High-risk sex offender

12Aug10

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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3 Responses to “High-risk sex offender”

  1. 1 Gav

    Spot on.

    I wish a man was allowed to make this kind of argument without being told he doesn’t understand it because he’s not a rape victim (as if, on a side argument, women were the only victims of rape).

    Meanwhile, the lesbots are out to get me.
    http://www.autostraddle.com/lesbian-courtship-55145/#comment-52271

    • It’s a tricky topic, alright. Though men are, of course, also victims of rape, it can’t be denied that men and women exist in separate realities when it comes to dealing with the possibility of being raped, the scenarios in which it might happen, and the type of “precautions” that need to be taken.

      Perhaps it’s more a result of the greater awareness of female rape, but in interactions with male strangers of any sort, there’s always, somewhere, the perception of that risk. Getting into a taxi, for example — you think about it. Is that the case for men? How often does a man think “this woman might rape me” or “I mustn’t put myself in a situation where I might be raped”? Maybe it’s more often than I’d imagine.

      As for Autostraddle, I lolled. Hard. Poor you!

      • 3 Gav

        Well, it’s not so much a case of ‘this woman might rape me’ so much as ‘this man might rape me’, but you’re right. There’s a completely different level of consciousness about it; we live in different spheres of reality. I can’t really comprehend what it would be like have to make arrangements so that I didn’t have to walk home alone or worry about getting a dodgy taxi driver – but nonetheless, I suppose the thought is always there. I do make a point of looking at the licence number before I get in a cab and on a couple of occasions where the driver wasn’t licenced (telltale sign: the little card with the photo on it is always left facing down) I’ve gotten out and hailed another one.

        Then again, as a man, I would say that, wouldn’t I? And the circle continues anew.


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