Feb 212011

In case you missed my column last week, I offered several logical tips for young women to protect themselves from sexual assaults.

Now, few people with common sense and an understanding of the world would find a reason to argue with such a suggestion, but damned if I didn’t find a way to stir up the hornet’s nest unintentionally.

It seems, according to several online commentators and letters to the editor, I wrote a condescending piece blaming women for falling victim to rape. Woe would I be to let such an opportunity to criticize an irrational group of people pass without comment.

There are infinite subjects we find to disagree about in the U.S. today; that women should be encouraged to learn to defend themselves doesn’t land in the top 1,000 issues worth disagreement.

But this is part of the problem we have in the country, presently. People find views to support regardless of how little sense it makes, and will throw out an irrational argument without consideration for the facts.

For instance, most rape victims know their attacker. For the record, I never said otherwise, however, when I open a column referencing a sexual assault as part of a home invasion, an eighth grade reading level should bring you to the conclusion what follows is not universally applicable to every situation, it was a suggestion for repelling a violent assault.

What’s worse? That I wrote the column suggesting you ladies defend yourselves? Or the people who wrote in saying the column never should have been printed?

The reality of the situation is there are groups of people who want universal solutions immediately and have no desire to take intermediate steps to accomplish their stated goal.

What do I mean? Well, the majority of dissenters apparently believe my column should have, I’m paraphrasing, “explained to men why it’s wrong to rape.”

Well, for those of you with an irrational bent, let me suggest to you that if I thought the column I write once a week would universally put an end to one of the oldest crimes known to man the instant it published, I would not be considered “sane” or “normal.”

Here’s the tricky part, when unfortunate people have the opportunity to criticize, they often forget they may be complicit in the crime for which they accuse another.

I wonder, for you dissenters, would you have had the same response if I had pointed the young women of our area to seek post-attack treatment? What about battered wives? Isn’t the very existence of victim-support supporting the idea women have no choice? If potential-victim self-defense is problematic, isn’t victim support?

I certainly don’t think so. Then again, I do not believe I am influential enough to have the effect you folks would hope for when you suggest I’ve erred.

Here’s a suggestion: Instead of finding ways to criticize someone whom would arm every potential victim instead of attempt to “cure rape,” why don’t you folks take a more pro-active approach in both phases?

Pre-attack, which for potential victims would include self-defense preparation and for potential attackers would include lessons on why rape or violence is wrong; and post-attack, which would include victim support and counseling?

Perhaps with your $4,000 budget you can somehow eliminate rape from the behavior of a species a couple million years old.
The difference between these types of people and the rest of us is we’ll support the long-term utopian-goal. What we won’t do is nothing in the meantime.

For the record, your perspective that I should never have suggested women defend themselves would have far more nefarious long-term effects than my column.

Defend yourselves ladies, it will piss off a progressive.

Seth J. Stern is a senior journalism and sociology major. His column appears Tuesdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 4:12 pm

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