Washington Post: Slutty single mothers, not men, responsible for violence against women

Hooo boy! It’s only Tuesday and we are on a roll here already with the victim blaming. This weekend brought us George Will’s charming op-ed about how violence against women and sexual assault barely even happen ever and most women are just making it all up because being a rape victim is so cool these days. Now, today, the Washington Post has brought us a simply delightful op-ed about how one way to stop violence against women is for single mothers to marry the biological fathers of their children, instead of slutting it up all over town. Seriously.

The article–originally titled “One way to stop violence against women? Stop taking lovers and get married” but later changed to “One way to stop violence against women? Married dads”–was written by W. Bradford Wilcox and Robin Fretwell Wilson.

Wilcox, coincidentally, works for the American Enterprise Institute, the same think tank responsible for George Wills deeply confused and incorrect math regarding rape and sexual assault. Someone sure has an agenda.

The article starts out like it’s going to be normal and non-controversial, acknowledging the fact that the #YesAllWomen hashtag highlighted the fact that violence against women is more common than many would like to think–but it’s pretty clear where it’s going by the second paragraph.

“This social media outpouring makes it clear that some men pose a real threat to the physical and psychic welfare of women and girls. But obscured in the public conversation about the violence against women is the fact that some other men are more likely to protect women, directly and indirectly, from the threat of male violence: married biological fathers. The bottom line is this: Married women are notably safer than their unmarried peers, and girls raised in a home with their married father are markedly less likely to be abused or assaulted than children living without their own father.”

See, that was actually one of the things that we were discussing, but apparently not in the way these people would like. You see, when men are willing to stop harassing you out of respect for your real or imaginary husband, that’s still kind of a problem. We’re trying to get to a place where a woman’s word that she’s not interested is enough. We’re trying to get to a place where a woman doesn’t have to be afraid to just say “I’m not interested” and not fear there will be violent repercussions. We’re trying to get to a place where we attack the source of the violence and not going around trying to figure out how women are bringing it upon themselves.

When it comes to male-perpetrated violence against women, when it comes to sexual assault, women are not the fucking problem. It’s not something we’re doing wrong, it’s something these men are doing wrong. We are tired of walking around in circles with our keys held in our hands like a weapon. We are tired of mincing our words for fear we will offend the fragile male ego and end up with our heads blown off. We are tired of being told it’s because we’re slutty, because we wore a skirt, because we drank too much, because we walked alone at night, because we led him on. Enough already! Trust us when we say that we’ve heard it enough, it doesn’t work, and we’d like to start talking about something else now.

Wilcox and Wilson then go on to explain that women and children are statistically safer in married homes. So, obviously, if women don’t want to invite violence into their lives, they will close their goddamned whore legs and just get married already.

“Women are also safer in married homes. As the figure above (derived from a recent Department of Justice study) indicates, married women are the least likely to be victimized by an intimate partner. They are also less likely to be the victims of violent crime in general. Overall, another U.S. Department of Justice study found that never-married women are nearly four times more likely to be victims of violent crime, compared to married women. The bottom line is that married women are less likely to be raped, assaulted, or robbed than their unmarried peers.”

The implication being, of course, that if they don’t get married, they’re putting both themselves and their children in danger. Those selfish bitches. Wilcox and Wilson do, of course, offer the caveat that it’s entirely possible that the women they are talking about may actually have good reasons for not marrying the biological fathers of their children, but not without a healthy dose of shade.

For women, part of the story is about what social scientists call a “selection effect,” namely, women in healthy, safe relationships are more likely to select into marriage, and women in unhealthy, unsafe relationships often lack the power to demand marriage or the desire to marry. Of course, women in high conflict marriages are more likely to select into divorce.

Ah yes. Women in unhealthy, unsafe relationships “lack the power” to demand their unhealthy, unsafe relationship blossom into perfectly healthy and safe marriage. That’s cute. Of course, according to the American Enterprise Institute, marriage does indeed have the power to turn your shitty boyfriend into a gleaming specimen of manhood.

“But marriage also seems to cause men to behave better. That’s because men tend to settle down after they marry, to be more attentive to the expectations of friends and kin, to be more faithful, and to be more committed to their partners—factors that minimize the risk of violence. What’s more: women who are married are more likely to live in safer neighborhoods, to have a partner who is watching out for their physical safety, and—for obvious reasons—to spend less time in settings that increase their risk of rape, robbery, and assaults.”

Oh yeah. We all know how well marriage can fix a man. Oy. You know, the notion that women must marry for “protection” is as old as the hills. It’s a large part of the reason people used to get married so early–women would go from being “protected” by their fathers to being “protected” by their husbands. They were not trusted to go off into the world on their own.

While the dream team pay a passing acknowledgement to the fact that, duh, married men can also be shitty, abusive assholes, they brush it off by stating that they are pretty sure it happens less often when the man is married. What they don’t mention, however, is how often serious abuse occurs when a woman is afraid to leave her husband, or when she stays with him “for the kids.”

The end of the article, however, is the real kicker:

So, women: if you’re the product of a good marriage, and feel safer as a consequence, lift a glass to dear old dad this Sunday.

Yeah. You know what? I am the product of a good marriage. My parents are both super awesome people who happen to be still together. I’m really lucky in that way. But you know what? That doesn’t make me feel safer. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to get assaulted. It doesn’t mean that if my Dad wasn’t awesome I’d want my mom to stay with him anyway.

You know, it seems like we’ve gone from “#NotAllMen” to “well maybe just CRAZY men” to “women want to say they’ve been raped because all the hep cats are getting raped these days” to “these bitches basically just bring it on themselves.” Next thing you know they’ll be blaming it on fluoride, vaccines and the Bilderberg Group. It’s like they are grasping onto something, anything to prove that men have nothing to do with the violence men commit against women.

“It’s not FAIR!” they seem to be screaming, “Why can’t it be your fault too? Why can’t we just say that both men and women are to blame for this and call it a day?” It’s as if they need to soothe themselves by believing that an abused wife or girlfriend could have avoided a black eye if only she’d made her husband’s sandwich the right way. They are gaslighting like their goddamn lives depend on it.

But women, most women anyway, are just not buying it. We’re not Ingrid Bergman and you’re not Charles Boyer. We’ve seen this movie before, because it’s on Turner Classic Movies like every other day. Violence against women isn’t a figment of our imaginations, sexual assault isn’t a figment of our imaginations, and neither of those things are ever, under any circumstances, going to be our fault. We’re not the ones who have to change, men are.