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Sometime scholar, and mother of one, in Sydney. Unemployed academic: will teach for food.

This author has written 91 posts for Hoyden About Town. Read more about Orlando »

58 responses to “A Short Post on Rape Prevention”

  1. Mindy

    “Unless you want the women to show up, but wear kaftans and drink orange juice.”

    Then the complaint would be, ‘What was she doing there knowing it was a place men went to drink alcohol?’

  2. midorime

    When my daughter was 13 they had a rape prevention section in health class. The lesson (the only lesson on rape prevention) was that girls should say “no”. My daughter was upset, so I read the assignment. Not only was the lesson only meant for girls, but they were instructed on the “right” way to say no with examples. One girl was too passive, so it was “reasonable” that the boy didn’t understand. One girl was too mean in rejecting unwanted advances, so everyone hated her. Perfect girl said “no” in just the right way; polite, sensitive, but clear. I kid you not. I live in a supposedly liberal town, and none of the parents that I talked to could see a problem with the lesson. They thought it was very useful. It was a tough year.

  3. angharad

    Hi midorime, here’s a link debunking that rubbish, with reference to actual science…

  4. Aqua of the Questioners

    I notice in the Steubenville reactions, there are (at least) two different levels of victim blaming: the people who agree the perpetrators did indeed commit rape, but still think Jane Doe should have done something differently; and the people who, as far as I can tell, think rape is only the stranger-leaping-from-behind-the-bushes variety, and the perpetrators just got tangled up in messy legal definitions that were never meant to apply to drunken parties.

    It’s a long, hard road to convince the world at large that everyone has (or should have) bodily autonomy.

  5. Chris

    If your advice to a woman to avoid rape is to be the most modestly dressed, soberest and first to go home, you may as well add “so the rapist will choose someone else”.

    Thats the approach taken with home security. Your house just needs to be more secure than the one next door so thieves rob that one instead. It’s basically the advice that insurance companies give out (and reward homeowners with lower premiums for compliance) too.

    We can make more of an effort on the education front with rape to tell people not to rape, but how well do we expect it to work? We certainly tell children not to steal from an early age but have no shortage of thieves.

  6. angharad

    @Chris – well they tried it in Canada and it reduced sexual assault by 10% apparently .

  7. Chris

    angharad – that sounds like it’s worth doing then!

  8. Orlando

    As hesitant as I am about getting into another let’s-compare-women-with-material-possessions conversation, I think we can be fairly confident that there would be a whole lot more thieves than there are if we never taught children that they have no right to take things that belong to someone else.

    And that may be the attitude to home security taken by insurance companies, but it is not the attitude of police or the judicial system. Someone gets caught robbing a house, they go down for robbing a house, regardless of the home security system. Whereas we have seen countless instances of rapist going free on the grounds that the victim did not protect herself adequately.

  9. YetAnotherMatt
  10. Stephen

    Listening to teachers’ descriptions of classrooms where kids were assuming that sex was ok if the girl didn’t say “no” brought home a weird realization: every rape prevention message/poster I remember from college was along the idea “no means no,” not “sex missing consent is rape.” At some point teenage children are getting drunk for the first time, and we haven’t yet pounded the right rules into their heads.

    Perhaps paired lessons on rape for young kids: in a civics class — you will be punished badly, and sex-ed — focused on human dignity.

  11. tigtog

    Stephen, that’s a very important point – ‘no means no’ is not a standalone – it has to be placed within the framework of meaningful consent.

  12. tigtog

    YetAnotherMatt, thanks for the links to the #safetytipsforladies hashtag – that’s gold.

  13. Orlando

    Stephen, I think you’re right, and it’s tremendously sad that both prongs are needed. It would be nice if the human dignity line was enough, but the absence of a “you will be caught, you will be held accountable” message from the authorities (in line with the typical response to other forms of crime) is painfully obvious.

