If possible, avoid being on the road after midnight on Halloween and New Years.
Why? Because that's when you're likely to see a huge spike in drunk drivers on the road, and so your chances of being in a wreck jump. If you're going to a house party, see if you can stay until morning.
Completely unoffensive, uncontroversial advice, right?
If a gunman is on campus, lock the classroom door and stay put. If someone is robbing you at gunpoint, give them your stuff, don't try to be a hero.
We've all heard these counsels of prudence, and generally accept them as tips to avoid harm caused by others. By being safe and smart, you can prevent self inflicted harm, but in a world of idiots and assholes, you need to guard yourself against the harms they cause, too.
Don't dress like a slut.
Now that one gets people riled up.
There are some assholes out there who do engage in victim blaming, who think that a woman who dresses trashy deserves what's coming to her. But, the vast majority of people don't think this way, the same way that the vast majority of people are not rapists.
For the rest of the population, the sane, generally moral, rational-if-you-make-them-think crowd, this is nothing more than advice to stay safe.
Don't make yourself a target.
How has this one particular piece of advice gotten so much negative attention?
It's impolitic, bad rhetoric, and contemporary feminism and critical theory culture engages in a race to be offended. Denouncement of a "sexist" remark rarely comes after thoughtful consideration.
Victim blaming makes for easy political points. Not the act of victim blaming, but the myth that victim blaming happens. The number of people who think that anyone could ever be "asking for it" is miniscule, made up of little more than the rapists themselves, psychopaths, and a few internet trolls who refuse to drop the contrived persona (see: psychopaths). Everyone else reaches the obvious point of "who the fuck would ask for that?!"
But, for the same reason no one ever facts checks the claims of politicians they've decided to vote for, no one critically analyzes anything that they see as potential ammunition for their cause. With this extreme level of unthinkingness, the far left of academia should have to turn in its label of "critical theory," just like Fox News has to stop insulting everyone with "Fair and Balanced," and all of the mainstream media needs to take down the banner of "news."
What you're likely to hear about now is the New York City cops who have told women wearing skirts and short shorts that they should reconsider their choices, given a string of rapes in Brooklyn.
Here's the headline from the Feminist Law Prof's blog post by Bridget Crawford, posted only a few hours after the story hit NBC New York, so of course the response is all gut but no digestion:
Victim blaming? Nope.
Slut shaming? Not that either.
Poor political sensitivities? Sure.
But, in this case, the perp has been targeting women wearing skirts. 10 attacks, all of women wearing skirts. That's his MO, not just a coincidence, and it would be negligent of the police not to warn women who are engaging in behavior that makes them more likely to be the target of a crime. What if he was targeting nurses? Would it have been offensive to advise nurses to change out of their scrubs before leaving the hospital?
From the end of the Feminist Law Prof's article:
In the meantime, kudos to the grassroots responses of the men and women behind the Brooklyn Bike Patrol and Safe Slope. Volunteers from both groups will walk people home from the subway.
Why walk people home from the subway? The obvious reason, the buddy system. People who are alone are much more likely to be attacked. But yet, no cries of victim blaming here. No loner shaming. In this case, saying a particular activity (walking home alone at night) increases your risk of being attacked is perfectly okay.
The police were also warning people in Park Slope, because that's where the attacks were occurring. No claims of Bridge and Tunnel shaming. So, it's okay to say he's targeting (1) people in Park Slope, who are (2) alone, but not add (3) wearing skirts.
At the heart of the slut shaming myth is willful ignorance of the difference between causation and blame. Anyone willing to rub two braincells together can easily understand the difference between the causes of an event and blameworthiness. And, that's what makes claims of slut shame so preposterous. You have to conflate the two in a way that defies rational thought.
If you get hit by a drunk driver, are you part of the causal chain? Of course. If you had not of been in your car driving on that particular road at that particular time, you would not have been hit. Are you to blame? No. The drunk driver who hit you is to blame, even if when he hit you was 3:00 am on New Years, and you should have been smart enough to stay home.
Wearing short skirts increases your chances of being the victim of a sexual assault.
There's no moral judgment anywhere in there. ...Except that "victim" implies someone else is to blame. But, there's no moral judgment of the skirt wearer, merely a counsel of prudence.
Still offended by "slut shaming" and "victim blaming?" Fine. Then the next time you go out, leave the door of your apartment wide open. You have a right to not have trespassers in your home, and the right to not have your shit stolen. You shouldn't have to lock your stuff up, but yet you do. It's not because you'd be morally blameworthy if your stuff got stolen.
It's because a lack of blame doesn't undo a harm.
This one goes to all them Big Will cats
With ice on they limbs and big rims on they Ac
You goin' around town with your system bump
And your windows cracked low to profile and front
Now I like to have nice things just like you
But I'm from Brooklyn, certain shit you just don't do
Like, high postin' when you far from home
Or like, high postin' when you all alone
Now, this would seem to be clear common sense
But, cats be livin' off, sheer confidence
Like "Fuck that, picture them tellin' me run that"
But acting invincible, just ain't sensible
It's nineteen ninety-now, and there's certain individuals
Swear they rollin' hard and get robbed on principle
5 star general, flashin' on your revenue
You takin' a ride on the Downstate medical, Like whooooo
Colorful sparks, yellow and blue
A full on attack and it's happening to you
Wit' nothing you can do but bust back and cop a plea
But five of them and one of you, that equals Got to me...