LAST week threw up more evidence of the self-destruct button that Douglas Murray calls the ‘madness of crowds’ – one that the authorities keep pressing.
A police force has been forced to apologise for giving the eminently sensible advice to women not walk home alone at night if they can help it and to take care when they can’t. It was the sort of sound counsel any sensible parents dish out to their daughters.
But after an onslaught of accusations of ‘victim-blaming’, Nottinghamshire Police has deleted the Facebook post and issued an ‘unreserved apology’ for the crime of putting it up in the first place.
Victim-blaming? For the ‘unwoke’, the term applies to that hypothetical leap and attribution of motivation dreamt up by the feminist thought police. The idea, in this case, is that anyone who has the temerity to warn a woman about her safety is assuming that she will otherwise be ‘asking for it’, and therefore should take the blame for any future attack that comes of her not heeding it. Yes, it’s quite a stretch but there you have it – a sort of reverse misogyny or a convoluted misandry in which otherwise decent men’s motives are assumed to be malign.
It’s based on a theory that men are more likely to blame the victim women and show more sympathy for perpetrators. It is not the potential male perp who is the focus but, perversely, the men who might want to protect women from them, whose motivation is deemed impure, thus demonising men generally as potentially toxic.
It’s fed its way into the accepted thinking that’s come to hit poor old Broxtowe North Police, a Nottinghamshire unit (that no doubt has women in its corps) between the eyes for trying to do its job, an important aspect of which is to help protect potentially vulnerable women.
This is what it said: ‘Taking a risk when it comes to walking alone at night is not one of those things we should be doing. Women who walk alone especially at night are at risk of harassment, or even physical assault.’
A statement of fact. It would be nice if life were safer, but it isn’t.
The post continued: ‘It is always best to walk with someone, or in an area where there are other people, but even with the best planning there will likely come a time you will need to walk somewhere alone at night. Whether it’s to your car after a late night at the office, heading to your car after a late-night store run, or walking home from the public bus station, you may find yourself out at night alone.’
The full force of feminist outrage fell upon the force, which was accused of being stuck in the 1980s, condescending, patronising, sexist, and yes, ‘victim-blaming’.
Sadly, Broxtowe crumbled; apologising unreservedly for the ‘clumsy’ post.
Clumsy or not, since when has that been a crime for which you need to be publicly shamed, and for which you need to ‘apologise unreservedly’?
If the police officers are now feeling mortified, it should be for not standing up to the bullies.
Shaming people for not expressing things the exact way that various self-appointed thought monitors demand is not pleasant. The Broxtowe police did not say women should not walk alone at night. Rather they pointed out the real risks in it.
That is what it is to be female. That is what fathers and mothers teach their daughters. That is what we reinforce especially in winter as the dark nights draw in: be careful as you walk home. Don’t walk through the park after dark, or even if it is dusk. If you are alone on the street, be aware of who is behind you. Try to stay where there are other people. Walk quickly, and look robust and alert and so on. If you are attacked, scream for help. What is the harm in a reminder? It’s what good parents do all the time.
What is truly shameful is the way the feminists have vilified the police for doing their job.
Where’s the logic? Is it victim-blaming when the police tell us to lock our doors and to shut our windows? Should the police stop giving these warnings? Of course not. Prevention is always far better than cure.
One pious lady responding to the police on Facebook said: ‘When you say “taking a risk when it comes to walking alone at night is not one of those things we should be doing”, we all hope you mean “Everyone should feel safe enough to walk alone at night and it is our job to make that happen”.’ The equally PC Helen Voce, chief executive of Nottingham Women’s Centre, told the BBC she was astonished by the post.
As ludicrous as their censoriousness is their apparent willingness to endanger young women by banning sound advice when it might be needed.