The discussion below, as it always seems to when a young woman is raped or murdered, turned to the kinds of Monday-morning quarterbacking people do after the fact, which always has an undertone of she asked for it. The “What was she doing leaving her home in the first place” crowd has a million of ’em. And usually this kind of thing is employed to shame and control women and women’s sexuality (because of course, the armchair quarterbacks are strangely silent about the second-guessing when a man is murdered after a night out).
But up in Alaska, they’ve found a new use for the slut-shaming: use it as part of the argument over a proposed smoking ban!
In a letter to the Anchorage Daily News, Frank Dahl, chairman of the political action committee of the Anchorage Cabaret, Hotel, Restaurant & Retailers Association, made the bizarre connection: “At a time when we are legitimately concerned with assaults against women, ask yourself, is it better to allow the continuation of smokers in a controlled bar atmosphere, or for women to go outside to smoke a cigarette to be the target of the sexual predators and violence we hear so much about?”
What’s more, an Op-Ed in the Anchorage Daily News notes that opponents of the ban say many female smokers would be so deterred by such a restriction that “instead of hanging out in the smoky safety of a bar, some women … may even stay home, where they may have an abusive husband or boyfriend who is more likely to beat them up.” Women aren’t safe at home or on the street, the argument goes, but they’re plenty safe in a bar. Let’s hear it for Alaskan women’s last safe haven: the smoky, booze-filled pub!
So, which is it? Don’t go to bars, don’t leave the house, or don’t stay home?
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