    And yes, #safetytipsforladies is a delight, that makes me think we may have reached maximum exasperation point.

  14. nobodytrue

    Thanks for the last paragraph. As a man who was sexually abused by women as a child and ‘raped’ by a woman as an adult. Well I would have been annoyed if you hadn’t

    Nice post

  15. Elizabeth Famous

    I’m writing a novel with a main character who volunteers at a rape crisis center. I love your post and am trying to portray a anti-slut-shaming attitude. Can I use short snippets of your writing in dialogue?

    Elizabeth Famous
    Author of LOVE AND CANDY

  16. D

    Most of this is clear and accurate but the gun bit is utter tripe. Does you think rape in the military always happens on the battlefield or during weapons training? Or that all women in the army constantly carry a rifle, in the barracks and while asleep? Dangerous tripe to boot, telling women it’s their fault is always wrong but suggesting that being armed can’t help is a dangerous lie to people who might otherwise have a chance to protect themselves.

  17. D

    We agree on the fundamentals, but that’s not what your opening line said or what your post was about. Owning a gun and knowing how to use it is a step toward being armed, and being armed or otherwise capable of defending ones self can sometimes prevent rape. Your suggestion that rape in the military disproves this is a gross fallacy and demeans self defense. To blame a woman because she couldn’t defend herself is beyond deplorable, that’s the message we agree on, but to suggest she shouldn’t consider it because it will do no good is little better, and to use an irrelevant example to say it is simply bad form.

  18. Elizabeth Famous

    Thanks a lot. Again, this post is a great example of how to respond to people who try to blame the victim.

    Elizabeth Famous
    Author of LOVE AND CANDY
    A novel coming soon in 2013

  19. Feminist Avatar

    @D – I tend to think killing somebody, even in self-defence, could be every bit as traumatic as rape (it would be for me). So, arming women MIGHT – and it’s a big might – stop you getting raped, but it’s not exactly a woman-friendly solution to rape. Moreover, it also locates rape (like the law does) in the act of penetration, when for many women being violently attacked and forced to defend yourself is still horrendous, even if the rape is not ‘completed’. I think this sort of discourse reflects the hangover of a patriarchal concern with ‘saving virginity’, rather than emphasising female safety and autonomy which should be predicated on the right for women not to be attacked (in any form) in the first place.

  20. Red Fox

    Hello ! I really like your text and I would like to share it with the french feminist community. Indeed I’m French and I would like to ask you if you allow me to translate your article in french, and then publish it on my feminist blog ? Of course you will be credited and there will be a link to the original article.
    Whatever you may answer, I thank you for your time ! =)

  21. angharad

    Yeah I can’t say I care to live in a society where I feel like I need to carry a gun to fend off my fellow citizens. That’s nothing like my definition of civilised.

  22. Nacho

    My arguments, for the sake of an adult discussion.

    A) I hate when people bring up countries like Afghanistan in that argument. That country, and others like it, have little to no respect for women, not just the people but the laws of the nation. They are, for the lack of a better word, barbaric at best. You wouldn’t compare yourself to an animal, so why compare a civilized country to an uncivilized one? It is not a fair comparison. In fact, it is an insulting comparison.

    B) When did we stop teaching that lesson (“…every single person out there..is a human being of value…”)? I learned it as a child, and as far as I know they still teach it. Yet, even with all that education, rape is still prevalent. Nobody is out there teaching otherwise. Nobody is teaching that rape is bad or that people have no value or that someone can do something to lesson their value.

    It is common sense. Nobody goes around teaching people to breath or to not walk around punching people that piss them off. It is learned as an integral part of development in a civilized society — it is common sense.

    Lack of education is not the problem.

    And it’s not like those who commit the crime, or any crime, aren’t being punished. It is not like people don’t know they won’t be punished for committing what they know to be a crime. Fear of punishment obviously does not work.

