Victim Blaming, Spanish Style

Good to know that victim blaming now gets called out all over the world. In Valladolid, Spain, hundreds of women have hung bras as a sign of protest against the city’s mayor, Francisco Javier León de la Riva, who made insensitive comments about rape victims at a time of heightened concern about gender violence:

“Sometimes it’s the other way around. Imagine you get into an elevator and there is a girl who is out to get you. She enters with you, tear off her bra or skirt and flees, shouting that you have tried to assault her,” he said. “Beware of this kind of thing.” The mayor, from the conservative People’s party, said women bear some of the responsibility in avoiding assault. Noting that “you can’t have a police officer in every park,” he said “at six in the morning a young woman should be careful of where she goes.”

He has since apologized. According to Spain’s interior ministry, a sexual assault occurs in Spain once every eight hours. But you’re right, buddy, it’s probably just a bunch of scorned women making things up.

Team Blackness also discussed a Boston Marathon bombing love story, suicide tourism in Switzerland, and a dispatch from those on the ground in Ferguson, Missouri.

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78 replies
  1. 1
    the Conster says:

    Why oh why is it so hard for men to just say “don’t rape”? So fucking sick of this male privilege shit.

    And that Boston bombing wedding story is so lovely – that’s my city and those are my people.

  2. 2
    Jebediah, RBG says:

    So he’s apologized, but I wonder if he really gets it.

    And amen to Conster’s question. Indeed – WTF is so hard about saying a) Don’t rape and b) rape is 100% the rapist’s fault, 0% victim’s fault?

  3. 3
    Baud says:

    That’s why I take the stairs.

  4. 4
    muddy says:

    Rape Prevention Tips:

    1. Don’t put drugs in people’s drinks in order to control their behavior.

    2. When you see someone walking by themselves, leave them alone!

    3. If you pull over to help someone with car problems, remember not to assault them!

    4. NEVER open an unlocked door or window uninvited.

    5. If you are in an elevator and someone else gets in, DON’T ASSAULT THEM!

    6. Remember, people go to laundry to do their laundry, do not attempt to molest someone who is alone in a laundry room.

    7. USE THE BUDDY SYSTEM! If you are not able to stop yourself from assaulting people, ask a friend to stay with you while you are in public.

    8. Always be honest with people! Don’t pretend to be a caring friend in order to gain the trust of someone you want to assault. Consider telling them you plan to assault them. If you don’t communicate your intentions, the other person may take that as a sign that you do not plan to rape them.

    9. Don’t forget: you can’t have sex with someone unless they are awake!

    10. Carry a whistle! If you are worried you might assault someone “on accident” you can hand it to the person you are with, so they can blow it if you do.

  5. 5
    chopper says:

    @the Conster:

    Why oh why is it so hard for men to just say “don’t rape”?

    i have no fucking idea.

  6. 6
    Jebediah, RBG says:

    Excellent advice.

  7. 7
    scav says:

    Not quite nail polish level of sophistication, the Spanish government issued set of guidelines aimed at reducing the incidence of sexual assault, advising “citizens to keep their curtains closed and remove their first names from their letterboxes.” and in Malaga when a rape case against five was dropped, the local mayor asked for people not to make a fuss as there were more than 1,000 cases a year in Spain and he didn’t want the local city singled out as dangerous. Lie back and think of local business and tourism! BBC Info

  8. 8
    C.V. Danes says:

    You should never blame the victim, but you should also not be afraid to reiterate that common sense applies, and that you are, indeed, at least somewhat responsible for your own safety. If you step out in a busy intersection without looking because your were too busy texting on your cell phone, then you should not be surprised if you get hit by a car, even though the driver should also have been aware as well.

    This is not to suggest that a woman should not have a reasonable expectation to not be raped or assaulted. All people should have that in a civilized society, and rape is a truely heinous crime for which no victim should be blamed. However, there are bad people lurking about who WILL rape you, man or woman, so you unfortunately do need to keep your wits about you at all times.

  9. 9
    Amir Khalid says:

    @the Conster:
    @Jebediah, RBG:
    My guess is that admitting as much, even though it necessarily follows from the legal definition of rape, feels too much like one is betraying the Man Tribe.

