Not sheepish, but individ-ewe-al
2009-06-09 12:11 am (UTC)
you probably know where i stand on this, because it's the thought that comes up most often when i read these sort of discussions. (Cereta's post is very very good, thanks for linking, for the likes of me that don't pay attention). i'm totally with you on the doing what i want when/how i want. And what i notice is that if you say "I do this dangerous (or perceived to be) sport for a hobby" or "I take unnecessary health risks like smoking/doing street-bought drugs" or whatever, people tend not to lecture you too much - they assume you already know the score. But i have many times experienced people - over-ridingly women - lecture me, sometimes even grab me or say they won't 'let' me go home/out by myself. As if i need to be informed that there is a risk.
And yes, i know that being raped is not like breaking a leg or the indirectness of an increased risk of cancer, say, but I say - we chose what matters to us in how we live and something that has always been extremely important to my enjoyment in life since the first years i felt like my own person, is the feeling of walking around a city at night, of choosing on whim to go out, of getting myself home. Going out with a big group all escorting each other is almost as alien to me as going to the bathroom in a posse at school, and you can imagine how that is with me. I wouldn't be who i am now if i didn't go home alone.
I disagree with you on the value of self-defence classes though. Yes those ones at school were pretty awful, but that was mainly teenage girls creating their own hysteria. i think that in general, and in more controlled groups, it can be very valuable in that it gives women who are otherwise afraid, a feeling of empowerment, confidence, and hopefully the ability to fight back more effectively. More recently i've done a bit of self-defence as part of general training, and while it was useful to illustrate some of the moves we were doing elsewhere, i didn't feel like i gained from it, but i know others did. i also didn't feel like i would be able to use it in a real situation, but assuming women don't put themselves at greater real risk because they think they're invincible, it isn't so much of an issue. and i don't think a few classes of 'how to avoid a punch and get out of a grasp' are going to make anyone think that.
I agree with you on the misplaced focus on personal safety in these discussions, definitely. It is the wrong message, and avoids the uncomfortable truth of the majority of rapists not being evil strangers but those we know the faces of.
On the other hand, i'm trying to think of those occasions when someone didn't take an
opportunity to rape me, and there aren't that many. one time is the one and only time i passed out from drink, in the flat of a friend of a friend, and woke up on the sofa in the morning. i have often slept in unusual places but never otherwise done so drunk. i may pace the streets in the early hours, but i do so sober, looking unremarkable and wearing shoes i can run in. i'm convinced attire makes statistically little difference, but it makes me feel more capable, and i think that probably makes more of a difference.
It's an odd one, i can't help but be gender-blind in a lot of respects. i see people with varying characteristics, of which gender is one, and it tends not to define how i treat people. but i do know, having experienced first-hand that blurry edge of what 'regular' guys find acceptable in themselves, that men, in general, don't see us that way. part of their way of seeing us is what they would/could/might do to us, given the opportunity. i'm not explaining this very well. anyway although i know that it isn't reciprocal, the way i see other people, i can't help it. i've wandered down a little mental path and now it's time to bed. (i might come back to this...)
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