Why ask men to stop raping when women can barricade themselves in their homes?

by Cara on February 23, 2008

in assholes, education and schools, misogyny, patriarchy, rape and sexual assault, sexism, slut-shaming, violence against women and girls

I know that this is old “news.” It has to have been around for decades. I know that I’ve ranted about it before. And I know that it might even be a mistake to give this kind of bullshit anymore attention than it already has, but I’ll be damned if this article in a college newspaper about how women who drink are more likely to be raped doesn’t make flames shoot out my eyeballs.

Young women who increase alcohol consumption are at a higher risk of being sexually assaulted, a new study shows.

About 900 women, mostly 18 years of age, participated in the study, conducted by researchers at the State University of New York, Buffalo. Researchers say that female students are more vulnerable to victimization if they increase their drinking. Female first-years are particularly at risk for physical assault, especially if they are new drinkers or have a previous history of victimization or psychological problems.

According to Health Services statistics, freshmen and sophomores make up about three quarters of alcohol-related Emergency Medical Services calls to Health Services. High levels of drinking among first-year students can be partly attributed to “anxiety over the transition into college,” said Director of Health Education Frances Mantak. “For some people, alcohol use is a way to feel more comfortable socially,” Mantak added. Students with previous history of victimization often abuse substances because they struggle with other problems, Mantak said. “They drink because they haven’t found other positive mechanisms for managing (their problems).”

Can someone please explain to me how freshman and sophomore anxiety and “alcohol-related Emergency Medical Services calls,” of which I’m sure only a small percent are about sexual assault, has to do with anything? What, women should find another way to relax? Taking up yoga stops rape now? Or hey, maybe we shouldn’t just bar women from drinking — how about we refuse their right to go to school all together, because the risk of stress is just way too high?

While that’s a very bitter joke, what is the difference between saying that women shouldn’t attend college because a large number of sexual assault victims are university students and that women shouldn’t drink because a large number of sexual assault victims are intoxicated? Other than the ramifications of not attending college being larger than the ramifications of abstaining from alcohol, I sure as hell can’t tell the suggestions apart. For fuck’s sake, if they want to relate the study back to the school in particular, how about they do something responsible like looking at campus rape statistics and what the school is doing do prevent sexual assault?

But wait, Mantak does have something to say about the study and about rape:

Mantak also said the offenders’ behavior should not go unnoticed, since offenders target vulnerable victims with heavy drinking habits. “We have to be careful about how we frame our words because we have to be careful to not make the victim feel like it’s their fault,” she said. “We have a culture of victim blaming, and the researchers may be unintentionally doing it as well.”

Emily Mellor ’10, a member of the Female Majority Leadership Alliance, agreed.

“I’m pretty sure the findings are true, but I’m not sure how useful it is to look at findings like these,” she said. “The only thing you can take from it is if you drink, you get assaulted, and I don’t think it’s the fault of the person who drank if they get assaulted. People who are sexually assaulting others are using alcohol as a weapon,” Mellor said.

For the record, I don’t doubt the findings either. In fact, I’m pretty sure that the findings are correct. And yet — and this is where people tend to get confused — a study can still be total bullshit even if the results are valid.

Why is it bullshit? Because we’re looking in the wrong fucking place.

For the (probably not) last time, women can’t stop rape. We can support victims. We can put together prevention and education programs. We can disprove rape myths. We can lobby for funds and greater awareness. We can try our hardest to expose and break down patriarchal structures. We can demand better laws and harsher punishments. We can take self-defense classes and not drink and stay at home and carry pepper spray. In fact, most of us actually do these things, to some extent. And I think that most of them help. But we can’t stop rape. If we could stop rape, we would have done it by now, and I would be sitting here weeping with relief rather than with an angry tear in my eye.

Men can stop rape. Most men aren’t rapists, but almost all rapists are men. And rapists are the only ones who can stop rape.

Trust me, I understand that this is frustrating. To acknowledge that until we find a way to get through to rapists, until we give them a good reason to stop raping or they find one on their own (“it’s wrong” has proven to not be enough), the fate of sexual assault is in their hands . . . it’s infuriating and it’s terrifying.

