Bristolian advert and unintentional sexual provocation

This is not an excuseI seriously hesitated to say anything on this and the said advert on which I write might already be gone since I haven’t been in Bristol since the 23rd. Besides much has been said about rape of recent, there doesn’t seem to be a day that goes by that the topic is not mentioned in the news, a staple diet of Jezebel and a pinata for spiked.

As much as I want this advert’s aim simply to be redressing an imbalance in the way rape was formerly discussed publicly, I’m afraid to admit that it is probably making the same mistake that it aims to correct – addressing one side whilst ignoring the other. Now, given that an advert with its twitter-length of characters has to be apt and cannot possibly provide all of the nuances that an essay or any extended piece of writing could, we could again possibly accept the short anti-victim blaming sentence on rape. The advert however commits a serious fallacy of question begging.

Survey after survey seems to be in support of the opposite viewpoint, though such surveys do not ever get into the myriad of back-stories in cases of rape and it cannot. It is possible to be raped by someone you are in a relationship, not just the balaclava wearing stranger but I cannot and will not side with the slut walkers and for the most part is what this post is against.

Freedom comes at a cost, the price to be paid is the responsibility to do right and the question of modesty and proper sexual ethics is that of our obligations to neighbours as biblical defined, specifically as Jesus defines him/her.

What finally convinced me to write on this is this podcast in which one of the contributors mentioned a book on sex I have seriously enjoyed and in it he (the author) offers an analogy that has stuck with me since:

Suppose that one fine summer day, a young woman decides to enjoy the blessings of the sun, so she takes off her clothing, strolls downtown, and promenades as naked as the day she is born…The young woman is like someone lighting up a cigarette around [Petrol]. It doesn’t matter that she isn’t trying to set the [petrol] on fire; she ought to be trying not to.

– J. Budziszewski, On the Meaning of Sex. pg 121 & 122

It appears then that although a victim of rape should not be advised about ways she could have been safer in the future immediately after the fact, the conversation of not attracting unwanted attention is still one that needs to be had at one point. Though it is never right to say that anybody deserves rape, to advise that you should be doing anything to mitigate against it should not be a comment that should be shouted down in the name of freedom.

I suppose another way of reacting to this issue can be found in the video below, but I am in no way advocating an improper use of a fire extinguisher, either literally or metaphorically.


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