Because victims can’t prevent crimes, so “prevention” strategies targeting potential victims are selling a crock. Crime prevention programs only work insofar as they persuade offenders not to commit crimes, which is a whole other story (one that is hardly ever discussed regarding rape because the media makes rapists “disappear” from case reports through the way rapes are reported using the passive voice).
Great link via The F-word Blog, a description of an education program for high school kids in Canada (May is Sexual Violence Awareness Month in Hamilton, Ontario and possibly nationwide). The program of Rape Resistance dovetails with JoAnne’s guest post a few weeks ago about rape misinformation regarding offender profiling and real risks:
It is more accurate to talk about rape resistance. The term rape “prevention” misleads women.
First, it gives women the false message that there is a way to “prevent” sexual assault from happening. There is no such guarantee.
Secondly, traditional “rape prevention” information leads women to believe that they are responsible for preventing sexual assault. Our culture encourages women to be careful about what they wear or what they do in order to stop it from happening. The focus is on women and, as a result, many survivors of sexual assault end up blaming themselves. Offenders, however, are always 100 per cent responsible.
The group pushing Rape Resistance talk of a resistance strategies “backpack” that up until now has been full of a mishmash of useful and useless “safety tips” based on the premise of Rape Prevention.
Many of these so-called “safety tips,” however, focus on assault by a stranger in an outdoor location. And yet, most women are sexually assaulted by someone they know in their own home. The information is incomplete.
Many of the strategies cost money. Deadbolt locks, bars on the windows, personal alarms or security systems can be expensive. Some women who work shifts, have no choice but to be out by themselves at night. Many cannot afford cars or taxis. Women with less money have fewer options and, therefore, less access to safety.
On the one hand, the backpack is necessary. When women sense danger, they have some strategies to choose from.
On the other hand, the backpack weighs women down and restricts their freedom. All women, to some degree, carry this burden.
So, women make decisions. There are no right or wrong answers. Whether women use all of their backpacks or none, it is never their fault.
The article goes on to detail signs of a potentially abusive dating partner and specific strategies to resist rape on the street, in the home, on a date, in an intimate relationship, in a bar, in a car and what to do if you are sexually assaulted.
* Use your backpack when and if you can. Remember, though, that if an assault happens it doesn’t mean that you did something wrong.
* Fighting back is an individual choice.