Friday, December 02, 2005

Rape Prevention Advice - Could be Triggering.

Periodically I will get an email forward about how, as a woman, I can stop myself getting raped.

Apparently if I wear my hair in a ponytail, or don't keep my outside shrubbery trimmed, or leave my drink unattended, allow people to intrude into my personal space or - heaven forbid - don't carry an umbrella then, frankly, if I get raped I have only myself to blame.

And the sometimes-weekly emails telling me all of the above tips (and more) will serve as a constant reminder to how stupid I was when I overfilled my arms with packages or I wore those damn dungarees.

So basically, emails like those are absolute bollocks. If you are raped it is nothing to do with your hair, your skirt length, your job, your response to being asked directions, or the state of your fucking shrubbery. Seriously.

And that's not even approaching the fact that the vast, vast majority of rapes are committed in a woman's home, by someone she knows.

Following is an angry, and very appropriate subversion of those awful emails, which I read chez Nella. I can only applaud and nod vigorously.

A lot has been said about how to prevent rape.
Women should learn self-defense. Women should lock themselves in their houses after dark. Women shouldn't have long hair and women shouldn't wear short skirts. Women shouldn't leave drinks unattended. Fuck, they shouldn't dare to get drunk at all.

Instead of that bullshit, how about:

If a woman is drunk, don't rape her.
If a woman is walking alone at night, don't rape her.
If a women is drugged and unconscious, don't rape her.
If a woman is wearing a short skirt, don't rape her.
If a woman is jogging in a park at 5 am, don't rape her.
If a woman looks like your ex-girlfriend you're still hung up on, don't rape her.
If a woman is asleep in her bed, don't rape her.
If a woman is asleep in your bed, don't rape her.
If a woman is doing her laundry, don't rape her.
If a woman is in a coma, don't rape her.
If a woman changes her mind in the middle of or about a particular activity, don't rape her.
If a woman has repeatedly refused a certain activity, don't rape her.

If a woman is not yet a woman, but a child, don't rape her.
If your girlfriend or wife is not in the mood, don't rape her.
If your step-daughter is watching tv, don't rape her.
If you break into a house and find a woman there, don't rape her.
If your friend thinks it's okay to rape someone, tell him it's not, and that he's not your friend.

If your "friend" tells you he raped someone, report him to the police.
If your frat-brother or another guy at the party tells you there's an unconscious woman upstairs and It's your turn, don't rape her, call the police and tell the guy he's a rapist.

Tell your sons, god-sons, nephews, grandsons, sons of friends it's not okay to rape someone.

Don't tell your women friends how to be safe and avoid rape.
Don't imply that she could have avoided it if she'd only done/not done x.
Don't imply that it's in any way her fault.
Don't let silence imply agreement when someone tells you he "got some" with the drunk girl.
Don't perpetuate a culture that tells you that you have no control over or responsibility for your actions. You can, too, help yourself.

If you agree, repost it. It's that important.

There are also great musings about this at I Blame the Patriarchy, by the way.

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Anonymous said...

I do agree. But I think we could summarise this a little further.

"Women: To protect against rape, have a sex change (but be aware you could still be raped as a man).

Men: If a woman is female, don't rape her. If she's male or transgendered, that's no excuse..."

The Goldfish said...

These things drive me mad. As has all the recent press coverage implying a relationship between alcohol consumption on the part of women and rape. Attitudes towards rape are one of the worst surviving outposts of female oppression. I had a bit of a rant about this myself last week.

red one said...

I've seen this reposted widely. But your point about the majority of rapes being committed in the home by someone the victim knows is also a very important one.

There have also been some truly appalling surveys of people's attitudes to rape: clearly the If... then don't rape her guide is needed, even though it really shouldn't be necessary to point these things out. What century are we in, again?


And the conviction rate for rape cases is still about 5 percent. All very grim.


Anonymous said...

Agree entirely of course. These emails make me so angry. I understand the reason people send them of course- everyone would like to think there was something small we could do and no bad things would happen to us. But as you say, these emails
a) imply guilt where there is none (and where society tries to imply guilt all the time anyway)
and another thing, b)the advice they give is a bunch of rubbish.
Although the results of the amnesty survey are shocking, i think it's good that they'[re out there, because it puts the issue to the front of peoples minds and perhaps makes them realise how bad things are.

Claire D