Wednesday, January 6, 2016

An Arm's Length from Common Sense

Pensiero via / CC BY-NC-ND
After a spate of gang assaults on women in the German city of Cologne, the mayor recommended women stay "an arm's length" from people they don't know in order to prevent sexual assault.

A lot of people objected to this because, as usual, it put the onus of responsibility on women to avoid being raped.  I am somewhat ambivalent about that.  Yes, I should be able to be naked and unconscious on the public highway and still safe from being raped, because we want to live in a civilised society.  Nevertheless it is only sensible that women, including myself, take certain precautions to avoid high risk situations.

My main objection mayor Reker relates to the sheer level of cluelessness she shows in suggesting this particular precaution in the context of this particular crime spree.  Specifically, an arm's length distance is impossible to maintain in normal dailly life, and means fuck all when you are being gang attacked in the street by a mob of 80 to 100 men.

Gang sexual attacks are a case where not only is the female victim not at all responsible for the crime, there is no reasonable precaution she could have taken that would not obliterate her right to be in public spaces at all.  Gang sexual attacks can only be responded to as break downs in civil order that require a mass, coordinated, and emphatic response in which victim behavior is simply not a factor.

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