There is a term floating around the internet right now that seems to be used incorrectly every time I see it typed in a forum or comments section of a self-defense/pro gun post.... Victim Blaming.
This term seems to be used by people who believe that anyone who suggests people take any sort of action to prevent themselves from being a victim are saying that it's the victims fault something happened to them. Instead of changing the bad guy, change the victim. Uh, What?
You may not follow the Miss USA Pageants, but there is a reason you should care about the new Miss USA. Nia Sanchez, who is Miss Nevada, got on stage and answered a question that sent thousands of feminists into an uproar. When asked a question in the pageant in regards to sexual assaults on college campuses, the fourth-degree black belt answered that women should get training on how to defend themselves. A slew of horrible anger fueled comments on twitter followed.
As a woman in the gun and self-defense realm, I am in part relieved that there are positive role models like 2014's Miss USA to tell girls that self-defense is one solution to the problem. I am, however, also in meltdown mode because this "victim blaming" type of thinking could cause so much damage to our future generations of girls. Teaching people that the answer isn't in changing yourself, but in the other guy is a very dangerous mindset. It is making people depend on things completely out of their control. It is scary to see people encouraging others not to learn to defend themselves. It has the same effect as "gun free zones." It lets people with harmful intent know that no one can stop them.
It is horrible that there are people who are trying to change the mindset of self-defense as a whole. We have enough bad juju to fight with when it comes to guns, do we really want to add that kind of mindset to other forms of self-defense too? Do we want people getting verbally attacked and labeled as "Victim Blamers" and supporters of the "Rape Culture" because they believe self-defense is the key to being safe? Do we really want our girls afraid to learn to protect themselves because of the insults and labels that may follow? Heck No!
"Teach rapists to not rape."
I don't recall ever seeing Rape Classes offered. No one taught rapists to rape. It is someone acting on an urge or desire. You cannot teach that nor can you control what someone else's action based on such drives and desires are. How am I so sure? I was a victim. I was raped by someone who was "taught not to rape" . It made no difference what he was taught. No one could have helped me but me. You only have your own actions and response to be accountable for. There is no "victim blaming" resulting from telling women that their only real chance is to learn to defend themselves.
Part of the NRA's Refuse To Be A Victim Program, teaches women ways to make themselves appear to be less of a target. It doesn't have them round house kicking people, or being a master in the art of purse-hidden nun chucks. It involves simple actions like maintaining alertness and awareness of your surroundings, making eye contact with people, and not allowing distractions such as phones or tablets to consume your attention while out in public.
Simple tricks like unlocking your car before you get to it so you don't stand in the parking lot digging through your purse for your keys (oh, there they are, under the nun chucks!) is another great example of offensive self-defense being taught to the women in these clinics.
There is nothing "blaming" about these classes. If anything, they are empowering classes, teaching women and girls that they don't have to worry about relying on anyone else to protect them - they can do it all by themselves. Maybe we need to teach feminists like these the real meaning of a strong independent women.
"We need a culture we don't have to defend ourselves from."
Maybe if you live in a Disney movie this is a legitimate argument. No matter how hard you try, there will always be bad in the world. You cannot possibly change the thought process of every rapist, robber, and murderer out there. What you can change is the education and confidence of women everywhere. If you want to change "everyone else" than start with yourself.
If we start a society where people can defend and protect themselves, the number of crimes against people would decrease I am willing to bet! At some point, it will begin to work like an electric fence does on a dog. If they run into it enough they will stop trying to run into it and know the boundaries. If enough bad guys get their butts kicked or are denied the opportunity to commit crimes, they will at some point decrease because well, no one wants to get whooped on. If there isn't a window of opportunity, they can't continue with their plan. So, changing the world has to start with one person making a change for the better.
It is paramount that women everywhere look into taking a self-defense course, or a clinic like the NRA's Refuse To Be A Victim. You have no control over the world around you, but you do have control over yourself and how you respond to situations.
Knowledge is power. Choose to not give the bad guy the advantage.