    C) “If your advice to a woman to avoid rape is to…” I think the true point the people who say this are trying to make gets lost in translation. I think the point they are trying to make is that people, not just women, need to be careful and cautious of the situations they put themselves in. They are not saying they are at fault for what happens to them, they are not saying that what happens is any less bad, but if they willingly put themselves in a situation they KNEW had a high probability of going south, then…

    Either way…rape is an obvious problem but I do not think education is the solution. We need to figure out why they happen, what the root of the problem is. Personally, I think unless something goes really bad (rape, shooting, whatever) people don’t care enough. “It’s not my problem.” Isn’t that the growing mentality in this country?

  23. Sara

    @ Nacho
    “They are not saying they are at fault for what happens to them, they are not saying that what happens is any less bad, but if they willingly put themselves in a situation they KNEW had a high probability of going south, then…”

    I get what you’re saying here, but many cases of rape don’t happen in what one would consider a dangerous situation. Since most rapes happen as a result of someone the victim knows, even a little, then a lot of those rapes wouldn’t happen in high-risk locations.
    A woman going to a pub, for instance. She should be able to do that and have a nice night out without constantly being on the lookout for shady characters, even if it’s a pub she knows and goes to regularly.

    I also get that you’re probably talking about a woman walking alone at night, in a dangerous neighborhood, which anyone would find dangerous, but the problem with a lot of victim-blamers is that they take a situation that the woman should have no reason to fear (the local pub) and turn it into an argument about how every woman everywhere should be constantly vigilant lest some person see her and think she’s asking for it by being out in the open and female.

    Again, I’m not saying you’re one of these people, and I get the original message, but there are situations where a woman shouldn’t need to be afraid (her own home, for one), but those people still try to make it seem like she should have been.

  24. Mindy

    I disagree that education is not the solution. Education is the solution. Like educate men to think: there’s a scantily clad woman, I hope she doesn’t catch a chill rather than ‘there is a scantily clad woman, she is asking for it’. There is a drunk woman – I’ll see if she needs a taxi, rather than there is a drunk woman, she’s asking for it.

  25. Orlando

    So their rapes are “barbaric”, but ours are civilised? “You wouldn’t compare yourself to an animal, so why compare a civilized country to an uncivilized one?” That’s a pretty offensive, not to say racist, line right there. Numerous countries mandate the covering-up of women, they show a range of strengths or otherwise of their rule of law, but none of them have managed to eliminate rape.

    The research suggests that the most likely predictors of an exceptionally high rate of rape in a region are 1) war 2) strongly imposed segregation of the sexes 3) an emphasis on machismo in the culture. Nothing to do with women baring their flesh in pubic, nor indeed anything to do with the strategies of women to protect themselves. Which is the point I was making.

    “Nobody is teaching that rape is bad or that people have no value or that someone can do something to lesson their value.” I presume you mean “isn’t bad”. You have your head stuck in the sand. That is exactly what is taught every time the responses to news of a woman being abused are that it happened, or it was no big deal, or it can’t really have been rape, because she was “that kind of girl”. Including all the references to her past sex life, the way she was dressed, where she was, her mental instability, or her drug or alcohol use. If you aren’t seeing that everywhere you turn you must have your fingers in your ears and be loudly singing “la la la”.

    “And it’s not like those who commit the crime, or any crime, aren’t being punished.” Yes, that’s exactly what it’s like. Most rapes aren’t even reported, many of those that are do not get investigated, hardly any end up with a conviction. Your chance of actually doing time for committing a sexual assault is vanishingly small. And it’s because the social sanctions against it are not there to support the legal ones, nor the legal sanctions consistently applied enough to influence the social ones.

    Plenty of well informed people are telling you why rapes happen, you’re just not listening.

  26. YetAnotherMatt

    “If owning a gun and knowing how to use it worked, the military would be the safest place for a woman. It’s not.”

    Which part of that is suggesting that women should not learn self defence techniques?

