Today's newspaper includes a Call to stay alert after iPod assault. Police investigating an attempted sexual assault in the city have warned women of yet another thing they must not do if they don't want to be raped.
So now we have to add "listening to an iPod while walking to work" to the list of things we can't do, along with wearing short skirts, not hiding the fact that we have breasts, sending out mixed signals (because no men do that, ever), drinking socially, going out alone after dark, going to a house with a friend that may or may not have a person in it you don't know, etcetera.
The thing that annoys me about this story is that, once again, it is implied that it is the responsibility of the victim to avoid the situation. The attacker is hardly mentioned at all, and neither are the hundreds or thousands of people who witnessed the guy following her from Town Hall station to Castlereagh Street. I mean, if I was walking along a Sydney street in peak hour, iPodless, I would be unlikely to notice a man following me. It's hardly fair to blame the victim for listening to an iPod -- unless you blame everyone else on the street at the time who were too busy listening to their own iPods or minding their own business to spot the fact that she was being followed and alert her to the danger.
Can't we get the message? It's never the victim's fault, no matter what she was doing, saying or wearing at the time. Rape is a crime, committed by a criminal and it is ALWAYS the assailant's choice to commit the crime and NEVER the victim's choice to be assaulted.
In defiance, I will listen to my iPod whenever I like.