High-risk sex offender
So Larry Murphy got out today. The media, predictably, has gone mental. One paper has even gone so far as to erect flyers with a picture and description; asking civilians to contact their newsdesk (or the Gardaí) if they spot Murphy. Apparently, according to a spokesperson for the publication, the fact that they’ve put “do not approach” on the posters will stop any instances of violence against the man. As if the type of vigilante who’d target a convicted rapist would be stopped by words on a poster.
There’s no doubt that the man is an animal. He is dangerous. He is a terror. I can’t imagine how petrified and panicked his victims must be right now. Undoubtedly, he should still be incarcerated. To serve just 10 years for such a horrific crime is pathetic – however, that’s a debate for another day. But the idea that women are in any greater danger of being raped now that this particular rapist is back on the streets is, at best, misguided.
To imply that women are in greater danger today than they were yesterday is delusional, and makes the everyday risk that women face a mere triviality. There are thousands of unconvicted rapists wandering the streets, not to mention men who’ve never raped, but may in the future. Scary thoughts, yes – but thinking that we’re now, all of a sudden, in danger of being raped because of this one man does nothing but make us blind to the real risk.
The majority of rapes are committed not down an isolated alleyway in the dead of night by a creepy stranger; but by someone the victim already knows. There is no way to stop a rapist from raping you – to claim that there is would be to place some measure of blame on the victim.
All we can do is continue to be smart, careful and wary – and above all, calm. Hysteria helps no-one… it just diverts our attention from the real risks.
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