  27. Nacho

    @Sara
    I agree that women should be able to go to those pubs. I think my kids should be able to play in our front yard while I am inside without the fear of them getting abducted. There are a lot of things that people should be able to do. It is unfortunate that they cannot because of the horrible things that go around. And I’m not saying women shouldn’t go to those pubs, just that if they do, unfortunately, they need to be extra careful.

    And yes, obviously not all rapes happen in those dangerous situations. I should have clarified that. I wasn’t trying to say what I said applied to every situation.

    @Mindy
    I was taught that. I still teach that. I see other parents teaching their kids that. I was NEVER taught “There is a drunk woman, she must be asking for it.” In fact, I don’t think ANYONE is EVER TAUGHT that. You want more education in something that is already being taught.

    @Orlando
    No, sorry. I was not saying ours are civilized and theirs are barbaric. In many of those countries women have little to no rights. In fact, in some countries if a woman is raped she is punished cause she is no longer “pure”. If you don’t call that barbaric then I don’t know what to call it.

    So yes, while it may sound offensive, I believe it to be the truth. And I am not sure how you find it racist as I said nothing about race. And I never once said that we should encourage covering up of women. I’m a straight dude, and I appreciate a cute girl in a flirty skirt. I would never encourage laws banning that.

    I hope you don’t get all your facts from the news. I don’t know a single person that takes the news/media seriously. They are all a big joke. They spend days talking about Kim Kardashian’s failed marriage but only a few moments on more important/relevant things. And when they do cover the more important/relevant things they go for shock value so they can get the most attention and in turn the most money.

    These rapes that don’t get reported, why, because the woman raped doesn’t report or because the people she reports to don’t follow up? I’m curious.

  28. Nacho

    @Orlando: And god I hope nobody is getting their education from the news. If that is happening then we’ve got a helluva bigger problem on our hands.

  29. angharad

    @Nacho, to counter your anecdote of someone who was ‘taught that':
    [trigger warning for sexual assault, and probably slut shaming too]

    When I was 15 there was a girl in my class who got drunk at a party, and ended up in a room having sex with several young men, who used various objects on her as well. I did not think ‘OMG she was raped’ when I heard about this. Nor did anyone else I heard who discussed this. Instead she just ended up with a reputation as a slut. Only some years later when I actually heard her tell her side of the story did I begin to understand.

    I went to a Catholic school with what was probably a pretty good sex ed program for a Catholic school. But no one ‘taught us that’. Society is full of these messages that ‘real’ rape is a stranger leaping out from a dark alley (as several commenters have demonstrated by coming here with that situation principally in mind when it is less common than being assaulted by a friend or family member), or that sex is something women have that men have to try and get off of them. That’s the stuff we inhale as naturally as breathing.

    Largely unreported rapes are unreported because the woman does not report them (although the dismissal of reports by authorities does happen too). Why don’t they report? Because they don’t think they will be believed, or they don’t think there is any point, or they don’t want to go through the highly traumatic process of a trial, or they don’t want to make a fuss, or they are ashamed, or…there are lots of reasons.

  30. tigtog

    Put me down as another person who, in two different high schools, gullibly bought the community Narrative that a 14 or 15 year old girl willingly “slept with” the whole football team because she was just “such a slut”. I wish I could go back in time and apologise vociferously to those two women whose ostracisation I passively participated in after (what I now know must have been) their traumatic sexual assaults, and I truly hope that in both cases they were able to make new and better friends once they got away from their hometowns and those unjust reputations.

    This happens all the time, Nacho. Steubenville is just the latest notorious example of a community choosing to support “nice” boys by blaming the girls who trusted them to be the decent young men everybody said they were and who had that trust betrayed.

  31. Nacho

    @angharad
    I see where you’re coming from, and you’re right that is a POV I did not think of. However, “that’s the stuff we inhale as naturally as breathing” to “sex is something women have that men have to try to get off of them”…I don’t know but I don’t feel that is true for me. I don’t think like that, nor was I raised to think like that, nor do I know anyone that thinks like that. But I admit I was unaware of examples like the one you gave so maybe there are more I’m unaware of.

