Today I found an article online from the New York Times. An article that hit a very strong, feminist nerve in me. The article is titled, “A Bid for Guns on College Campuses to Deter Rape.” It’s catchy, newsworthy, and trending. You put the words “guns” and “rape” into a title and it is bound to be read. All these things that pulled me in, and I hope it pulled in many other readers, as I am very curious as to how other people reacted to this article.
The focus of the article centers on lawmakers pushing to pass a bill allowing students to carry concealed weapons on campuses. The legislators’ main marketing pull? So women can arm themselves against potential rapists.
Florida State Representative Dennis K. Baxley states in the article, “If you’ve got a person that’s raped because you wouldn’t let them carry a firearm to defend themselves, I think you’re responsible.”
Because only women who don’t carry firearms are raped? And that makes it the state’s fault for denying a woman the right to protect herself and not the rapists. Right?
Michele Fiore, an Assemblywoman in Nevada is quoted saying, “If these young, hot little girls on campus have a firearm, I wonder how many men will want to assault them. The sexual assaults that are occurring would go down once these sexual predators get a bullet in their head.”
Because we should fight rape with murder. Right?
In case you aren’t up to date on who is to blame in a rape situation, it is the rapist. I repeat, the rapist. It is not the woman’s fault because she’s not allowed to carry a gun on campus, nor is it the state’s fault for not allowing her that “right.”
Here’s another thought that didn’t cross these legislator’s minds when pushing to pass this bill, supposedly in defense of all women. Unless this law only allows women to carry firearms on campus, which I assume it doesn’t, then the men on campus would be able to carry firearms as well. Men have been proven more likely to become a gun owner in comparison to women. Would it not put more women at risk on campus if caught in a sexual assault situation when throwing a gun into the mix?
This push for weapons on campus only proves that conservative politicians are using the topic of rape and the rising feminist movement to propel forward their bill of allowing guns on privatized properties. And it is sadly working.
I am not against gun ownership. My family owns firearms, I have shot firearms, and believe that, as they are legal in the United States, I should know my way around a gun opposed to remaining ignorant of them and their presence. What angers me about this bill is how, where it was once blame placed upon rape victims, now it’s somehow their responsibility to prevent it.
It’s not women’s job to constantly be on the watch for rapists. We shouldn’t have to walk around in so much fear that we feel we must carry a potentially fatal weapon with us at all times. We should be able to feel safe, to trust, without the assistance of a .22 automatic in our bags. All women should not be seen as sexual prey just as all men should not be seen as sexual predators. The only responsibility anyone has when it comes to rape is the criminal justice and judicial system to make rape cases and victims a priority. It is no secret that many women don’t go to the police for help after being sexually assaulted, and if they do they often receive no answers. Rape kits sit on shelves for years, waiting to be tested because our system does not have the resources to efficiently find and give these victims answers and bring their offenders to justice.
It is never the victims fault or responsibility. If anyone is held responsible it is the offender, who should then be held responsible and made to face the serious consequences of their actions by our judicial system, and its about goddamn time we got that through our heads.