But that’s not why most people don’t want to believe it. Most people don’t want to believe that men (who rape) are ultimately responsible for rape, not because it makes them feel helpless but because it contradicts their entire understanding of the world. It would mean that men are actual people who can control their penises, and if that’s the case, it sure as hell means that us women have been getting fucked over. Many women don’t want to believe that they could have gotten screwed so badly and that so many people they know and trust have been complicit in the big lie. And so they think that if they follow the arbitrary rules, they will somehow escape the fate of all those “loose” women who are sexually assaulted. And many men, of course, don’t want to believe it (or know the truth but deny it), because in a world where men can control their penises, they’ll likely be expected to do so.

But back to the topic at hand: drinking increases a woman’s risk of being raped (by some presumably unknowable, mysterious raping entity). To my non-misogynist brain, this says that rapists are not only hateful, violent cowards, but also lazy and particularly unethical. But clearly, I’m in the minority. To those saying that this kind of study doesn’t put the onus on women to avoid rape but is just giving us “information,” think again:

Though the study may be “one-sided” in examining only female victims, Women’s Peer Counselor Hee Kyung Chung ’10 said that, since the behavior of offenders is harder to control, women should limit their drinking to ensure their own safety.

“Taking into account the logistical difficulties of studying the other side, the best thing a woman can do is to make responsible life choices,” Chung said.

This is a Women’s Peer Counselor. No, really, it bears repeating: this woman is a women’s peer counselor. Someone who should know better than a vast majority of the population on the subject of sexual assault and who has a hell of a lot less excuse for this type of remark. Still, it’s what we get.

The argument doesn’t even make sense. She acknowledges that it’s very difficult to control the behavior of rapists. And yet, somehow, it turns out that women should try to control the behavior of rapists with their own behavior, anyway. The misogynist cultural indoctrination runs deep.

To the paper (and Chung, if it was indeed her own word), not drinking does not ensure anyone’s safety. It didn’t ensure my safety when I was fourteen and in a sexually abusive relationship before a drop of alcohol had ever touched my lips. It didn’t ensure the safety of most of the women I know who have told me their own rape stories, because they weren’t drinking at the time. It doesn’t ensure the safety of a woman who tries to drink moderately and has her drink spiked, anyway. It doesn’t ensure the safety of a woman who is raped by a husband, boyfriend or father. These women couldn’t have avoided sexual assault by not drinking. And so those raped while intoxicated couldn’t have either.

Chung refers to “responsible life choices.” Of course, she’s talking about women, as though we wake up in the morning and choose to be raped. No one talks about men making the responsible life choice to not rape. When you do, they throw a fit and want to know why we should tell men not to rape because they’re men and they’re not going to rape. But though huge numbers of women are raped, a significant majority are not. And we feel perfectly fine telling them what they should do to avoid the ever-present threat of rape by the men whose feelings we’re afraid to hurt.

Here are the facts. When someone actually bothers to do a responsible study about how alcohol affects rape, they do indeed find that a large number of victims were intoxicated at the time of the assault. They also find that in most cases where alcohol was involved, both parties were drinking. And in cases where only the victim or the perpetrator was drinking, the rapist was more than twice as likely as the victim to be intoxicated (pdf).

But I’ll just keep on holding my breath for that article titled “Alcohol tied to risk of being a rapist.” I’ll wait for the simply rational advice that men shouldn’t drink because there’s a relatively small chance that drinking will cause them to rape someone. Can’t you see it right around the corner? A time when a woman makes a rape allegation and people accusingly ask the man well were you drinking?

Until then, I guess that we’ll just have to make due with the articles about how women should stay locked inside their homes forever — for their own good, of course.

Via SAFER

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{ 32 comments }

1 Nora February 23, 2008 at 4:14 pm

Cara-

You’re my hero! Thanks for writing so elegantly and clearly about the idiocy of such advice. You clarified nicely what Jen and I were trying to point out about the article. Thanks!

2 Ran February 23, 2008 at 4:22 pm

It’s odd, because the things the article says about rape are the same sorts of things that everyone says about all violent crime — e.g., I can’t eliminate muggings/assaults/murders by avoiding bad neighborhoods (especially at night), but people will still advise me to do so in order to reduce my own risk of being mugged/assaulted/murdered — but only with rape does this sort of advice make it into the paper. I’m not sure why.

