The implicit victim-blaming at the heart of the gun fetish

31 Jan 2013 10:17 pm
Posted by: Donna

So there was this cartoon recently:

conservative rape kit

Needless to say, it was gross on a bunch of levels and I didn’t want to give it more exposure. But yesterday some woman named Gayle Trotter, who works at a thing called the Independent Women’s Forum, testified before the Senate. She claimed that guns were essential to women’s freedom and safety and related anecdotes of women defending themselves with guns. Also, dumb Arizona Republican legislators, of course, have introduced dumbass gun laws in a tonedeaf response to the public outcry over recent mass shootings.

All of that is of a piece with the callous and toxic “you’re on your own” mentality that pervades a significant minority of the American population and one of the major political parties. It appears that many the same people who believe that there should be no safety net available if financial misfortune befalls you also feel that you are completely responsible for ensuring that you are not the victim of physical assault or rape. It’s no surprise, then, that Gayle Trotter wants women to have unlimited access to assault weapons but opposed the Violence Against Women Act. She, like the rape cartoonist, figures if you fail to arm yourself against an assailant, or lose the shootout with him, you had it coming. Here are Trotter’s own words regarding VAWA:

And now, bill supporters have used the occasion of the reauthorization to add unrelated and extraneous provisions, including an expansion of the prosecutorial power of American Indian courts that could deny due process to non-American Indians.

VAWA now touches hot button immigration issues, which have the potential to encourage immigration fraud, false allegations of abuse, and denial of a rebuttal by the accused spouse, whether male or female.

Americans all want to deter violence, but we also need to protect that foundational principle of the presumption of innocence. As Frances McInnis wrote in Slate: “People who are wrongly accused can face high legal fees, a ruined reputation, and even jail time.” Needed resources like shelters and legal aid can be taken by false accusers, denying real victims of abuse access to these supports. That result runs directly counter to the VAWA’s spirit.

Yeah, you’re not just a weakling if you seek legal protection against your abuser. You’re probably a liar too, and likely one of those people, i.e. not an upstanding self-reliant bootstraps yanker-upper like Gayle Trotter. It’s truly fascinating how sexist racist xenophobic welfare stereotypes weave their way into every right wing stance. And don’t even think you’re actually going to get away with defending yourself if you’re one of those people and/or a battered woman.

As I’ve said before, this is where the vastly different cultural standards by which men and women are judged begin to rear their ugly heads. Although MRAs would have us believe that women can kill a man in cold blood and use “he looked at me cross-eyed” as a defense to get off scot-free, reality is ever-so-slightly different, especially for women of color. Even in cases of self-defense against an abusive male partner/spouse—in which upwards of 80% of cases have previous calls to police—battered women who use violent means to defend themselves are being convicted or are accepting pleas at a rate of 75-83% nationwide.

The whole point of gun nuttery is blaming crime victims to ensure endless gun profits and propping up right wing politicians.


  1. Comment by Timmys Cat on February 1, 2013 5:11 pm

    Wingnuts also love to bring in the fear of sexual assault as being prevented if those silly women only owned a gun.

    How about a liberal take on another horror.

    Favorite choice of a right wing deranged killer. An assault rifle with a huge magazine.
    Favorite choice of a deranged left wing killer. A pamphlet and granola bar.

    Hey! If they can make up stupid but seemingly profound shite so can I.

  2. Comment by todd on February 3, 2013 4:20 pm

    There is a portion of conservatives out there that actually believe that not walking around armed is irresponsible and would probably like to force everyone to own a gun.

  3. Comment by Bodo on February 4, 2013 11:31 am

    Right on! Why do you think women join the War on Women?

  4. Comment by Mike Slater on February 4, 2013 1:53 pm

    Timmy’s Cat, what’s your definition of an assault weapon?

    Todd, I have a concealed carry permit and carry all the time. I wouldn’t want anyone to own a gun that doesn’t want to.

  5. Comment by Ted Mason on December 18, 2014 11:22 pm

    Well said, Right ON! love this. We need more outspoken resistance to the current consumer dulled voter. Ugh. Thank you guys. Ted Mason

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