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Column: Women are not to blame

Perspectives on Walter Block

Published: Thursday, March 22, 2012

Updated: Friday, March 23, 2012 18:03


Dear editor,

As a feminist, Loyola alumna and women’s historian, I found several fatal flaws with the “facts” argued in Walter Block’s column, “Several fatal flaws mar the feminist movement.”

Block begins with an argument against feminism that would make any philosophy professor’s head explode: “If they (most people) favor something — anything — it is probably immoral, fallacious and wrong-headed.” Not only is this statement the definition of an ad hominem (and a red herring, for that matter), it also holds interesting, if not damning, implications for Block’s endorsement of capitalism, the chosen economic system of “most people” in America.

I won’t even respond to the second ad hominem of his article, that “Feminists are typically socialists, communists, etc.,” because I have self-respect. Nor will I respond to Block’s statement that, “There is a wealth of empirical data attesting that well armed women are safer,” because anyone with a computer and the Internet (“as well as common sense”) can prove him wrong.

But now to the core of Block’s magnificent and groundbreaking argument: Take Back the Night is only beneficial because when rapists are contemplating it “they are laughing so uproariously” that “they are incapable of raping anyone.”

Well, Block, what you fail to realize is that rape is not just a physical assault that can be healed with self-defense classes and an AK-47. Rape is an assault against an individual’s feelings of self-power, control over one’s own body, security within one’s body, comfort with one’s sexuality and, most importantly (in the context of Take Back the Night), faith in the protection of one’s community from these assaults. So no, Take Back the Night is not beneficial because it makes rapists laugh. Instead, and I know this might be too subtle for you, it is beneficial because the event is focused solely on “taking back” one’s power after an assault with the full attention and support of one’s community. It’s about women and men declaring that survivors will not be silenced by the humiliation of the assault, that survivors will not be driven into hiding by the brutality of the experience and that survivors will not let their community forget that these assaults are occurring.

But more importantly, what Dr. Block fails to realize is that women are not being raped because they are unarmed; they are being raped because men think it’s OK to penetrate a woman’s body without her consent. Can you see the difference, Dr. Block? Your argument blames the rape survivor for not properly protecting herself from an assault, while my argument places blame on the rapist. To be clear: women’s actions do not need to change to stop rape. Instead, our social ideas about the sovereignty of women’s bodies and the behavior of men need to change.

Dr. Block, if you had even one ounce of the courage and grace that Take Back the Night speakers and participates possess, you would be incapable of writing such a cowardly and disgusting column.



Jennifer Hunt A’11

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2 comments Log in to Comment

Wed May 23 2012 18:36
"There is simply a percentage of people who are immoral or amoral and will violate you because they want to."
Yes, and the feminist movement works to decrease this percentage. What makes that stupid?
There definitely is a rape culture in our society. Feminism is not just educating men about the sanctity of other people's bodies- it educates women too. It educates society as a whole that men and women are equal. A woman's choice to have/ not have sex holds as much value as a man's. Dr. Block never argues that all rapists are sociopaths and cannot be educated about rape. Society raises mentally healthy children to believe women are subordinate to men. Most rapists attack women to demonstrate their power, not because they lack sympathy for all people. Dr. Block's only argument is that women are responsible to protect themselves against rape. Oh yeah, and that we should keep the titles Mrs. and Miss because he's a creep and needs to know a woman's marital status.
Comparing rape to theft is fucking ridiculous. What about the women that do carry mace, take self-defense classes, and don't drunkenly go out? What about the ones that are raped by bosses, teachers, family members, and people they never thought they needed to take precautions against? Are they still foolish? Many women AND men are raped by people they know.
I highly doubt you prepare yourself against a possible rape from everyone you meet.
Single men, good luck meeting somebody when every woman should take precautions against you possibly raping her. Clearly they'd be foolish to not expect it.
Fri Mar 30 2012 10:32
This is the same stupid feminist argument: men think it's ok blah blah blah. That's nonsense. Rapists KNOW what they're doing is wrong. They do what they do because they just don't care. We call such people who disregard others in this way sociopaths and we acknowledge that some percent, X, of the human race will consist of such people. There is no "rape culture" or "lack of understanding" by men about what rape is. There is simply a percentage of people who are immoral or amoral and will violate you because they want to. So what people like Dr. Block are arguing is that given such people exist and given that you can't educate away sociopathy, why not take some precautions.

To put it another way: I bet you have locks on your doors, right? Why? Why do you take such a precaution? Why not just try to educate away the problem of theft? Because you know that theft is not an issue of education. Thieves know theft is wrong. They just don't care. So those of us who will bear the negative consequences of being robbed from take precautions against such people. It's no different with rape: those of you who will bear the brunt of the negative consequences from being raped are foolish if you don't take precautions.

Again, don't try to make this an issue of men needing to be educated about the sanctity of other people's bodies. Everyone already understands this. Some people just don't care and you can't make them care.

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