I can recall a time when, if a woman or girl were sexually assaulted, people would ask, "What was she wearing?" or "What was she doing out at that time?" It didn't matter if the woman or girl in question was clad in combat fatigues or on her way to or from school or work in broad daylight. Somehow, she would be turned into the provacatress.
There are still people who think that way. Sometimes I think they're the same people who ask what someone "was doing" to cause the police to stop them for driving/bike riding/running/walking/breathing while Black.
Or believe that a cyclist who's run down by a motorist or whose bike is stolen must have done something "unsafe." I can't begin to count how many times people told me I had to be "more careful" after I was doored: Never mind I was right next to the car door when the driver opened it and had no way of anticipating or avoiding her carelessness.
Now, of course, if someone makes such a comment on road.cc, you can almost bet that it's a sarcasm. The problem is that one person's sarcasm is another person's misperception.
I am thinking now of the response of "hawkinspeter" to an article about two 13-year-olds who were "deliberately driven at" and verbally threatened by someone who stole the bikes they were riding. "Were they wearing helmets?" he wondered. "If not they were almost asking to be robbed."
|Police surveillance image of the car used to threaten two 13-year-olds and steal their bikes.|
To be fair, "hawkinspeter" had no monopoly on snark. His comment followed one from "leipreichan" who suggested that the driver will incur no harsher a penalty than three points on his/her license because "the kids were wearing black."
Hmm...That makes about as much sense as shooting a teenager because he was wearing a hoodie.