3 al February 23, 2008 at 5:20 pm

Great post. It’s funny, men who go out and drink are more likely to be victims of physical violence than women are, but no one’s writing scare pieces in college newspapers about how likely a man is to be involved in a fight or get jumped when out on the town to scare them into staying home and studying.

4 atomicpuffball February 23, 2008 at 5:44 pm

i disagree – women can stop rape: FIGHT BACK. learn to stick your fingers thru a rapist’s eyes. he won’t do it again after he’s blind. anyone who tells women to not risk more injury by doing anything to aggravate the rapist is repeating what Ted Bundy told his victims: don’t fight and i won’t hurt you. exactly one woman did not believe him, fought back, and was the only one to survive to testify against him.

5 Cara February 23, 2008 at 6:09 pm

Yes, women can fight back. And I encourage them to do so. But not all women will. And not all rapes include strong amounts of physical force. We can’t get rid of rape for women who are willing to punch their rapist husband in the face and not for those who aren’t. What about women who are ill, have disabilities, are passed out?

It’s certainly true that through self-defense, specific rapes can be stopped. But rape is a social problem. If the only reason that men stop raping is because they’re afraid of getting their ass kicked, they’ll just start choosing even more vulnerable victims.

6 Pizzadiavola February 23, 2008 at 6:13 pm

Atomicpuffball, I think you’re missing Cara’s point. She’s not saying that women shouldn’t fight back against rapists, she’s saying that putting responsibility for stopping rapists solely on women, rather than on the rest of society and on the rapists, is ineffective and perpetuates an attitude that it’s the victim’s fault for “provoking” rape somehow.

Besides, fighting against a rapist once he’s already started doesn’t stop rape altogether, it just deters one, and there’s no guarantee that fighting back will work. When I was assaulted, I fought back and my assailant ran away, but guess what? It didn’t stop me from being assaulted, because he’d already started.

7 Pizzadiavola February 23, 2008 at 6:18 pm

It didn’t stop me from being assaulted, because he’d already started.

*It didn’t undo, or prevent, what he’d already done.

8 Feminist Avatar February 23, 2008 at 7:04 pm

Fighting back is not always going to prevent rape. Recently in my area a schoolgirl was dragged into bushes and attacked on her way home from school. She fought her attacker for 45 minutes before someone else came along and intervened. She successfully stopped herself being ‘raped’, but I don’t think anybody could kid themselves that wasn’t a traumatic experience. Furthermore, if nobody had come along, the attack would have went on until the weaker person had no strength length. It’s a fair bet that the rape victim isn’t always going to win in a fight.

9 ethan February 26, 2008 at 4:39 pm

fighting back only will stop a small percentage of completed rapes. it does absolutely nothing to stop *attempted rapes.*

furthermore, it’s difficult to fight back when you’re supposed to be in a loving relationship with the violent offender.

so “fighting back” is really mostly just victim blaming and perp-protecting that is founded on the rape myth that the violence occurs between strangers who have no level of emotional attachment with one-another or similar/overlapping social networks. that is ridiculous even on a logical level, and the statistics bear it out.

10 Xerophyte March 3, 2008 at 9:50 pm

Not to mention that all the self-defense training in the world doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be ready to fight when it comes down to it. Generally, people who make arguments like that have never been attacked — when I was beaten up and mugged this summer, my attackers had snuck up behind me and as soon as I turned around, one of them was there punching me in the face. When your first awareness of someone’s presence is them punching you in the face, your odds aren’t good; the person on the offensive is always more likely to win, based solely on the element of surprise. I could have had mace, a Glock and 15 years of self-defense training and I wouldn’t have been able to fight those fuckers off.

And, as others have mentioned, women can hardly be blamed for not fighting back when the attacker is their boyfriend/husband/father — it sounds unbelievable to those lucky enough not to have experienced it, but typically you don’t want to hurt someone you love, even when they’re hurting you. I can also say in my experience, fighting back against my then-boyfriend did shit-all to prevent him from raping me. Aside from the obvious terror, it’s really fucking depressing when I look back on it and realize how completely overpowered I was; I didn’t even stand a chance. Also, fighting back does shit-all when you’re outnumbered, and since gang rape seems to be all the rage these days, advising women to fight back is even more absurdly stupid and ignorant than it normally is.