  10. 10
    Roger Moore says:

    Meanwhile, the California legislature just passed an “only yes means yes” law for colleges that clearly spells out that sex is only consensual if both parties explicitly agree; failure to say no is clearly defined as not being enough.

  11. 11
    Yatsuno says:

    @C.V. Danes: Hmm…how bout no. Setting aside the apples/oranges comparison, telling a woman she should modify her behaviour just to avoid a sexual assault is FIXING THE WRONG DAMN PROBLEM.

  12. 12
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @muddy: Pretty good advice. However, the best one is “imagine this other person of the opposite gender is your mother or sister. How would you expect them to be treated by a total male stranger? Act accordingly.”

    Yes, I know there are plenty of snark-filled exceptions, but as a rule of thumb, this isn’t too bad.

    Oh, a minor note on edit:

    8. Always be honest with people!

    Well, that leaves the MBAs and the banksters in territory that they are lost in.

  13. 13
    BGinCHI says:

    Basically the guy is saying: “I fantasize about women throwing themselves at me constantly, but they shouldn’t because it may lead to something bad, or if not bad, at least socially unacceptable.”

    These dudes just really wish they could force women to do things but are really frustrated that it’s not allowed.


  14. 14
    Tone In DC says:

    I thought the Spaniards were more progressive than that. I imagine the mayor’s right wing People’s Party is no better than Sarkozy’s Union for a Popular Movement; these next door neighbors appear to have that much in common.

    Off topic:

    Christopher Lollie was arrested while waiting for his kids.

  15. 15
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Jebediah, RBG:

    rape is 100% the rapist’s fault, 0% victim’s fault?

    MY SON, the football star, would NEVER DO THAT!

    Also, too, the moon is made of green cheese!

  16. 16
    Arclite says:

    I dunno. I’m not even sure how rape is possible. When a woman tells me she doesn’t want to my dick immediately shrivels up. Doesn’t that happen to everyone?

  17. 17
    Arclite says:

    @Tone In DC: Well it is a Catholic country. Im sure you’re aware the history of Catholics and rape.

  18. 18
    Amir Khalid says:

    @C.V. Danes:
    I agree that, as a practical matter, one shouldn’t make oneself an easy or inviting target for rapists or burglars. But this is precisely the red herring all too often used to distract from the perpetrator’s guilt. A victim’s carelessness with home security doesn’t make the burglar any less guilty. And one shouldn’t, how shall we put it, flaunt one’s sexiness and invite rape, but again the victim’s actions don’t make the rapist any less guilty.

  19. 19
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Arclite: There are some men who are wired differently, and it actually seems to them to be a challenge. There’s sufficient literary precedent for this angle of attack, so to speak.

  20. 20
    Arclite says:

    @Arclite: RE:Catholics, talking about the clergy of course, not the masses. Couldn’t edit comment, but I realized it sounded obtuse after I published it.

  21. 21
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Amir Khalid: Exactly. The perp is no less guilty of breaking and entering even if the door happened to be unlocked.

  22. 22
    Tone In DC says:

    Well it is a Catholic country.

    Maybe. Maybe not.
    To me, it’s more a country of the 1%.

    Just sayin’.

  23. 23
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Arclite: Significantly less obtuse than Jackhole-Cardinal Timothy Dolan.

  24. 24
    scav says:

    @Amir Khalid: Let alone the ‘have you ever left your front door unlocked? Ever? Just what did you expect by purchasing expensive possessions?! Teasing the poor like that!” line of questioning of a rape victim’s entire life and personality.

  25. 25
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @BGinCHI: I’m steamed because Scarlett Johansson hasn’t shown up on my doorstep, disrobed, and demanded that I take her right there, right now.

    Well, it COULD happen!

  26. 26
    muddy says:

    @C.V. Danes:

    However, there are bad people lurking about who WILL rape you, man or woman, so you unfortunately do need to keep your wits about you at all times.

    I know, it makes it so hard at Thankgiving.

