NSW Police has come under fire for a social media post which appears to ‘victim blame’ women who are sexually assaulted.
The controversial post, which parodies Beyonce’s popular song ‘Single Ladies’ with a message on how to stay safe when on dates, was shared to Facebook on Wednesday – and quickly inundated with hundreds of comments from angry users.
“All the single ladies, (All the single ladies), Now put your hands up,” the post began.
It proceeds to tell women using dating apps that they should tell peers about their plans to meet with potential suitors.
“Up on your phone, surfing apps alone, Doing your own little thing,” the parody continues.
“You’ve decided to swipe, have a super like, Now someone’s asking to meet.
“Keep yourself safe (safe), Tell a friend your meeting place (place), ‘Cause it’s only worth it if you’re okay, You can’t be playing with safety.”
Many lambasted the police force for ‘victim blaming’ and urged them to instead place their emphasis on changing men’s behaviours and not women’s.
“Moronic and useless. Women know how dangerous dating men is. Teach men to be better,” one scathing comment read.
“Stop telling women it’s their responsibility to not be attacked,” another user wrote.
One alarmed user said: “Distressing that our police force are placing the blame on victims…”
“Is this a joke?” one comment bluntly asked.
Others suggested such posts could actually deter women from reporting sexual assaults.
“Is it any wonder women don’t want to report sexual assaults?” one user asked.
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While hundreds slammed the post, some defended the police force for their efforts to remind women about the dangers of being out alone.
“Nothing wrong with giving a friend or family member a heads up when you’re heading out to meet a complete stranger. Thanks cops for reminding us to be safe!” one comment read.
Others also moved to say the post wasn’t victim blaming and that the response from the online community had been an overreaction.
“Telling someone to be aware of a potentially threatening scenario is not victim blaming,” one user said.
“If we apply the same logic you’re all getting so worked up about, should we stop telling children not to talk to strangers?”
Yahoo7 News has contacted NSW Police for comment.
Victim blaming debate
The heightened coverage of women’s safety continues following the highly-publicised death of Melbourne comedian Eurydice Dixon.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews moved to dispel victim blaming, saying Ms Dixon “died because of her attacker’s decisions, not because of her own”.
His comments followed widespread criticism of Victoria Police’s response to her death.
A number of people took aim at the police force over their alleged victim-blaming commentary surrounding her death.
The message from police was for women to take more care when out alone and to stay alert.
“This is an area of high community activity… so just make sure you have situational awareness, that you’re aware of your surroundings,” local superintendent David Clayton warned in the days after Ms Dixon’s death.
“People need to be aware of their own personal security,” Homicide Squad Detective Inspector Andrew Stamper added a day later.
“That’s everywhere. If people have any concerns at any time, call triple-0. We would much rather have too many calls than too few,”