“Reframing the Victim” struck on what seems to be a strangely flawed feminist logic on preventing sexual violence on campus. Bazelon writes, “Student activists argue that the burden [to reduce the risk of rape] should be almost entirely on men.” Yet taking a public-health perspective, knowing the risks of drunken driving, driving without a seatbelt or smoking cigarettes, who would consciously abdicate her own control in her safety in those behavioral choices? There is no philosophical opposition to these logical approaches to protecting one’s self. As a society, we spread this information and view it as a success when the behavior changes are broadly accepted. Why do we rewrite the rules, effectively disempowering women to protect themselves from the risks of their own behavior? It seems like there is one major behavioral change with the potential for significant impact, if young women view it as a source of empowerment. Men need to be held wholly responsible for their actions, but women deserve the respect of being responsible for theirs.
Jennifer Goldsmith, “The Thread”, The New York Times Magazine (27 September 2015), 22.