  27. 27
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:
    I feel your pain. I held the exact same grudge against Gillian Anderson for years.

  28. 28
    BGinCHI says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: I assume you would deliver to her a harsh lecture on the perils of such behavior.

  29. 29
    muddy says:

    I did get one chuckle out of the idiot Spaniard. Saying that she ought expect it if she is out at the bizarre hour of 6am. Don’t they have to go to work? Then I remembered it was Spain and they eat supper at 10pm, so do they not get up early?

  30. 30
    Paul in KY says:

    @BGinCHI: I think he was more saying some woman who does not like him pretends he assaulted her. Evidently that happens to him a lot.

  31. 31
    muddy says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Does she have your address? You can’t win the lottery until you buy the ticket!

  32. 32
    Mnemosyne says:


    To get a little gruesome, here in Los Angeles in the 1970s, Richard “The Night Stalker” Ramirez snuck into his victims’ houses through open and/or unlocked windows. And yet the state still prosecuted him for murder even though it was obviously the victims’ own fault for leaving their windows open!
    /snark, in case it wasn’t completely obvious

  33. 33
    Yatsuno says:

    @muddy: DAMMIT! Your answer was clever and snarky! I’m having me a jealous now!

  34. 34
    muddy says:

    @Paul in KY: I was dating this guy who was kind of appalled that I was friends with men I had previously dated. He said he wasn’t on speaking terms with anyone he used to date, and he thought that was normal. When we broke up it was apparent why, christ what an asshole!

  35. 35
    Amir Khalid says:

    “Sometimes it’s the other way around. Imagine you get into an elevator and there is a girl who is out to get you. She enters with you, tear off her bra or skirt and flees, shouting that you have tried to assault her,” he said.

    Isn’t this one of the classical pr0n-film setups?

  36. 36
    Mnemosyne says:

    @C.V. Danes:

    In case it isn’t immediately obvious from the snark you got, the reason that responding to rape with “safety rules” is stupid is that rape (and other kinds of sexual assault) is the only crime where not following the “rules” means that your attacker will never be prosecuted. If you leave your door unlocked and your house gets burglarized, the cops aren’t going to refuse to take a police report and instead say, Well, what did you expect would happen? You were leading them on. I hope this is a good lesson to you for next time.

  37. 37
    C.V. Danes says:

    @Yatsuno: @Amir Khalid:

    Let me see if I can reword this. I have three daughters of my own, and I have raised them to treat men like sharks: they are generally ok until there’s the scent of blood in the water, then all bets are off. Raising them to be cautious around men might be sexist, but if it keeps them from getting date-raped by an overzealous college kid who’s had one too many drinks, then I’ll take the hit. That being said, I would never blame them if something happened and they got raped, and the rapist’s life wouldn’t be worth the price of the lead bullet I would unload into the back of his skull.

  38. 38
    muddy says:

    @Mnemosyne: Also, the “rules” are impossible in many cases. “Don’t be a helpless child.” Okay! Good tip! It has nothing to do with walking around advertising goods.

  39. 39
    Mnemosyne says:

    @C.V. Danes:

    You wouldn’t blame them, but good luck taking their rapists to court. Enjoy seeing your daughter dragged through the mud as the defense demands to know why she would be so stupid as to break any of the “rules” you listed above, and a few more you didn’t know existed until the jury comes back with a “not guilty” verdict.

    Because, again, rape (and sexual assault) is the only crime where it’s the victim who has to explain his/her behavior to the jury’s satisfaction, not the criminal.

  40. 40
    C.V. Danes says:

    @Mnemosyne: The Puritan-themed “she had it coming because she was dressed like a whore” meme is complete and utter bullshit, and the cops who play that game are no better than the rapists.

  41. 41
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Mnemosyne: Now, to be fair, black people who get shot have to explain their behavior too. :P

  42. 42
    C.V. Danes says:

    @Mnemosyne: Oh, I understand you. But as an old-school southerner, I will tell you that justice would be had, courts or otherwise.

  43. 43
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Mnemosyne: Actually, no defendant has any obligation to explain any behavior in a criminal case.

