But since we all KNOW that there are both rapists and bicycle theives in our communities, an abject failure to take reasonable measures to prevent being a victim does, in fact, put a portion of the blame for what happened upon ourselves.
So, you are saying that women should regard all men as potential rapists?
She must avoid getting tipsy and flirting--even on a date with "a nice guy"--since most rapes are committed by someone known to the woman?
Even when sober, she must never start snuggling, kissing, necking, fondling etc. with a man--even if she likes him and finds him attractive--because...
The guy gets her into a compromizing position, and then tries to take her clothes off, at which point she finally realizes the mess she is in, but it is too late to stop the ugly progression, and she is raped.
What makes it too late to stop the "ugly progression"? The fact that she says, "No! Stop! I don't want to!" and he ignores her? The fact that he doesn't care whether she's consenting or not?
How is that her fault? She should have known he'd ignore her wish not to have intercourse? She should have known she shouldn't trust any man?
What's wrong with your stolen bicycle analogy is the fact the bicycle is an inanimate object--it cannot express a wish not to be stolen, it, in fact, doesn't care whether it's stolen or not.
Women can, and do, express and indicate their wishes, which might include a willingness for some physical contact, but which might not include a desire to have intercourse. And the desire to have some physical contact does not indicate she is consenting to a "progression" if she indicates she wants to call a halt to the process prior to the act of intercourse. And that is what the sexual assault/rape laws say as well.
If I tell you that you can ride my bike around the block, I am not telling you that you can keep it.
I agree with you that many rapes may be opportunistic--women in their 90's have been raped in their nursing home beds by a staff member, and news accounts of such rapes have been posted in this thread. And intoxicated women are also in a more vulnerable state if their perceptions, and judgment, and ability to resist, are impaired by alcohol.
But, being in a vulnerable state, whether because you're elderly and infirm, or you're walking alone in a deserted area, or because you're in an intoxicated state, does not mean you're sending out a message you want to be raped. A woman can exercise all the caution, and common sense, in the world and still wind up being raped, and raped by someone who is not a complete stranger to her.
Of course, everyone should use good judgment and not deliberately put themselves in harm's way, or do unnecessarily reckless things--no one denies that. But, it's the rapist who seizes the opportunity to "take advantage" of the woman in such a situation--she is not to blame for the rape
. Nor is she to blame for unknowingly getting herself within the path of a rapist. She has no
culpability for the act of rape.
Most men are not rapists, or even potential rapists, any more than they are potential thieves. There are people who would never steal something under any circumstances, and there are people who will steal, as long as no one is watching, or they think they can get away with it. And there are men who will rape, as long they think they can get away with it. And the woman bears no responsibility for the actions of such rapists--they are responsible for their own behaviors, and their own choice to violate laws.
Short of having a bodyguard at her side, at all times, there is no way that a women can protect herself from rape, at all times, with any degree of certainty. You want to blame the woman for being foolish enough to get tipsy, or drunk, or for walking to her car in a deserted parking garage, or for entering her apartment building late at night, or for wanting to fool around and kiss and flirt, or for wearing a skimpy dress on a date, go right ahead--even though that's not being logical, because, as you've acknowledged, "it's the rapist's fault". You want the woman to share the blame for the rape--even though you know she's not to blame. Does that really make sense to you?
How about a little "balance" here.
I'm for balance also--but that doesn't include balancing the blame, or responsibility, for rape--the woman isn't the one who commits the rape.
Prior to the 60's, and before oral contraceptives helped to give women greater sexual freedom, and consequently ushered in an era of "casual sex", men actually thought differently in terms of sexual boundaries. There were still rapes, even date and acquaintance rapes, but certainly not to the extent we see now. Men didn't routinely assume intercourse might be a possibility, as they do now. Women just weren't engaging in casual sex, as they do now. More women were remaining virgins until marriage, or at least until they were engaged, having been raised under the adage, "Why buy the cow if you can get the milk for free". And because more men didn't even have the expectation of intercourse, more men accepted a simple, "No" for an answer, and more of them didn't even think of violating a woman simply because she was drunk.
Once the "sexual revolution" took place, the sexual boundaries changed. As more women began having casual sex, and intercourse, more often, more men began to expect casual sex, and intercourse, more often, and to want it more often. And they didn't always want to take a simple "No" for an answer any more--and that became a problem for all those women who wanted to be able to enjoy sex, but not all the time. They wanted to be able to exercise choice and control in the matter. And so, we now have the "date rape" laws--the "No means no" laws. They really are necessary laws. They help to set the boundaries.
And those legal boundaries have to be respected--violating them has serious consequences, both in terms of emotional harm to the woman, and in terms of legal consequences for the violator. It's the lack of respect for those boundaries that the rapist displays in violating the laws. That failure of self-control, on the part of the rapist, is the essence of rape, and the victim is not complicit in that process, it goes on within
the rapist. That's why it is illogical to hold her responsible, or to blame, for someone else's lack of self-control, when she has said, or indicated, "No", or when she is too impaired or otherwise unable to resist, or when she is in a state where she can't even appreciate the consequences of her actions, either because of her physical condition, or because of mental or emotional impairment. In those situations, the responsibility for self-control, and for respect of the legal boundaries, falls on the other person. And it's exactly the same as expecting someone to have the self control not to steal my car, even if I leave it unlocked--with the keys in it--and holding them legally responsible if they do steal it.
If it makes you feel better to see shared blame, it's likely nothing will change that. But I'm not going to join you in heaping that blame on rape victims. Our sexual assault/rape laws define boundaries, the boundaries should not be crossed.