Keeping safe versus victim blaming: where’s the balance?

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By Claudia Lombaro
Contributing Writer

The recent crimes that have taken place around the Simmons campus have left some students feeling uneasy. In order to prevent these crimes and keep students safe, the Public Safety Department has been issuing safety tips and recommendations.

The ultimate goal of these tips is something that everyone should approve of—to decrease the crime rate and promote general safety and wellbeing. Yet some students have had the opposite reaction to these tips. There are a few who believe that the advice given by Public Safety can be classified as “victim blaming.”

However, there is a sizeable difference between actual victim blaming and the efforts of the Public Safety Department.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking precautions to keep oneself safe, and in fact I highly encourage it.

Nobody cries victim blaming when we tell someone to lock their room, house, car, etc. to prevent burglars. Why is it different when we suggest traveling in groups, being aware of your surroundings, and letting your roommate know when to expect you back?

There is no negative subtext behind these suggestions, whether malice or micro-aggression. It is even stated specifically on the official Simmons website, under Public Safety: “It is never your fault if you are assaulted.”

Referring to the issuance of these tips as victim blaming actually downplays the seriousness of the issue and takes focus away from legitimate instances of such. Saying that a victim of sexual assault “deserved it” because of the way they were dressed or how much they drank is victim blaming. These are the things we should be talking about as a community, not attacking suggestions that are meant purely to help us and to keep us well.

So please, pay heed to these tips and keep them in mind as you venture out into the city. The most important thing of all is to stay safe.