Women should play it safe
IF a woman drinks to excess during a night out on the town, is she partly to blame for being raped or assaulted?
As uncomfortable and difficult as this question is, the answer surely is yes.
That doesn't excuse the mongrels who commit such crimes.
But some of the responsibility for their own safety must rest in the hands of women.
It's a sad and obvious fact that a proportion of men, a small but evil pack of bastards, will commit rape regardless of awareness campaigns or pleas from police and women's groups.
These types of men can't be relied on or trusted to behave appropriately, so women should do everything in their power to avoid vulnerable situations.
On many occasions, women wouldn't have been in these vulnerable situations if they had stopped at just a few drinks, rather than carrying on in a wild binge session.
The debate over responsibility was this week sparked by a rare public appeal from Cairns police that urged revellers to take more care and drink less.
Sen-Constable Cary Coolican, who should be congratulated for speaking out on the issue, said many sexual assault victims were too drunk or stoned to remember the details of the attacks.
"During investigations, it has become apparent that many of the victims have been under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicating substance at the time of the offence and do not recall the act itself or the circumstances surrounding their complaint," Sen-Constable Coolican.
"Whilst we respect the individual's right to consume alcohol, we would be encouraging people to make responsible choices regarding who they drink with, and the quantity that is consumed, some decisions may result in risky behaviour and unsafe actions."
Most blokes I know wouldn't wander the dark streets of Cairns alone at night, drunk or sober, because the risk of being attacked is too high.
The same principle should apply to women who get so drunk they can't remember their own names, let alone have the ability to make smart and safe decisions.
The Cairns Post story on this issue sparked a furore of debate on the internet, and this anonymous comment posted in response from a woman who had been raped during a big night out sums up the debate.
"Two weeks ago this happened to me. Not my fault, but true enough that had I not been drunk it's unlikely it would have happened," she wrote.
"Violence, sexually motivated or not, is ALWAYS the fault of the perpetrator. This doesn't preclude victims/potential victims from taking sensible evasive action.
"Also, I wasn't dressed provocatively, and am a 30 year old professional woman, not a 'young girl' per se."
Governments don't collect statistics on the number of evil men living among us, but there's no doubt there are too many of them out there and they're not getting any nicer.
If a woman is flirting or wearing a short skirt or drinking too much she never deserves or "asks" to be raped.
But women need to ask themselves if their binge drinking behaviour puts them at risk.
The answer is yes, it does.
So long as young women ignore this risk, and fail to report cases of rape because they were drunk, the number of horrific sex crimes will continue unabated.
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