And don’t try to tell me that it is.
I’ve never posted an editorial on Fatal Sincerity. I sometimes put up my cultural pieces, which are decidedly not hard news. However, those articles were not written in my capacity as Resident Journalist of Save Wįyąbi Project.
My primary objective in the fight against violence towards Native women is to investigate and write pieces that lay out the facts and offer no comment. I actually love working as an Op-Ed writer. I just don’t feel that opinion pieces are what’s missing from this discussion.
Sometimes, though, I may chose to use my voice instead of just my research skills.
My gun is NOT a rape prevention tool.
It will perhaps go without saying that there has been a disturbing new trend in the media: celebrity anchormen and anchorwomen proposing that women use guns to protect themselves from being raped.
The first time that I encountered this argument was on a spring evening four years ago. Outside of my dormitory, a young man I knew said point-blank (yes) that he very much agreed with Ann Coulter in her assertion that “Guns stop rape.”
For one instant, my body contracted into a state of shock and disbelief. I could not fathom what would make a normal person say that firearms should be encouraged in such a broad manner. I began to speak:
“They want women to carry guns around? All the time? Like, all the time? What if they don’t know how to use them?”
“The point is they’d learn to use them.”
“What if they don’t feel comfortable using a gun?”
“I don’t know. The simple fact is that guns would stop rape. If they don’t carry guns, then the responsibility is on them.”
This was baffling to me. The criminal would not be responsible for their crime?
I can tell you for sure that this young man did not carry a gun on his person. I have no reason to believe that he has ever picked up a gun in his life. He was not coming from a place of experience; he was a victim of manipulation.
That manipulation can be called patriarchy. It can be called media brainwashing. Either way, it was directly caused by television programs that make unethical claims seem believable.
That was the last I heard about that for a long time. For nearly four years, people simply accepted that rape was really bad and no one should attempt it. Then the Newtown school shooting occurred.
At that time, there was a big spike in online photo and story sharing in response to the inevitable call for tighter gun control. I saw both sides from my Facebook News Feed, and I could understand both of them.
That pro-gun/anti-gun frenzy has since died down. What has taken its place is something that is not rooted in rights. It is something that is not rooted in safety. It is the scum left behind by the people who reacted with fear on either side of the gun control debate. It is the dangerous claim that nothing can stop rape but the decision to carry a concealed weapon as a woman.
Those who argue that guns stop rape: please tell me that you do not have the gall to say that I should have kept a gun with me despite all company rules and common sense. (As if bad neighborhoods are what leads to rape anyway, instead of dates and family members/friends.)
Please also comment on the fact that rape prevention classes for men, which focus on changing attitudes about rape, have been shown to be far more productive than self-defense classes for women.
Additionally, killing a man is not something you can just walk away from emotionally. I resent that this line of argument necessitates that I kill or maim another person and live with the consequences. Those who prescribe guns as a cure for rape may be comfortable with black and white thinking, but most people aren’t, and if it happened to them their mentality might change too.
Please also remember the Native woman who went to jail for shooting a man who had repeatedly molested her children and would not leave her house. There is no guarantee that a rape victim will be able to prove that the attacker would have raped her before she killed him. And in this example, the breaking and entering and molestations were known to be true!
Per federal law, it is illegal to carry a gun into a location serving hard liquor. This includes liquor stores, bars, night clubs, and restaurants. Two of these places, bars and night clubs, are perhaps the first places that cross our mind when we think of date rape drugs, including alcohol itself. This sobering fact (yes) reminds us that a victim who has had something to drink runs the risk of incapacitating his/herself to the point where they cannot safely wield a gun.
I have even heard the absurd point that it is somehow enough to point a gun at someone to scare them away. Not only is this ridiculous and based in the same mentality that tells girls they should yell “Fire!” in order to be rescued from being raped, it is advice that can ultimately lead to death. Criminals carrying a firearm who have a gun pulled on them will believe their life is in danger and immediately kill their victims. Is this not statistically proven? Is it not common sense?
Now, guns are only one part of the problem when it comes to telling women what THEY should do to prevent rape. We’ll be publishing some articles soon with an in-depth look at one particular issue that has been touching the Native American and Indigenous peoples of Canada communities lately.