Prevention is great for the common cold, for osteoporosis, for termite infestation, and for weeds in your garden.
When it comes to crime, there is a responsible party committing the crime who needs to be addressed as well.
We teach our children from a young age not to look inside someone else’s windows, to respect their privacy, to not take things that aren’t theirs, to not force open locked doors. Likewise, we learn to hide valuables, lock our doors, and build high fences. These things are balanced.
In the case of sexual assault, we tell young women to dress modestly, to not go out alone, to not go out at night, to walk with their keys forced between their fingers in a fist, to check under the car and behind the back seat before they get in, to always carry pepper spray, to never talk to strangers, to never leave drinks attended, to never accept drinks or food from strangers, etc.
What to we tell young men?
And when a home is invaded and electronics and jewelry are stolen, we never ask a homeowner if they tried hard enough to prevent the burglary. Courtroom proceedings never include the possibility that leaving the living room drapes open constituted an invitation or an irresistible temptation. The thief is never given a not guilty verdict just because the homeowner left their TV in plain view. If the thief had previously attended a party at the home and had watched a movie on the fabulous TV, the jury would not then assume he had a right to take it.
Yet rape victims are routinely questioned about what they were wearing, whether it was immodest, whether she left her friends to walk alone, whether she’d been drinking. The victim’s previous relationship to the rapist is ways a key argument in court, and previous consensual sex is frequently seen as invalidating any question of rape.
This is ludicrous, but it’s so common, so ingrained, so status quo, that no one questions it anymore.
We just tell women not to wear short skirts and not to take nude photos because that’s more socially acceptable than telling men to keep their hands to themselves.