Victimblaming a heroine? The Feminist Sexpert has something to say

Photo courtesy of Laker at Pexels

A real-life story of sheorism played itself out in my home community of Tampa Bay, Florida, recently, as a 24-year-old woman successfully fought off a rapist who tried to attack her as she exercised one evening between the walls of her apartment gym. This empowered young warrior woman fought valiantly for her life and bodily autonomy, running, punching, kicking and blocking until she exhausted her attacker and made her escape.

While many people rightfully lauded this woman for her bravery, quick thinking and her incredible show of strength, certain Internet commenters took it upon themselves to criticize the fact that she visited her apartment gym alone at night. And in one FOX News report, issues of ‘gym hookup culture’ was raised, with a mention made of women changing the way they dress when they visit the gym.

OK, that’s it. The Feminist Sexpert has had it. These people had better listen up, because I have some things to say.

It could be that this woman’s work schedule only allows for late night workouts, in a well lit gym at her apartment. It was likely because of these workouts that she successfully fought off her attacker. Where was apartment security? How did her attacker (who had previous offenses) get on the property? And why wasn’t the attacker in jail for his previous offenses?

I was once parked into my apartment parking space by an unbalanced neighbor in a car, waving at me and telling me that he felt a connection and we should get to know each other as he refused to move. I stayed locked in my vehicle, yelling and waving him out of my way until finally he moved. I then drove to my apartment office and reported his behavior.

This incident happened to me at 2 p.m. in the afternoon, and led me to wonder, Why was he allowed to move in to my apartment complex in the first place? Oh, and although I’d never met this individual, some people did question if perhaps he had read one of my erotic books and was simply reacting ‘like a horny male.’ Another said that, as a ‘pretty blonde woman,’ I was a target, and perhaps I should change my hair color. These are not the questions to be asking, and the target of an assault is not the individual who needs to be interrogated.

Also, in regards to any conversations regarding the way that women dress when they work out–sure, let’s all wear parkas and multiple layers to the gym, then end up passing out from heat exhaustion and overexertion. Men often work out completely shirtless, and somehow manage to successfully complete a workout without women sexually assaulting them. And yes, sometimes people do mutually, consensually flirt or plan dates as they exercise. This has nothing, and I mean NOTHING to do with assault.

Let’s say that a man visits an ATM machine late at night after leaving work, and valiantly fights off an attempted mugger. Would anyone blame him for being at that location at that late hour, or question his choice of apparel for the day?

This heroine deserves better than this paternalistic tripe. And women deserve better than a culture which tries to dictate the way that we dress, work, work out, and live.


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