Telling a woman to carry a concealed weapon is not rape prevention.
If you know me in person, you will know that I fulfil many of the stereotypes of a tree-hugging, feminist, vegetarian, pacifist Christian. I do like legumes. I don’t like guns. But this is not primarily about my unease about weapons. This is about a culture which accepts rape as inevitable and offers advice to women about what they drink and how they socialise and how they should defend themselves as some kind of a solution to the problem of sexual violence.
Sexual violence, assault and rape are never caused by the victim. The responsibility for these crimes lies with their perpetrators.
Zerlina Maxwell, a rape survivor and social commentator, made an appearance on a current affairs show in the United States last week. She said that she did not want to be told that she should have prevented her rape by carrying a gun. In the follow-up to that she has been on the receiving end of racial epithets, threats of rape and violence. It seems to epitomise rape culture: a culture which blames victims, objectifies and sexualises women, and trivialises rape. You can read more about the aftermath here and about what Zerlina Maxwell said and believes here (trigger warning: both links contain descriptions of violent threats and reference the experience of being raped).
Rape is an act of violence. The victim is not responsible. If your sexual partner does not or can not consent, you are committing a crime.