But to get back to the article — I also wonder what these people think a society would look like where women aren’t allowed to drink, can’t go out without a male escort, or can’t wear “skimpy” clothing? I mean, does that not sound like the textbook definition of Saudi Arabia (and other similar countries)? Really, how do these people think that turning the US into Saudi Arabia is going to help things for women?

11 Megan March 4, 2008 at 8:16 am

Xerophyte, I’m sorry to hear about what happened to you. That must have been very difficult to go through.

It is incredibly frustrating to hear self-defense thrown around like the obvious key to preventing rape. “Well, why didn’t she just fight back? She should have taken self-defense?” Oh, well clearly it is just that simple.

I once took a self-defense class (out of curiosity, more than anything) and the female instructor never said anything explicitly victim blame-y. However, the way she talked about self-defense definitely gave me the impression that she had never been in a situation like so many others have described where trying to fight back would not have been the magic bullet for getting out of a bad situation.

12 Suzann March 10, 2008 at 1:12 am

You are such a good writer. I don’t know how anyone reading your work could argue with you. (I know they do, but as you say, cultural indoctrination runs deep.) Keep up the GREAT work. You’re fabulous.

13 Cara March 10, 2008 at 4:34 am

Heh. Thanks Suzann. Early morning flattery is always nice.

14 Adrian April 5, 2008 at 9:29 pm

It pains me to see how they treat you, but also to see how you choose them over me for their looks and their money.

Those males should be in prison, but you females should be criticized for objectifying men by looks and money.

They are free to date you and have sex with you, close enough to beat you or rape you, because they look good and have money.

I have never been asked on a date by any of you, and I have never had sex in my lifetime, because I don’t have looks or money.

Every one of you that I have ever noticed first for ANY REASON — the same music, politics, sincere personality, strong intelligence, or even the average non-jock non-model looks I have — have eventually turned against me and chosen some stupid sexist male over me.

None of you have ever been treated that way by me, because you never have noticed me first, talked to me first, asked me out first.

I shrugged and became prejudiced and let you have them over me, if you honestly consider those sexists more loving or manly somehow.

I will look like a jock or a model by 2010, so you finally notice my intelligence and my personality, and maybe even ask me out first.

I will overcome female arrogance and passivity and hypocrisy.

I don’t understand it, and I will put an end to this.

8/20/2014!

15 Cara April 5, 2008 at 11:19 pm

Dear Adrian,

I present to you . . . THE NICE GUY(tm) AWARD FOR LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT IN THE FIELD OF DOUCHINESS.

Trust me, you earned it.

Oh, btw, he is so banned. I have better things to do than deal with this one. Take that as a lesson, folks: leave moronic comments like this and I will ban you but still publish your comment so that we can laugh, and laugh, and laugh at you.

16 Depresso April 6, 2008 at 7:44 am

*joins in with the laughing*

Yunno, this has to be the best example I’ve ever seen of misogynisitc selfishness I have ever seen!

17 sara April 6, 2008 at 11:23 am

I still think its better to fight back in a rape situation than not to. You never know what kind of nastiness could be fought off (even if he already vaginally penetrated you). I hate to bring this up, but there’s all kinds of vulgar stuff that can be done to you in a rape (witness the Florida incident).

So maybe fighting back didnt stop vaginal penetration, but it stopped anal penetration with a stick. Maybe it didnt stop anal penetration, but it stopped the rapist from forcing you into a car, driving out into the countryside to his private little shack for a week long imprisonment before you get shot in the head.

18 Cara April 6, 2008 at 11:38 am

And I see nothing wrong with encouraging women to fight back and that the myths of fighting back aren’t true (i.e. that he is more likely to physically hurt you if you fight back; in fact, it’s the exact opposite). The problem is when we start to see it as (a) a solution (like atomicpuffball) and (b) an obligation on the part of a victim. Which far, far too many people — not to mention judges and juries — do.