  44. 44
    Visceral says:

    In the old days, the responsibility of controlling male sexuality fell upon women’s male relatives. I have a Mexican coworker who prefers “traditional” women and his dates’ families always send one of her brothers along with her. The problem with safety measures is that they don’t work if you engage in risky behaviors, unless they oppressively rule out those risky behaviors completely. The patriarchal code that demanded that men protect women also expected women not to tempt fate, and to that end it empowered the same men to police female sexuality as well. I think that the dilemma for feminists is their need to have it both ways: women deserve complete sexual autonomy and deserve to be “secure in their persons” … but somehow the second must not interfere with the first, or women are being violated in a different way. With those demands, it’s inevitable that the onus is put entirely upon men to “Just don’t rape!”.

  45. 45
    C.V. Danes says:

    @Visceral: And the vast majority of men, indeed, don’t rape, just as the vast majority of men are not pedophiles. Rape is not about sex, but about power, and men (and women) who rape are psychopaths who need to be removed from society.

  46. 46
    Baud says:


    Haha, DougJ. I knew your new job couldn’t keep you down for long.

  47. 47
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:


    I think that the dilemma for feminists is their need to have it both ways: women deserve complete sexual autonomy and deserve to be “secure in their persons” … but somehow the second must not interfere with the first, or women are being violated in a different way. With those demands, it’s inevitable that the onus is put entirely upon men to “Just don’t rape!”.

    I don’t think that expecting sexual autonomy and being physical secure constitutes a “need to have it both ways.” As far as putting the onus on men to “Just don’t rape!”, it seems pretty reasonable to me. Men commit the vast majority of rapes; if those who do it would stop, rape more or less goes away.

  48. 48
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    Please. You know what I mean. If someone’s house is burglarized, does the victim have to explain to the court why they didn’t turn the burglar alarm on that night or else the jury will assume that they voluntarily handed all of their goods over?

  49. 49
    Amir Khalid says:

    Are you suggesting that any part of the onus belongs somewhere else?

  50. 50
    aimai says:

    @C.V. Danes: Fuck off you moron. What “special precautions” should women take in their own homes? Walking in the street during the day? Stepping into an elevator? Rapes don’t occur in dark alleys at 2 in the morning they occur in public spaces and private spaces at all times of the day and night.

  51. 51
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): @Amir Khalid: Heehee, you said “onus.”

  52. 52
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Mnemosyne: The problem is, of course, that the prosecution needs to establish lack of consent. It is an element of the crime. Rape shield laws provide some protection, but ultimately the prosecution has to prove its case and the defendant has a right to a vigorous (and ethical) defense.

  53. 53
    C.V. Danes says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    Men commit the vast majority of rapes; if those who do it would stop, rape more or less goes away.

    True, but the vast majority of men are not rapists. A rapist is not like a potential burglar who can be reformed, and a man (or woman) doesn’t rape because of they’re bored or have nothing better to do. Rapists are sexual deviants on the order of pedophiles, and they are not going to stop any more than a pedophile is going to stop touching children.

  54. 54
    aimai says:

    @C.V. Danes: Oh, and delusional as well. You are an “old school southerner” who would get your “justice? in court or out of it? How childish. How absurd. For fuck’s sake are you really going to pretend that the fantasy notion that you would exact revenge for a rape of a family member has anything to do with reality? Or says anything to the thousands of women who get raped every day, with impunity, by family members and friends and even their self described old school southern protectors? This kind of internet tough guy posturing is beyond ridiculous.

  55. 55
    aimai says:

    @C.V. Danes: This is also simply not true. Rapists are not “sexual deviants” or particularly rare. Lots of sexual assaults and rapes are committed by guys who consider themselves and their sexual proclivities perfectly normal. And indeed they are normal for their social circle–lots of rape is very much a socially approved crime, engaged in by groups of men who egg each other on. The Canadian campaign “don’t be that guy” which sought to educate men about what consent really is lowered the sexual assault rates significantly in the colleges where it was tried. Its fatally easy and quite wrong to assert that rapists are some “other” type of person who are distant from “normal” guys .

