Last week, a man brutally attacked a woman at a New York City bar after she rejected his advances. The woman sustained a broken eye socket, nose and jaw. Police believe the man may have attempted to sexually assault her, but the rape kit found that she had not been raped.
According to the woman’s story, the assailant had tried to dance with her but she declined. A short while later, he followed her into the bathroom and beat her. On Friday, police arrested a suspect who had been seen leaving the bar in surveillance video. He was charged with assault and attempted rape after implicating himself. I am so relieved they caught him.
This story is newsworthy enough to a feminist audience: Women risk violence when they reject men. Most times we just get “You’re ugly anyway!” or “Fat bitch!” but in extreme cases, men do things like this or worse. But what made me write about the incident is one extremely frustrating reaction I’ve read in comments sections: Get a gun! (Or some variation on that).
I’ve carry pepper spray, which I’ve written about before. But I’m under no illusion that it will protect me against any and all forms of violence. It could come in handy if I were to catch someone trying to gain entry into my apartment, or if I were to witness someone attacking another person nearby. But in the case of a surprise attack, I don’t think I’d be able to find it, unlock it and aim it at the person.
Like some “rape prevention tips” aimed at women, “Get a gun!” makes women responsible for men’s violence against them. Beaten within an inch of your life? Tsk tsk, should have had a gun. How could a gun have helped that woman in New York? I can just see her, sitting on the pot with a pistol in her lap; out on the dance floor with the loaded gun in one hand. Or are people assuming she’d be able to say, “Hey could you hold on a sec; I’ve got to get something out of my purse” as the guy’s pummeling her? It’s unrealistic and it’s offensive. Guns are not the answer to the problem of violence against women.