I recently heard a news report about the murder victim at Yale University, Annie Le.  This was followed by a cacophony of calls to change our culture of violence against women and to bring pressure on the government to address this injustice.

This has become a veritable mainstay of media reporting with the "violence against women" chorus occurring with unrelenting frequency.  However, this had me thinking about what the actual violent crime statistics show.  There is little doubt that spousal abuse and rape would be dominated by female victims, however, in looking at the murder statistics in appears that men are victimized three times as often as females.

The statistics also clearly show that males represent an overwhelming number of offenders for these crimes.

However, it seems to me that these figures also suggest that we examine violent crime for what it is, and not try and turn it into a "gender" war.  In addition, the primary concern I had in listening to the news reports is the idea that government (or law enforcement) was in a position to do something about it.

Police departments exist to investigate crimes and to capture/detain offenders.  They are not bodyguards and cannot be responsible for providing personal security to the thousands of people that are within their jurisdictions.  In other words, the police cannot be proactive in detaining someone or pursuing someone that hasn't actually committed a crime.

This is often reported in a derogatory fashion after a crime has been committed and one has the benefit of 20/20 hindsight.  However, regardless of what we "think" someone may do, or is capable of doing, protection is still largely a personal responsibility and no matter how unfair we think that may be, we cannot presume that law enforcement or society is in a position to look out for our best interests.

I'm also not naive enough to think that just because a crime hasn't been committed that there aren't sufficiently threatening means by which a potential victim can be intimidated, nor against whom future retribution isn'y virtually guaranteed.  This is amply demonstrated by abusive husbands that threaten their wives and have every intention of carrying out such a threat.

I also know that restraining orders don't work, because clearly someone prepared to commit a crime like murder isn't likely to be intimidated by something as superficial as a court document.

More laws are not the answer either, since the purpose of the law is to define the retribution that the state may take against an offender, but it provides no means of offering protection in any capacity.

So, what can be done?

The answer is that we must take our own security seriously.  Whatever assistance we may get is helpful, but it will never be enough.  We must be careful in choosing our associations and our contacts, especially when those relationships may go sour with dire consequences.  We also need to be more aware and concerned about how we expose ourselves to the outside world.  Regardless of how we think a "civilized society" should behave, naivete is the quickest path to victimization.

This is not an excuse to become irrationally paranoid or for vigilantism, but rather it should serve as a "wake up" call to stop taking our basically peaceful existence for granted. 
Most importantly, when we recognize that there is no external protection, then perhaps we can be more diligent in ensuring that we've taking the necessary steps to provide for our own security and that we're prepared to make those critical decisions on which our lives may depend.