I do not recall reading any book on rape, murder and serial killers specifically because of the subject. I am surprised, therefore, to find a study that states women fear becoming victims of crime so they turn to true crime books in an effort to learn strategies and techniques to prevent being murdered.
- Reported in the inaugural issue of Social Psychological and Personality Science (Sage), Amanda Vicary and R Chris Fraley go on to say that by understanding why an individual decides to kill, a woman can learn the warning signs to watch for in a jealous lover or stranger. By learning escape tips women learn survival strategies they can use if actually kidnapped or held captive. It is possible that reading these books may actually increase the very fear that drives women toward them in the first place.
Unless these books are specifically of the ‘How To’ variety, this sort of assertion, and even the flipside of it, is quite disingenuous. We may imbibe by reading and characters do settle in our psyche if they are potent. But these rarely apply to how we conduct our lives. There may be people we meet who seem like someone we have read about; it is often the intriguing qualities that stay with us. I don’t think when we see an orphan we think of Oliver Twist or everytime we find a thief we go, “Ah, Fagin”. I have chosen a simple example to show just how simplistic such studies can be.
There may be books on rape that a woman reads about but she will not be prepared for it. Have they talked to rape victims? Did they see the signals? If not, does it mean they don’t read the right books?
About being drawn to such “gory” stuff, there appears to be an element of negativity attached to it, as though this is not quite a woman’s thing to do. Even more appalling is the assertion, “But we do know that women, compared to men, have a heightened fear of crime despite the fact that they are less likely to become a victim.”
Less likely according to what yardstick? On what basis is this heightened fear measured? This is not a competition of who is victimised more and on what basis. The fact is that crimes are committed and both women and men are killed, maimed and psychologically and physically abused.
It appears we are a bunch of crime-fearing females. Imagine a woman enters a bookstore wearing a long jacket, all covered up, riffles through the pages of some romance novels and then stealthily her feet take her towards the gore. She sees knives, blood, and bodies on the cover and thinks, hey, this just might save me as she reads the back jacket. At home, she lounges on the sofa – after bolting all the doors and windows – and then gets drawn into the thriller. Instead of just reading it and perhaps getting a little spooked out, she makes mental notes of what to look for and what to avoid.
And then the bell rings and the child she has given birth to stands there with muddied clothes and she lets out a scream, “Help!”
The study reveals that women learn to be very very careful because women don’t understand something called mystery.
Oh, duh. Give me a break or I’ll bite.