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"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!

Snopes.com 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.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 11th, 2013 12:48 am (UTC)
*cheers loudly in complete agreement*
Jul. 11th, 2013 02:08 am (UTC)
Can I repost this on my FB as a PSA? So tired of screaming this. But people continue. There's a huge rise of these posts amongst my Indian friends/family with recent tragic stories of rape (and gang rape) in India as if it's some new phenomenon (lets blame the west again for this) or something! Traditionally, we don't wear ponytails, we braid our hair all oiled up and so no one can get a hold of us. Some traditions must be kept! All the West fault!

Ok...that was my personal rant. But I see this daily and it drives me just as crazy!
Jul. 11th, 2013 02:23 am (UTC)
Of course, post wherever! I was happy to see Indians taking a stand against rape, we can all get misdirected when big shifts like that happen.
Jul. 11th, 2013 03:06 am (UTC)
Have you read The Gift of Fear? Much more useful than the "stick your car keys through your fingers!" advice. Also less fear mongering and victim blaming.
Jul. 12th, 2013 05:13 pm (UTC)
Just avoid the chapter on domestic violence, which is weirdly out of keeping with the rest of the book.
Jul. 14th, 2013 07:23 pm (UTC)
I find that my dad's rape prevention tips were the most effective. The gist of it was "if I ever find out you committed (insert sex crime), you better hope the cops get to you before I do." Neither my brother or I have raped anyone so it seems to be working.
Jul. 15th, 2013 10:43 pm (UTC)
I don't know how you feel about podcasts, but Best of the Left just did an episode on rape culture and one of the parts is an interview done by Democracy Now with Zerlina Maxwell (starts about seven and a half minutes into the episode) who went on Sean Hannity's show to talk about rape culture. In it, she talks about teaching men not to rape and teaching men about rape culture as oppose to arming women. She demolishes Hannity's argument in which he puts the focus on women needing to prevent rape from happening by carrying guns and doing outrageously crazy things to prevent it.

And I would highly suggest listening to the entire episode. There are some interesting pieces from different sources.

Edited at 2013-07-15 10:53 pm (UTC)
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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