skeptical scientist wrote:That is not giving cyclists advice for getting through traffic circles safely; it's saying when a cyclist is run over by a drunk motorist who ran a red light while speeding, that it's probably the cyclist's fault for not being sufficiently attentive.
Or is it like when a person goes to sleep with their front door open, then awakes to find they've been burgled - the explanation of why they
got burgled and not their neighbor
is probably to do with the fact their
front door was left open...
Analogies are fun!
As BattleMoose says, words like 'fault', 'blame' etc are extremely unhelpful - in the original article as much as in your quote. The reason why they are unhelpful is there is an assumption of a fixed amount of blame to share around: If the victim is partially to blame that means the perpetrator isn't totally to blame - which I hope we all agree isn't the case. The perpetrator is always 100% to blame and 100% at fault even if there is an explanation as to why
they did what they did. This is true for the drunk driver, the opportunistic burglar or the guy raping the woman passed out in his bed.
For another thing, all this misses the fact there is a context
to discussions like this: I would not say the same thing to my daughter about to leave for university as I would say to my daughter if she got raped at university - and I'd say a different thing again to my son if he raped someone at university. Taking something intended for one context and thinking it'd be the right thing to say in a different context is highly disingenuous.
To my daughter about to leave for university I'd say things like:
- Never leave your drink unprotected while you go to the toilet; Finish it first or give it to a trusted female friend.
- Never get so drunk you pass out - it's not safe if you're alone and not safe if you're with someone else.
To my daughter who'd been raped - it'd be completely crass
to give the above common sense advice - whether or not she had 'been at fault' and failed to follow it. In fact, she'd probably be needing the opposite kind of advice in future - she'd probably be completely paranoid and find it impossible to trust anyone again. I'd be advising her things like: Not every man is a rapist; Take your time but you have to slowly learn to trust again etc.
To my son who'd raped someone, if he told me 'Well, she passed out in my bed! She didn't even know I did it so where's the harm?' I wouldn't say 'ah yes, who can blame you, you're only human'; I'd say how pathetic and totally inexcusable and completely unjustifiable what he did was.
It's all about context.
Honestly, I'd be surprised if we're all really on a different page in all this.