their damages", as they put it?

Well, presumably, by not brazenly existing in the world while in possession of a vagina.

That is what I'd like people to take away from this: every time you think, or hear someone say "you know, women can do a lot to prevent rape by doing/not doing XYZ", think about this woman, whom a major corporation is lambasting as the author of her own misery.

Because saying "don't drink and flirt with men" and "don't wear short skirts" is bullshit. The rules won't protect you. Long skirts won't protect you. Secured parking lots with guards and cameras won't protect you.

Women don't get themselves raped. Men rape them. Anything that says otherwise is victim blaming.
 
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( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Rob T. Powertrunkbutt on 14th August 2009 17:24 (UTC)
Fucked up. Seriously fucked up.

I'm going to write the Marriott Hotel Services Inc., which apparently runs the fucking fucktarded Stamford Marriott.
ozootalures on 14th August 2009 22:47 (UTC)
Ok yes, hotel lawyers are evil, but...

> Women don't get themselves raped. Men rape them. Anything that says otherwise is victim blaming.

Hotels don't rape women either, so why is she suing the hotel for failing to prevent the rape in the first place?
The Lady (Marina): Fuck Youthe0lady on 14th August 2009 23:14 (UTC)
Because they could have prevented the rapist having access to their garage. They had ahd reports of him hangin around as well as of several sexual assaults in the are in the days preceding the rape.

That is the allegation; whether the court upholds it or not, though, surely the morally and legally correct response from the Marriott would have been "sorry, nothing to do with us, hotels don't rape women" rather than "you had it coming you stupid slut"?
Rob T. Powertrunkbutt on 14th August 2009 23:15 (UTC)
Because the U.S. is a suit-happy society? I won't argue that the victim should sue the hotel, but her bringing forth a perhaps inappropriate lawsuit doesn't change the fact that the hotel's response to that suit was horrid. They could have just as easily responded by apologizing, maybe settling for some small sum, and promising to up security in the future. Instead, they decided to imply that the crime is the victim's own fault AND questioned the victim's associates, who weren't in any way involved in the attack.

In my opinion, the two issues -- the victim's response and the hotel's response -- are entirely separate.
The Lady (Marina): Fuck Youthe0lady on 14th August 2009 23:22 (UTC)
I think there are questions there that could stand being examined, about how the hotel manages its own premises. I mean, if someone can be raped in the garage, why not groped by the pool? Harassed in the lobby? How safe are women in the other publically accessible areas of the hotel?

Plus of course she was only suing them for a small sum to begin with. They've bought themselves a shit storm of bad publicity for fifteen grand, lemme tell ya.
Gidcaerleon on 15th August 2009 00:38 (UTC)
Plus of course she was only suing them for a small sum to begin with. They've bought themselves a shit storm of bad publicity for fifteen grand, lemme tell ya.

Good.. fuck the Marriott's.. they don't even have smoking rooms any more..
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )