Roanoke Police Chief Tim Jones has no need to apologize for his remarks regarding rape. In no way was he placing blame on the victim. Reading his remarks in the Roanoke Times, I clearly understood the message that he was conveying to the City Council and the public. To me that message was can be summed up in one word: caution.
We caution our kids to not play in the street. We caution them to not drive and drink; to not drive and text. We have caution lights and caution signs on our roads. Many alcohol advertisements today urge caution: drink responsibly, they say.
Teenagers do dumb things. So why shouldn’t we as a society caution them about their behavior, including young girls, whether they are drinking or not.
Yes, the perpetrators of rape and sexual assault are completely to blame. Chief Jones was not saying differently. But who do these perpetrators seek out: those who are not using good judgment; those who are most vulnerable, which includes young girls who drink too much. That’s why we caution our young people, as we should. And coming from an authoritarian source such as the police, it should be heeded. But has that made young girls more cautious? Teenagers think of themselves as invincible; the “it can’t happen to me” syndrome. I think we need more messages of caution. Yet we may have reached the point of saturation.
Is there more rape and sexual assault than 50 years ago? Yes. Why? Some will blame government for taking Christianity out of schools; some will blame women’s lib, some will blame the loosening of morals and changing values, some will blame TV and media and some will blame Donald Trump. But who is really to blame?