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Paranoia and Precaution

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    Paranoia and Precaution

    I was listening to an interesting discussion on the "blame the victim" mentality recently (episode 17 of the Godless Bitches podcast, if you're so inclined), and the case was made that part of blaming the victim is lecturing them with all the you-should-have-x's (been packing, have locked your door, have not dressed provocatively). The problem isn't that we aren't barricaded fortresses, the problem lies in those willing to exploit us.

    OTOH, I agree that living in fear is a crummy way to live. Nobody wants to be walking on eggshells 24/7. But at the same time, things that could be considered paranoid are also preventative; my bike was stolen not too long ago. I was about to use an improved security harness; I even had the opportunity to park it inside my workplace.

    But I suppose it all comes down to practicality. If you perceive a threat and can demonstrate that sleeping with a gun under your pillow is an appropriate response to that threat, then so be it.

    Does anyone here "live in fear" ? How do you respond?

    I don't know about living in fear.....

    I live in a state of awareness.
    Watch my surroundings, stay out of places likely to involve violence, choose my friends wisely and keep my mouth shut. This has served me well my entire adult life.

    I do have a weapon around the house but have long since ceased to keep it loaded and ready. I guess my life stance has been to live responsibly and by doing so I have avoided trouble that so many others I know have waded straight into.

    Blaming the victim????
    Here's my take.
    A few weeks ago I was getting getting onto the onramp for the freeway, come whiping around the loop and there is a long ass line stopped at the traffic controll light. I stepped onto the brakes, stopped in time and got rear-ended by the driver behind me?

    Was I the victim?
    Or was I at fault?

    My answer is that the other guy was at fault but I ultimately could have avoided the accident if I had been driving more responsibly. So in my mind I can't claim victim status.


      I actually walk around careless. I don't pay attention to anything and don't look out for danger. I guess I'm a victim waiting to happen.


        I think it’s a bit of a false dichotomy to divide it strictly and exclusively into victim blaming on the one hand, and sensible precautions on the other. I think the reason why people are angered by victim blaming (certainly the reason I do) is that even if the victim could have reduced the risk, the moral culpability of assault lies entirely, 100% on the perpetrator. Suppose that I can reduce the risk of getting mugged 50% by avoiding certain neighbourhoods: If I am incautious and walk through them anyway, and get mugged, I am not somehow 50% guilty of my own mugging. It should not exonerate the perpetrator one iota. Similarly, even if a woman’s behaviour increases her risk of sexual assault, for instance, that doesn’t grant anybody any fucking licence to rape her. Certainly it should never, ever be brought up in the courtroom.

        On a side note, I gather most rape victims (in that minority assaulted outside the home, by a stranger) are wearing something as provocative as…jeans and a t-shirt. It’s brought up a lot but seems to be a red herring at best, victim-blaming at worst (and most common).

        Side note #2: I think a lot of people live in fear because media exposure, and the selectively negative and alarmist picture that paints, has made people’s perception of violence diverge wildly from the actual trends of violence. How many people perceive that “you have to be careful these days”, these are dangerous times, and so on? How many Americans know that violent crime in the US has been on a sharp decline since the early 1990s (when it peaked), and is now the lowest it’s been in about 40 years?
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          Thanks, that helps a lot.


            the ILLEGAL actions of a criminal against an innocet person, not breaking the law, always trumps anything else and the victim is never to blame for a predator.

            the predator- just chose his/her target and you making yourself "look" like an easier target does not negate the responsibility of him/her in any way shape or form of doing something that people have an expectation that peopel follow the law in a civilized society.

            in a case where you are breaking the law- say you are part of an illegal enterprise- selling illegal cigarettes or illegal drugs or robbing a bank- then you assume a greater level of the risk- morally as well as anything else and lose the right to be "victim" status because you have taken it upon yourself to engage in conduct that you have no reason or right to think you have protection as an "average joe/jane".

            with the car example- thats just a case of an accident- the difference here bieng, IMO- is people don't hunt someone down to rob, rape or kill them by "accident" they form an idea to consiously commit a crime.

            basically what you are asking here is "does a citizen of a society have the right to believe that they are entitled to protections under the law?"

            by blaming the victim- we take that away and say "no its not reasonable for you to expect people to obey the law". if people want to make a case for that- then go live with the animals in the zoo.

            yeah- shit happens, you can't deny that, and that doesn't mean you shouldnt' take reasonable precautions- but we aren't talking about a specific scenario here. we are talking about morally making descriptions and categorizing things. and if you want to lower the odds of you bieng a "victim" by bieng cautious and such- well that just makes you better equipped than the guy/girl next to you to outswim a shark if the shark was chasing you.

            point is here- in this example, unlike south africa, that shark shouldn't be chasing you and we are not seals. basically im sayin, if you want to make yourself "less" likely to be a victim- thats fine, but you can't blame someone else who is victimized for whatever reason when they have done nothing wrong- and have a rational and reasonable expectation that people in general obey the laws of society.



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