  56. 56
    ruemara says:

    @Visceral: you seem to have regurgitated some bilge. Please clean up.

  57. 57
    C.V. Danes says:

    @aimai: When someone one breaks into your home, there’s nothing you can do. That is a separate case from being in a bar and accepting a drink from someone you don’t know, idiot.

  58. 58
    scav says:

    You see, the problem is that men are incapable of self control. They have to have it policed by other men or, second best, controlled by the actions of women. Silly to expect men to govern their actions and not infringe like billy-o the persons of others! Sharks gotta be sharks, boys will be boys, lead weights gotta fall if left to the influence of gravity and men gotta whip out their dicks (or proxies) if they see any loose (that is to say visible) entity running about they feel the need to assert dominance and control over.

  59. 59
    the Conster says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    There was an interesting story on NPR a week or so ago about some polling of college age men about sexual assaults – it turns out that just a few men are actually responsible for a bunch of assaults – they do it because their strategy is successful (to their way of thinking), and they think that their behavior is acceptable or even admired by their peers who don’t stop them or otherwise interfere. The rapists interpret their friends’ non-interference as acceptance, but the polling actually found that their perceptions are faulty – their peers find the behavior abhorrent but don’t feel like they have the skills to stop it. Based on those results a program was started that trains college men to recognize the behavior pattern and intervene to defuse the entire situation. Most of the assaults are planned for party situations and the rapists often brag about how it’s all going to go down – they actively seek their targets and put it all into play. One guy from the training explained how he’s developed a real skill now for reading body language and can spot a developing situation across a room, and how he deals with it. It’s really all about men controlling their own behavior and not accepting other men’s behavior. Which is why men need to say over and over, “don’t rape”.

  60. 60
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @C.V. Danes:

    A rapist is not like a potential burglar who can be reformed,

    I disagree with you to a certain extent. While there certainly are people who are as you describe, there also are people should but don’t know better. People who think it is okay to get a woman drunk tot he point of passing out and then have sex with her. Behaviors like that are laughed off by society far too often. People do it because they think it is okay. When we as a society make it clear that the behavior is not acceptable, a good number of guys will think twice before they do it. While a direct comparison to smoking or drunk driving is not apt, the fact that those behaviors went from acceptable if not encouraged to socially unacceptable shows that it can be done.

  61. 61
    C.V. Danes says:

    @aimai: I guess I was raised differently, then. Where (and when) I was raised, rape was not considered a “casual” activity. A man who was a rapist was considered as low as a pedophile.

  62. 62
    Visceral says:

    @Amir Khalid: I’m saying that it seems pretty weaksauce if words are all you’ve got because you’ve painted yourself into an ideological corner where anything you do or don’t do is actually other people oppressing you.

  63. 63
    C.V. Danes says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): I agree, to some extent, but getting a woman drunk and having sex with her is still deviant behavior, in my book. Date rape vs. violent rape might be a difference in magnitude, like being a sociopath vs. a psychopath, but both are still deviant behaviors.

  64. 64
    Calouste says:


    The victim of the burglary that forgot to set the alarm or lock the door would probably have to explain themselves to the insurance company.

  65. 65
    scav says:

    @Calouste: But that’s about whether they lived up to their contract about getting reimbursed for losses not about whether a crime had been committed.

  66. 66
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @C.V. Danes: You are giving the impression of someone who believes that rape only happens in dark alleys at gun or knife point. That happens to not be the case.

    @Visceral: The person at fault in a rape is the rapist. It all goes back to that. A woman should be able to dress a provocatively as she chooses and sleep with or not sleep with as many people as she chooses without having sex forced on her without her consent. It’s pretty fucking basic. So, yeah, just don’t rape.

  67. 67
    muddy says:

    @C.V. Danes: I don’t consider violent rape worse than “date” rape, severe physical injuries aside of course. You expect a stranger leaping out in an alley to be a bad guy. When it is a friend or loved one, not only are you just as raped, but now you can’t trust anyone.

  68. 68
    C.V. Danes says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    You are giving the impression of someone who believes that rape only happens in dark alleys at gun or knife point. That happens to not be the case.