    As for women not reporting it, I do not put blame for not reporting on women. Not at all. I think it shows poorly upon our society that little girls grow up to be women who think that their society doesn’t care about them. Or that they should be ashamed or that it isn’t worth the effort. I blame society for that.

    But, to yours (and @tigtog’s) point, if children are assuming the girl is a slut, a concept I wasn’t aware of, nor one I could have ever fathomed, then yes, maybe better rape education is something that needs to happen. I’m ashamed to think that children would think a girl is a slut instead of she was raped…

    I know more than I did yesterday, don’t feel good about it but I know more.

  32. YetAnotherMatt

    They are not saying they are at fault for what happens to them, they are not saying that what happens is any less bad, but if they willingly put themselves in a situation they KNEW had a high probability of going south, then…

    They are not saying they are at fault responsible for what happens to them, they are not saying that what happens something that is bad because it was unconsenting is any less bad, but if they willingly put themselves in irresponsibly consent to a situation that with hindsight they KNEW had a high (at least higher than staying home, in the presence of a male relative, dressed and behaving modestly but totally incomparable to how those uncivilised countries ask women to behave)probability of going south then I don’t really need to point out that she was asking for it, so I am hoping that you have all been educated as to what the rest of this sentence would be, although if you challenge me I’ll deny it completely and accuse you of deliberately misunderstanding someone who is just here for an adult discussion, you hysterical deluded children

    Fixed.

  33. YetAnotherMatt

    Drat, I knew I would miss a tag, at least I only got what happens wrong this time and didn’t strike the whole post again.

  34. Nacho

    @YetAnotherMatt
    I am not getting you. But, “with hindsight they KNEW”, no. Not with hindsight. With foresight. People are intelligent enough to know with foresight what a potentially dangerous situation is. Are you trying to say there are women out there that don’t know that if they get drunk around strange men then something bad might happen? There are women that don’t know that? If so, maybe we need to focus teaching them common sense…

  35. YetAnotherMatt

    Are you trying to say there are women out there that don’t know that if they get drunk around strange men then something bad might happen?

    No, I am saying that they know something bad might happen, and that “Something bad might happen” is the default state, and that the odds of a woman finding a situation where “something bad might happen” does not apply are so slim that telling women to only be in situations where there’s no chance that something bad might happen is just a way of saying “You chose to take on that risk, not my problem, I don’t care enough.” Once again, the rapist is left out of the equation.

  36. Nacho

    @YetAnotherMatt
    Risk is not binary. It can be weighed. And it can be mitigated. The risk of rape at a party with a hundred guys you dont’ know is high. You can mitigate that risk by not getting stupid drunk or by having a buddy to keep an eye on you. I’m not saying to avoid risk, I’m saying to be aware of it and to prepare for it.

  37. Nacho

    @YetAnotherMatt
    And this is not some math equation where people are variables. I’m not saying to take the rapist out of the “equation”. I agree full well that rapists need to be punished (far more so than our current legal system allows in my opinion) but, to continue your math analogy, this is an equation with multiple parts in order to solve it you gotta look at all of ‘em.

  38. YetAnotherMatt

    Most of the women I meet are aware of it, and many of them try to prepare for it or mitigate it by pointing out that, whilst women may or may not be drunk, may or may not be at a party, may or may not be with a male relative buddy to keep an eye on them, women who are raped are in a presence of a rapist, and no women were raped whilst not in the presence of a rapist.

    Pushing the focus and responsibility onto women for “getting themselves raped” is not effective at preventing rape, it is an integral part of the moral, social and legal defence of rapists.

  39. Nacho

    @YetAnotherMatt
    I never said anything to imply we should push the focus and responsibility on to woman. If anything, I said it is a social problem and the focus and responsibility should lie with it.

