- Category: News
11 Mar 2013
- Written by Hillary Crosley/The Root
Last Tuesday, political strategist and writer Zerlina Maxwell appeared on Fox News' "The Sean Hannity Show" and said women should not have to get guns to protect themselves from rapists. The onus to stop the behavior, she explained, is not on the victim, but the attacker.
After her remarks, she became a lightning rod for criticism and threats, she writes at Feministing.
"Obviously, I disagreed. Giving every woman a gun is not rape prevention. If a woman chooses to go out and buy a legal gun for self-defense, that's fine. But that shouldn't be confused with actual prevention, which is really about stopping rapes before they happen and focusing on the sole party responsible: the rapist.
"Since Tuesday, I've been bombarded by conservatives on Facebook and Twitter purposefully misquoting and misunderstanding my point in order to call me dumb, bitch, idiot, and at worst threaten to gang rape common sense into me. Charming.
"My point still stands whether conservatives want to acknowledge it or not. So when I said:
"'I think that the entire conversation is wrong. I don't want anybody to be telling women anything. I don't want men to be telling me what to wear and how to act, not to drink. And I don't, honestly, want you to tell me that I needed a gun in order to prevent my rape. In my case, don't tell me if I'd only had a gun, I wouldn't have been raped. Don't put it on me to prevent the rape.'
"I meant it."
Salon followed up with Maxwell to discuss how society can make a difference by targeting men instead of women in their anti-rape messaging.
"knew going in I was going to get a lot of pushback," Maxwell says. "I didn't think I would receive rape threats. I can't even go on my Facebook page; it's full of people wanting to rape me. It's too triggering. The amount of insensitivity is shocking."
As Maxwell tells Salon, her point to Hannity was not about self-defense; it was about how we look at the big picture. "Telling every woman to get a gun is not rape prevention," she explains.
"The reality is that we need to be changing how we train and teach young men. We need to teach them to see women as human beings and respect their bodily autonomy. We need to teach them about consent and to hold themselves accountable."
And when we do, things change. After Canada launched a "Don't be that guy" consent awareness campaign in 2011, the sexual assault rate dropped for the first time in years – by 10 percent.