The National Rifle Association is creepy all the time. But this new NRA ad telling women to shoot their rapists isn’t just odd — it’s flat out wrong and super fucking dangerous. The ad features Dana Loesch, a conservative talk show host, warning the “despicable cowards” who attack women that their victims are likely (or should be, according to the NRA) to be armed, and they should therefore shy away from raping them. “There’s a very good chance your next target will be armed, trained, and ready to exercise her right to choose her life over yours,” Loesch says in the video. She adds that real “women’s empowerment” means being able to carry a firearm to shoot attackers.
There are lots of things wrong with this message. First of all, the set up of the ad seems to imply that most rapes occur in on a dark street, with an intruder sneaking up on a women and attacking her, and therefore it would be easy (or something) for a women to simply pull a trigger. But that’s not true. Most rapes, in fact 43 percent of them, are perpetrated by a friend or acquaintance, and 27 percent are perpetrated by a spouse or significant other, according to anti-sexual violence organization RAINN. Also, if you’re in possession of a firearm when attacked, you are four times more likely to be shot during the assault.
But since when has the NRA been into research and discourse about the facts of a situation? They’ve been lobbying against firearm injury research for decades. Luckily, there are actual women’s advocates who perform research as it pertains to sexual assault. Guns do not make women safer, especially if they are being abused or assaulted in their homes by people they know.
It’s just not true that being armed means you are safe. The ad also totally ignores changing rape culture, which is far from an “empowered” stance on the issue. Instead of saying we need to teach young men (and old ones, too) to not rape or abuse women, the NRA and Loesch think putting a gun in every handbag is a quicker solution. But violence begets violence — that’s just the fucking way it is. The ad also treats rape as if it something to be expected and something that can be handled in an instant: rapist pulls up, woman shoots, and then she carries on with her life. Like there are no emotional consequences to being attacked or for shooting someone at close range while they attack you.
Real empowerment, Loesch, is taking care of women by working to change rape culture and prosecuting rapists. Not giving women guns.
Original by Karen Fratti @karenfratti