  40. YetAnotherMatt

    Are you trying to say there are women out there that don’t know that if they get drunk around strange men then something bad might happen?

    You can mitigate that risk by not getting stupid drunk or by having a buddy to keep an eye on you.

    I never said anything to imply we should push the focus and responsibility on to woman. If anything, I said it is a social problem and the focus and responsibility should lie with it.

  41. Nacho

    @YetAnotherMatt
    I’m saying people, not just women, need to think ahead and be prepared for the worst and to plan accordingly. I’m not saying responsibility falls solely on women. I’m not saying we should push the focus to women. I’m saying there are multiple parts to the problem and if we’re going to solve it we need to look at all of them. We’ve been punishing, or trying to punish, rapists for years, and that obviously hasn’t worked. This is not a one part problem. If we’re not looking at all aspects of it then we won’t fix anything.

  42. Nacho

    @YetAnotherMatt
    It’s early so I’m still waking up but this is the best analogy I can think of right now. You tell me a building is on fire and you’re trying to put it out. I’m saying we *also* need to figure out a way to get the people trapped inside out. You only want to focus on the fire, I’m saying to look at all the problems.

  43. Helen

    I agree that women should be able to go to those pubs. I think my kids should be able to play in our front yard while I am inside without the fear of them getting abducted. There are a lot of things that people should be able to do. It is unfortunate that they cannot because of the horrible things that go around. And I’m not saying women shouldn’t go to those pubs, just that if they do, unfortunately, they need to be extra careful.

    Ah, the Tethered Goat theory. I knew it’d get a run somewhere in this thread. (But seriously, the paranoia level of this commenter is way off the charts. Not letting kids play in the front yard? Where does he/she live, Gaza?)

  44. AlexR

    “If owning a gun and knowing how to use it worked, the military would be the safest place for a woman. It’s not.”

    You’ve got that argument backwards. When rapes take place in the military, they invariably occur while the victim is off-duty and unarmed.

    Therefore, being armed IS an effective deterrent to rape and other violent crime.

  45. angharad

    Proof that what Orlando is talking about works:

    here

  46. Laura

    Great, great post. I had a moment when I read “If not drinking alcohol worked, children would not be raped. They are.” and I thought “Wait, people drinking less alcohol probably would have some impact on levels of child abuse” – it took me a second to realize that you were talking about the possibility of the child victims drinking, not the abusers/rapists.

    Which shows some poor reading comprehension on my part, but also illustrates even more how stupid these rape prevention ideas are – instead of saying “Don’t drink if it might make you hurt someone,” we say “Don’t drink if it might make you trust someone.”

  47. AlexR

    No, you’re clearly missing the point. Your article says that “If owning a gun and knowing how to use it worked, the military would be the safest place for a woman. It’s not.”

    Your logic apparently goes like this:
    Given:
    -Soldiers are always armed
    -Some soldiers are victims of sexual assault
    Therefore:
    -Being armed does not prevent sexual assault

    Whereas the accurate version would be:
    Given:
    -Soldiers are only armed while on-duty
    -Sexual assaults of soldiers usually occur (a) in garrison and (b) while the victim is off-duty
    Therefore:
    -Being on-duty (and therefore being armed) reduces the risk of sexual assault

  48. Feminist Avatar

    Except, of course, for some of the most famous stories of military rape which involved men being sodomised with their own or other soldiers’ guns. In which case being armed didn’t help at all.

  49. tigtog

    Carrying a firearm seems to be effective protection against only a very narrow range of stranger-rape tactics, almost none of which apply to rapes within the military.

    Since most rapes, within and without the military, are committed by non-strangers, firearms seem mostly ineffective against the most common types of rapists who are deliberately undermining social expectations of trustworthiness and manipulating/deceiving their targets into isolated situations where they can be intimidated/overpowered more easily, because the first thing those rapists are going to do is to use social trust expectations to disarm their target.

