Spacefem (spacefem) wrote,

"through a rapists eyes" rises again

I keep running across an old and terrible article lately, that seems to have resurfaced on tumblr and pinterest, I guess it found a new audience? It's the classic email forward about how you can avoid being raped if you just know simple facts such as:

1) Don't wear your hair in a ponytail!
2) Don't wear overalls, rapists just cut off the straps!
3) Don't go to the grocery store at 6am, rapists pick that time to lurk in the dark! does a wonderful job debunking the list - and has the whole forward for your reading pleasure.

Some of the advice is downright dangerous, like this gem:
Only 2% said they carried weapons because rape carries a 3-5 year sentence but rape with a weapon is 15-20 years. If you put up any kind of a fight at all, they get discouraged because it only takes a minute or two for them to realize that going after you isn't worth it because it will be time-consuming.

First off it's inaccurate, weapons are involved in closer to 1/3 of rape cases. But as the author of Picking Cotton pointed out, we hear news all the time of rape victims being murdered. How do you know if you've "picked the right rapist" who will give up, instead of killing you?

Second off, advice like this is ripe content for victim-blaming. We like to think that we can somehow live our lives without being raped, like we have control of this. One speaker I heard once said he collected nine pages of "tips" from female students he'd talked to about rape prevention. When we hear of someone being raped, all too often we ask them which of the nine pages of rules they "broke". Was she wearing a short skirt? Or any skirt? Was she out late... like, 10pm? Was she in a dangerous area?

I do think we can prevent rape. We need to talk about it, take threats and accusations seriously, teach everyone what respectful relationships are about and what's not acceptable. Encourage a world where rape isn't a joke and no one is entitled to anyone else's body. Stop defining masculinity by how violent and overpowering one can be.

And one thing is definitely for sure: email forwards about how you should carry an umbrella to beat away rapists do more harm than good. If you see that sort of advice, do not reblog, retweet, or repin. Please.
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