Thursday, July 10, 2014

Failure in exercising all due reasonable care or victim-blaming?

I may run the risk of courting some controversy, Dear Reader, but I thought I might engender a discussion on a topic that tends to invite commentary aimed at stifling debate.

Debate, you see, only continues the culture of blaming the victim. Or so I have been told.

From the outset, I will state (and I shouldn't need to but some will invariably, if not wilfully, misunderstand) that IN NO WAY IS CULPABILITY DIMINISHED FROM THE PERPETRATOR OF A CRIME when we discuss events leading up to the commission of that crime - including the role the victim may have played.

Sorry, that sentence is a little cluncky, I'll try to reword it later for clarity.

In short, it's not the victim's fault. Okay?

If you leave your keys in your car while at the 7-11 one night and come out to find your car is gone, you are still the victim of theft. You didn't deserve to have your car stolen even if there is a degree of negligence on your part.

In insurance parlance, you may have failed to exercise reasonable care, however. 'Reasonable' being what a rational person would have done under the circumstances.

Acknowledging that the victim's actions (or inaction) may have contributed in some part towards the offending is still not blaming the victim. Remember, the blame lies solely with the perpetrator. Keys left in a vehicle do not constitute an invitation to steal.

Similarly, advising car owners to not leave their vehicles unlocked or to exercise a measure of security in regards to their keys is not victim-blaming.

Now, some people will assert that they should be able to park their car anywhere they like, night or day, with the key in the ignition and the engine running. Yes, you should be able to, in a perfect world, but that's just not the case in this reality.

Here, actions have consequences. Even unintended ones.

And acknowledging this is still not victim-blaming.

It is my fervent belief that we have a duty to ourselves to not become victims and this includes undertaking behaviours to mitigate risks as far as practical or possible under the circumstances. This also means not engaging in risk-prone behaviour where possible, or at least without acknowledging and understanding those risks.

No matter what steps we might take, not all factors lie within our control. However, we should retain control of as much as we can in any given situation. No matter where we park our car, it might still be stolen. However, if we park it under a light or near a busy road, we might shift the odds slightly in our favour.

Exercising all reasonable care.

And, in suggesting that, I am not victim-blaming.


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