Why drinking isn’t the same as leaving your front door unlocked

Pictured: a drunk woman (Photo by BlakJakDavy)

Ched Evans just can’t help himself.

Not content with being a public hate figure and occasional footballer, he’s now had the gigantic balls to decide that he’s the right person to offer women advice about ‘genuine rapists’.

That advice comes down to ‘don’t get drunk’, and has led to some very good bits of journalism and some very bad comments about ‘personal responsibility’.

Those comments often come with an analogy: you wouldn’t just leave your front door (or car, yacht, batmobile) unlocked and hope you weren’t burgled, so why should sexual assault be any different?

I don’t think you have to be a moron to instinctively think that, unfortunately, women should be careful about how much they drink when they’re out. You do have to be a moron to give it any sort of thought and still think that this is a good solution.

On one level, the comparison makes sense. Locking your door and not getting drunk do have something in common: they’re both actions a potential victim can take that might reduce their susceptibility to becoming victims of a crime. In both cases we also still want the person who committed the crime to be prosecuted; the victim’s actions don’t change that.

But they’re also different, and it’s an important difference.

We don’t generally care if someone has to lock their door when they leave. The downside to having to remember to lock your door? A (tiny) bit of extra time spent doing it.

The downside of having to be careful about how drunk you get? Being scared and unable to enjoy yourself when you’re out. That’s more time spent being worried or anxious, which is a) a bigger downside and b) lasts for longer.

So altogether that’s a much worse downside.

The next time someone says women should watch what they drink to protect themselves from rapists, remember that they’re actually saying they care as much about women’s right to enjoy themselves as their right to leave their front door unlocked.

Which, unless they have a thing about leaving their doors unlocked, means they’ve either not thought about it or they don’t care about women’s rights to enjoy themselves at all.

It’s their choice which reason they choose. What was all that about personal responsibility again?