    No, I’m saying that rape is deviant behavior no matter where or how it happens, and alcohol is not an excuse. I have been drunk many, many times, and never once have I had the urge to take sexual advantage of a woman. Blaming it on alcohol or “the situation” is merely excusing deviant behavior. Rape is deviant behavior, and should be treated as such.

    If a pedophile gets drunk and touches a child, we don’t blame it on alcohol. Rapists shouldn’t get a pass, either.

  69. 69
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @C.V. Danes: No one is blaming it on alcohol or excusing the situation. No one is denying that rape is deviant behavior. People are saying that some rapists don’t view their actions as rape and that it needs to be made clear to them that it actually is.

  70. 70
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Roger Moore: OK, I can see something happening along this lines:

    MAN: Smartphone on. Recording. Linda, I’m asking you right now do you consent to having sex with me this evening. Please answer yes or no.

    WOMAN: Well, yes, but you can’t leave that thing on, and no, there are certain sex acts that I do not consent to. For example, put that french tickler away, and no, I do not want you to continue recording and then posting this on Facebook so your friends I wouldn’t want to have sex with can jerk off to our lovemaking. In the spirit of this request, I’m going to turn my phone off now, also, because this will have to be all the proof I can use that had you with my “Sex in the City” gang.

    MAN: OK, we’ll call that a yes with conditions. In compliance with those conditions, recording off.

  71. 71
    C.V. Danes says:

    Just to wrap this up, all I’m saying is this: If Uncle Bob has a reputation of being too friendly with kids, then don’t let Uncle Bob babysit your children. If you know that situations exist where the chance for rape is higher, then don’t put yourself in those situations. This not to say that you still can’t get raped at work or in your home, or that your child might not still get felt up in day care. And if you do go to a bar and get roofied, you are no more at fault than a child who suddenly finds himself alone with Uncle Bob at a birthday party. But it is not blaming the victim to suggest that you be mindful of your safety when you’re out and about. Bad shit happens, and rapists are predators, just like pedophiles. Be careful out there.

  72. 72
    A Humble Lurker says:

    @C.V. Danes:
    Uh…why don’t you just report Uncle Bob to the police?

  73. 73
    scav says:

    @A Humble Lurker: Because Daddy knows best and Daddy knows it is better that all women re-examine and adapt their behavior and culture because some of it may be rapist-enabling (a concept they’ve apparently been ignorant of until so recently kindly pointed out), but men needn’t examine their rapist enabling behaviors and culture because all rapists are that entirely distinct species of ‘deviants’. Daddy is enlightened because he will exonerate his own daughters from the ‘deviant’ descriptor so long as they follow his rules and stay in the areas he has outlined as ‘safe’.

  74. 74
    Another Holocene Human (now with new computer) says:

    @C.V. Danes: Your advice boils down to “never trust anybody ever again.”

    You realize that way lies madness?

  75. 75
    Another Holocene Human (now with new computer) says:

    @Amir Khalid: Never mind that a not insignificant number of serial stranger rapists ARE burglars (or keysmiths, or laborers who had access to the property), and that the majority of rapes are not stranger rapes but committed by someone “known to the victim” who was allowed to be there!

    The only thing that stops rapists from raping is being caught and convicted. Getting away with anti-social behavior is the #1 fuel to recidivism that there is. In a world where people don’t get away with it, many will never start. In a world where they do get away with it, not only are there more rapes and more rapists, you have all these elaborate rationalizations to explain why it isn’t an act of betrayal and anti-social violence.

    ETA: @Mnemosyne: This.

  76. 76
    Another Holocene Human (now with new computer) says:

    @C.V. Danes: Whoa, don’t quit your day job because your grasp of criminology sucks.

    In fact, post-prison recidivism of burglars is MUCH higher than post-prison recidivism of pedophiles.

    The More You Know.

  77. 77
    Another Holocene Human (now with new computer) says:

    @C.V. Danes: Unless he raped his wife or girlfriend, or a Black prostitute, or the farm animals. Then it wasn’t even a crime.

  78. 78
    Paul in KY says:

    @muddy: Glad you got rid of him!

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