If you get stabbed, it’s probably because you just look too bangin. That’s the conclusion, anyway, if you follow Charlotte Allen’s logic:
The other reality that feminists tend to deny is that rape and sexual desire are linked. Rape, in that view, is a purely political act of male dominance. This ignores the fact that the vast majority of rape victims are under age 30 — that is, when women are at their peak of desirability.
Rape is a criminal act, and it is a crime most men won’t commit regardless of how short a girl’s skirt is or how lovely her legs. But the fact that rapists tend to target young women rather than grandmotherly types suggests that in the real rape culture (in contrast to the imaginary rape culture of some feminist ideology), the faux-hos of Halloween and their SlutWalker counterparts marching in their underwear — like a man walking at night with a bulging wallet — should be careful about where they flash their treasure.
Emphasis mine. Allen’s point is that rape is about sexual desire, and that women who are scantily clad stoke that desire in men who then assault them. Her evidence? Younger women tend to be the victims of sexual assault. And since younger women are, she says, the height of female attractiveness, that proves that sexual desire is a factor.
But, funny thing: Younger people are also the most likely group to be the victims of aggravated, non-sexual assault (just so we’re all on the same page here, the term “aggravated assault” means “the crime of physically attacking another person which results in serious bodily harm and/or is made with a deadly or dangerous weapon such as a gun, knife, sword, ax or blunt instrument”). In fact, younger people are victimized by violent crime more often than older folks as a general rule. A person between the ages of 12 and 24 is six times more likely to be the victim of a robbery than a person over the age of 50; about half of people who report being the victims of aggravated assault are under the age of 25. Men are much more likely than women to be the victims of violent crime. In every age group, black people are the most likely to be the victims of violent crime.
So yes, it is true that younger women are more likely to be targeted for sexual assault than older women. But it’s not because of The Sexy — unless hormones and hard-ons are what are causing criminals to choose their (mostly male) targets for robbery and assault also.
I suspect that younger people are more likely to be the victims of crimes because of a combination of vulnerability and opportunity. Young women are perceived as powerless and fairly weak; it makes sense for a rapist to target them. Young people are also, as a general rule, spending more time in situations where crimes occur. We know that sexual assaults often happen at the hands of someone the woman knows — younger women, I would guess, are more likely to be out on dates, or in a room with a man they thought was a friend, or meeting men at a bar. Young people, I would also guess, are more likely to be out at bars (which are pretty common locales for alcohol-related, often non-sexual assaults with male victims and perpetrators). I would guess that young people are simply more likely to come into contact with a ton of other people every day, as a result of being in school or socializing outside of their homes or being less likely to be married. And noting that African-Americans are more likely to be victimized by violent crime than any other racial group, it’s important to also recognize the socioeconomic elements at play here. African-Americans are more likely to face economic and social injustices that leave them facing poverty; poor people are going to be more likely to be taking public transportation or walking, leaving them more vulnerable to stranger attacks. Poor people, and especially poor black people, are also widely perceived as vulnerable and fairly powerless, and therefore easy targets for crimes like street robberies and assaults.
Perpetrators of violent crime also skew young. Arrest rates aren’t a perfect indicator of crimes committed, but they probably trend at least somewhat closely — and if you look at those stats, it’s clear that the under-30s are (unsurprisingly) the group with the highest arrest rates for crimes like aggravated assault, murder, robbery and rape. It’s no big leap to suggest that when young people are committing these crimes, they’re probably committing them against other young people simply out of opportunity — I’m not all that young anymore, but I certainly spend more time around other people in my age group than I do around the 50+ set, or the 18-and-under set.
Couple all of that with the vulnerability issue and of course young people are victimized by violent crime more often than other groups.
But misogynists like Charlotte Allen are happy to play fast and loose with statistics in order to shame and scare women. It’s not booty shorts and Sexy Halloween that’s getting women and girls raped, just like it’s not the overwhelming and undeniable physical attractiveness of men that gets so many of them beaten, robbed and assaulted. It’s rapists. It’s violent criminals.