Self-protection is key

Self-protection is key

The Secretary for Security, Lai Tung-kowk, recently had some advice for women. He said they should drink less to avoid being raped. His statement drew a lot of criticism, particularly from women's rights groups. They perceived the "advice" as transferring responsibility and blame to rape victims.

We all know that rape is a serious crime and it is the rapist who should be punished.

Rape victims suffer severe physical and psychological harm, and should not be blamed at all.

I believe Lai's advice was a reminder to be safe, rather than an insult directed at rape victims. However, I also believe that Lai, as a senior government official, should have presented his thoughts in a better way. While the police have a responsibility to fight crime, we have to admit that it is impossible for them to keep the crime rate at zero. To duly perform their responsibilities, law-enforcement agencies have an obligation to let the public know about crime prevention measures. As crime figures show an increase in rape cases, and analysis revealed many of the victims were raped after getting drunk, Lai's statement was a logical one.

Consider this: if police had noted an increase in burglaries over the past few months, they would urge residents to pay attention to home security. Obviously the burglars should take the blame for committing the crime, but the victims could have taken preventive measures, such as locking doors and windows securely, when they were away from home. This same reasoning can be used in rape cases, too.

Both police and citizens must make the effort to fight crime and so build a better society. We have the right to leave the door of our home open all the time to let in air. But doing so will only encourage burglars. We have rights, but we also have an obligation to protect ourselves.

Just as we safeguard our home from unwanted visitors, so we must protect our personal safety at all times.

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