23 Years Later, Kurt Cobain's Comments on Rape Are More Relevant Than Ever

the disconnect between the burglary and rape analogy is that nobody asks what kind of curtains you had. Nobody says "Oh, you should've kept your curtains drawn shut," or "Oh, that homeowner always has their windows open, what did they expect?" Nobody says you really should've had thicker drapes. If you make an acquaintance and invite them over to watch a movie or sporting game on your awesome T.V. and then they come back a few weeks later and break in to steal it, nobody goes "oh, that homeowner really wanted to give that TV away since she invited the burglar over willingly before, now she regrets it and is just calling it burglary."

After we were burgled the all of these things were said to us. We had left the window a little bit open, and the blinds were only thin in that room. The police's response, and that of our families, was that 'you shouldn't have left the window open, and you should have put it better curtains'. Of course this is not a nice way to deal with burglary never mind rape. However, there is a difference between assessment of danger and appropriate precaution and blaming. Part of the problem is that since the early '90s we've come to a point where it's impossible to have any reasonable discussion about risk reduction. It's not that it should be recommended to somehow dress less slutty, or something stupid like that, it's that even the fundamentals can't be discussed. We need to find out what the triggers and the things that provoke rape, whether they're seeing a drunk person (as often claimed), or seeing a particular shade of red on a bar sign... We don't actually really understand the fundamentals of the dialogue we need to have, and research can't be done because the researchers are accused of victim blaming. To some extent this is because there are actually real people who do blame the victims, and we need to root those out. But we still need to have the conversation about risk reduction, though depending on the actual triggers that might not involve the victims at all. It may be more like DUI, where the triggers usually have nothing whatsoever to do with the victims. But we need to be allowed to actually do that research and have that conversation.

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