Friday, September 3, 2010

Women Must Prevent Rape - NOT!!!

When it comes to popular messages about sexual violence, many of us are treated to a (un)healthy dose of fear – in the guise of awareness and self-protection. You know the drill: don’t walk alone; don’t drink too much; avoid certain streets; be wary of strangers. . . the list goes on. One of the troubling things about these messages is the way they imply that one just needs street smarts and savvy to prevent sexual assault. (Another problematic aspect of these messages is the way they shift attention away from the fact that the majority of assaults are perpetrated by a victim’s acquaintance, friend, or partner; these ubiquitous stay-safe tips don’t mean much when it comes to people you already believe you should trust. Then there’s the fact that plenty of folks don’t have the option of not, say, commuting to and from work late at night or avoiding areas where they might be vulnerable to crime.) Moreover, the notion that we can reliably prevent being assaulted dovetails neatly with victim-blaming after the fact: “she/he really shouldn’t gone out there without a friend”; “it probably wouldn’t have happened if she/he hadn’t been drinking to excess”; “what was she/he thinking, going to a party in that neighborhood”
"Protect Yourself?"

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