  50. Orlando

    @AlexR, that’s a a pretty ludicrous tangent you’ve veered off on, and a laughable misrepresentation of the logic of the point. It’s getting hard to simplify any further, to get to a place where you can’t misconstrue me, but I’m going to have one more go.

    I am not suggesting that there has never been, or could never be a situation in which a person holding a gun and prepared to shoot it could fend off a specific attacker on a given occasion. As rare as that scenario might be, things could play out that way.

    Women are being advised to bear arms as a means to reducing their chances of being raped. Try to stop thinking about your hypothetical moment of confrontation between an armed woman and an unarmed attacker. Instead, think about that woman living the whole of her life. As you yourself point out, no one can live in a state of ready-to-shoot all the time, and rapists know to choose a time when the victim is not armed, or choose a victim who is likely to be hesitant to shoot them (colleague, friend, girlfriend’s acquaintance, etc.). Therefore a lifestyle based around being equipped to fire a gun cannot function as an effective way to reduce a person’s chances of becoming a victim of rape.

    Person in a position to shoot a rapist at certain times =/= person who is less likely to be raped over the course of her life.

  51. goosefraba

    I never understand why there are always 2 extremes for rape prevention. On the one extreme women are blamed and taught to prevent rape by themselves using different language, attire…etc. This places the blame entirely on women and is a poor method for SAA. However, teaching individuals to reduce their risk for rape is a good thing to do. The problem is that this is often viewed as the victim “asked for it” or victim blaming. I don’t think that teaching risk management, like “don’t accept drinks from strangers” is blaming the victim.

    On the other hand it is assumed that by teaching that rape is wrong will fix the problem. It will REDUCE the problem but there will always be those individuals that are just broken and will rape regardless of education. Therefore people should be educated that rape is wrong, but people should also be educated about risk management as there will always be a risk. I just don’t get why people can’t accept both.

  52. Mindy

    Because Goosefraba that plays into the rape myth that rapists are strangers. Statistically women are far safer with men they don’t know than those that they do. Women are far more likely to be raped by someone they know and assume they can trust. To truly be safe women would have to lock up all the men all the time and reproduce artificially. Can’t see anyone going for that, can you?

  53. tigtog

    Cut-n-pasting a comment posted a few hours ago by bookwench on last week’s Otterday thread:

    Submitted on 2013/11/30 at 4:08 am

    So, the Rape Prevention thread.

    My only complaint – only one – is about the weapons and military comment.

    The military doesn’t go around armed all the time like in the movies. Military folks don’t get to cary guns on post. They can’t have pepper spray, or tazers, or any of those sorts of weapons on base. So your women walking around *in* uniform as exactly as defenseless as your women walking around *out* of uniform. When they *are* carrying guns, they’re not always issued bullets – in most training scenarios their guns are unloaded, for safety reasons.

    The standard military weapon, when you’re carrying, for enlisted personal – the vast majority of assault victims being enlisted, not officers – is an M16. Women caring an M16 might be seen as non-valid, difficult targets for a rapist, it’s true, simply ebcause Big Damn Gun. Women carrying an M16, though, are carrying a *large* rifle, not easy for close-quarters combat, which is what rape is. A more effective weapon for rape prevention might be a knife or pistol, as long as the woman is a) willing to use it in her own defense (not all women can do this), and b) trained to use it and not get it taken away from her. Even if all these things happen – pistol, willingness, training – the situation might not work out.

    It comes down to the choice of weapon, the woman’s personal emotional make up, her training, and her situation. So please don’t argue that women carrying guns doesn’t prevent rape. It’s a lot more complicated than your statement makes it seem. It’s terribly individual and situational, the weapons/assault thing.

    [eta: my doing an admin paste of bookwench's comment here should re-open the thread for the benefit of those coming to this post from Tumblr right now]

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