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Really? NYC Mayor Blames Women For ‘Standing Alone’ in ‘Isolated Areas’ at Night

Eric Adams looks through a stack of papers, sitting at a desk during a congressional hearing

New York City Mayor Eric Adams held a press conference and over-the-top PR stunt Tuesday, dedicated to a number of safety initiatives. First, he took on what he insists is one of the greatest threats to city safety: dirt bikes.

“Today, as we stand in the shadow of the Freedom Tower, we are freeing ourselves from these destructive pieces of machinery that are on our streets,” he said, laying the drama on perhaps a bit thick before having the bikes theatrically crushed by a bulldozer. “They will be crushed today so that they can never terrorize our city again.”

Adams then went on to discuss other safety initiatives, including one regarding subway safety. Adams talked about the plan to differently deploy police on trains, as well as the plan to pretend that homelessness doesn’t exist by kicking unhoused people out of subway stations.

He also took the time to do some top-tier victim-blaming, essentially accusing women of not doing enough to protect themselves.

“I saw women passengers in isolated areas, standing alone. That is just unsafe,” Adams said. “So, we must play a role of educating passengers how to be partners in safety.”

Despite what Adams assumes about these hypothetical women (who were somehow “isolated” but also entirely visible to him and whatever mayoral entourage he was traveling with), women absolutely know the threats we’re faced with every time we leave our homes. We do not need “educating” on that front—that knowledge is ingrained into us from long before we can even remember.

Adams tried to backtrack later in the press conference. According to CBS News, “The mayor later clarified that he wasn’t singling women out. He said the campaign will apply to everyone.” But he also doubled down, offering even more condescendingly paternal advice. “Don’t live life the way it ought to be,” he said, per Gothamist, making it entirely clear that he doesn’t actually understand what was wrong with his initial statement. “Live it the way it is until we get it to where it ought to be. Right now, you ought not to be in an unsafe place in the system.”

Again, women know that the entire “system” is itself “unsafe.” We also know that no matter what we do to protect ourselves, someone will always be there ready to ask why we were alone or what we were wearing, or whatever other victim-blaming nonsense they can think of. It would be nice if those in positions of extreme power would at least focus more on preventing violence than they do on finding ways to blame us for the violence perpetrated against us.

(via Gothamist, image: Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.