On 'Stop and Frisk,' Guns and Rape Prevention

Akiba Solomon, editor at Colorlines, writes that those who advocate women carrying guns to prevent rape are coming from a perspective of white and hetero-normative privilege.

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If you're part of the American community that is regularly stopped and frisked, perhaps carrying a gun isn't the best idea -- even if it is supposed to protect you from lurking rapists, writes Akiba Solomon at Colorlines.

First, writer, activist and political strategist Zerlina Maxwell appeared on Sean Hannity's very fine, extremely objective FOX News program to debate the idea that ladies can protect themselves from sexual assault simply by packing heat. Maxwell—a survivor of an acquaintance rape in her own home—shut down the opposition's NRA-flavored talking points by suggesting that any conversation about prevention should center on what men can do. 

Some Colorlines.com readers were highly critical of Maxwell's approach, but I think they missed the point. Maxwell risked her body and self to push a nuanced conversation into a hostile, reductive space. She even followed up in writing. Now it's our job to play echo chambermaids and chambermen (is that a thing?).

My contribution: It's a class, white and hetero-normative privilege to imply that all women survivors of rape and, by extension, intimate partner violence will be supported after they stop said terror by shooting a gun. Just ask Marissa Alexander. When you and yours are automatically criminalized; when police are doing arbitrary stop-and-frisks in your neighborhood to pad their numbers; when you've been routinely stereotyped as, say, a Jezebel, or a welfare queen, or a ratchet princess, or a hoodrat, or an overheated Latina, or a "mannish" aggressive, chances are your gunfire won't be perceived as defensive. The same goes for girls and women who are assaulted when drunk or high. And, as Maxwell pointed out, most women are raped by people they know. They could have a gun but hesitate to shoot their roommate's friend, or their ex-coworker after his going away party, or their second cousin, or the person they've been dating for four months. 

Read Akiba Solomon's entire piece at  Colorlines.

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