19 Paul April 6, 2008 at 9:02 pm

Snopes – http://www.snopes.com/crime/prevent/rape.asp – mentions that fighting back can be fatal for some – so either Snopes or Cara is mistaken

20 Cara April 6, 2008 at 9:49 pm

I didn’t say that it couldn’t be fatal, Paul. I said that the myth that fighting back makes you more likely to be killed is just that: a myth that I’ve never seen any evidence for. The evidence certainly isn’t in that article, because I didn’t see anywhere that they actually showed any statistic to back up the assertion that it could be fatal except to say that it could be fatal. Of course it can. So can not fighting back. Right now, we seem to be setting up a dichotomy where the only choices are “don’t fight back, you’ll be killed” and “fight back and everything will be fine.” Neither is true and there is no concrete advice. The stupidity of the email is telling women that there are certain things they can do to control their chances of being raped. The stupidity of many others is telling women that fighting back is dangerous and they shouldn’t bother resisting. I think that both of these ideas, when presented so simplistically, promote rape culture.

But you can find some references here and here. Also, though other feminists seem to be fond of the Snopes article, I actually have a few issues with it — not with the basic premise that the email is bullshit (because it is), but a lot of the reasoning that is used to argue that it is bullshit.

21 Connie April 8, 2008 at 4:00 pm

There was a time that I would have read an article like the one in that college paper, and I would have agreed whole-heartedly with it. I would have said it only makes sense that a woman be on guard 24-7, or she’s just asking for something to happen. And while I still believe that it’s a precaution that we as women must take- being aware of what’s going on around us and not getting so drunk that we cannot defend ourselves, my recent experiences have taught me that it is not a woman’s responsibility to make sure she doesn’t “get raped”. Someone I loved and was in a “relationship” with raped me. The first time was my virginity, something I had saved for 24 years. But even though I knew it was wrong and he apologized, when I finally tried to tell someone about it- they immediately said that since I had been drinking and fooling around beforehand, it was my fault- that this is what happens when you “play with fire”.
I felt so horrible about myself and low that I actually forgave him and figured that since it was already gone, and I was “damaged goods”, that I might as well continue having sex with him. IT was a horrible relationship that continued until he raped me a second time when we were both drinking- myself being passed out half of the time. He did it to get back at me for making a joke about him at his friends party.
Even now, even though I KNOW it was wrong what he did, it’s so confusing when a woman drinks- to call it rape. Add to that the fact that it’s someone you love and are supposed to trust? Most women don’t even know what to call it when something like this happens to them. I didn’t for over a year.
The saddest part is that the guys don’t see anything wrong with it. Getting a girl drunk- even someone they are dating or in a relationship with, is such a normal, accepted thing to do. You get a girl drunk so she’s more willing- it’s like a joke. And when it happens under circumstances like these- both Men AND WOMEN don’t see it as rape- it’s the girls fault for letting down her guard and not protecting herself.
My own mother and sisters told me I was stupid for not fighting him or going to the police. How can we change what’s happening if even WOMEN are blaming the victims of rape?

22 SunlessNick July 27, 2008 at 12:31 pm

have eventually turned against me and chosen some other stupid sexist male over me.

Corrected your sentence, Adrian.

They also find that in most cases where alcohol was involved, both parties were drinking. And in cases where only the victim or the perpetrator was drinking, the rapist was more than twice as likely as the victim to be intoxicated.
But I’ll just keep on holding my breath for that article titled “Alcohol tied to risk of being a rapist.”

In Britain, the “standard model” holds that women who drink and are then raped are more at fault, while men who drink and then rape are less at fault – but pointing out the obvious contradiction in that is just encouraging women to behave like irresponsible sluts.

Getting a girl drunk- even someone they are dating or in a relationship with, is such a normal, accepted thing to do. You get a girl drunk so she’s more willing- it’s like a joke.

It’s treated as a joke to obfuscate what should be so clear: that getting her drunk, a condition where her judgment is impaired, to “make her more willing” means you know that were her judgment not impaired, she might well be unwilling; and consequently breaking her down in such a way becomes an active attempt to sidestep her choice.

23 SunlessNick July 27, 2008 at 12:32 pm

I should just give up trying to do blockquotes on this blog. I get wrong every single damn time.

24 Cara July 27, 2008 at 1:07 pm

Fixed it. You could always do italics instead. But you just left the slash out of the closing tag was all.

25 SunlessNick July 27, 2008 at 1:24 pm

Thankyou. I’ll stick to italics I think; rather than making still more work for you. :)

26 Julie August 6, 2008 at 2:25 pm

If you can’t understand that drinking leads women to be more permiscuious and less vigilant about there surroundings than you have your head buried in the sand. Drinking does not cause a women to be raped, but it sure does not help when she loses her critical desicion making faculties because of alchohol. No one says women are to blame. But be smart and take precautions – and face reality – drinking definately does not decrease the chance of rape. I am not interested in arguing about who’s fault it is that a women was raped. I am interested in preventing it from happening in the first place. I don’t want to be right – I want to be safe. Simple.

Julie

27 Cara August 6, 2008 at 3:28 pm

Julie, if you actually do believe that “no one says women are to blame,” you are clearly a newcomer to this blog. I really do wish that you were right on that count, but sadly you’re not. I do strongly encourage you though to get educated on the issue.

No one is encouraging women to binge drink. If not drinking would make you feel more “safe” then that is your choice and what you should do. But not drinking doesn’t exactly provide real protection. Sure, women are more likely to be raped when drinking. But most women I know who have been raped, myself included, were sober at the time. That sobriety did not protect us. You say that you don’t care who is to blame but just want to prevent rape — but we will never be able to prevent rape by expecting women’s behavior to change and not men’s (who are the huge vast majority of rapists). And we will never expect rapists to stop what they’re doing if we don’t center conversations about prevention around them.

The fact is that it’s your right to protect yourself, and I encourage you to do so in whichever way you choose. But even if your not drinking preventing you from being raped, it’s very unlikely that it would prevent rape. Another woman will simply take your place. That’s not solving the problem. And if all women stopped drinking, rapists would just get more clever. A huge number of them are already.

28 J November 20, 2008 at 11:09 pm

I actually question whether “women are more likely to be sexually assaulted if they’re drunk.” Women are most likely to be sexually assaulted by someone they know in their own home. Alcohol intoxication can be a factor in rape, but it is (statistically) far from the most important factor.

29 J November 23, 2008 at 4:22 am

It’s only true on some college campuses that more rape victims are drunk than victims who are not drunk; when you take into account that far more college students are binge drinking on an average night than women out of college with jobs and social outlets other than college parties are binge drinking on an average night. Weight the results for the overall prevalance of binge drinking in college, and the idea that alcohol is “causing” rapes on campuses becomes even more absurd.

30 Mary Lee November 28, 2008 at 2:30 pm

A woman is never to blame… period. Please keep that in mind as you read my thoughts. Even if a woman chooses to ignore my advice, they would still not be at fault. If you choose not to fight back, then you did what you felt was right and it may well have saved your life.

My advice concerns stranger rape, as rape by a friend or loved one has no rules or reason. How do you protect yourself from those that you should feel safe with? You can’t and this I cannot address, but, a woman CAN do things, if they choose to, in the hope that they avoid stranger rape or worse. Women should always be aware of their surroundings and avoid deserted places. According to Snopes that is about all they can do, and with this I seriously disagree.

It is a woman’s choice whether to fight back or not, but I personally will choose to fight someone I do not know. When attacked by a stranger, a victim will have no idea of their end game. NO I have not been raped, but I did spend more than a year of my life being stalked by 2 different strangers, 1 of which turned out to be a serial killer, so I know fear. I lived in terror, but I had law enforcement give me lots of advice. One piece of advice was to get self defense training. While there is a chance it might not help me, I could be overwhelmed and not be able to fight back, knowing it can increase my odds of survival. If you are not at home or in an isolated area, fighting back can indeed save your life. Yell, scream, kick, run… anything you can do, even if they point a gun at you. Their intention is to get you alone. At this point you do not know what the rest of their intentions are. Rape could be the least of your worries. If an attacker gets you alone, your chances of survival lessen. This was my main problem with the Snopes rebuttal. They just rebuffed the many ideas in the original email that could actually come in handy. Sure a lot of it was bunk, but a lot of it was taught to me by law enforcement and in self defense. So I had a huge issue with the snopes view.

You do not need to be over vigilant and live in fear, but you should keep your safety in mind. You should be aware of your surroundings when out and about. Anyone that argues against this, just ignores the world we live in. Again, doing everything “right” is still no guarantee that you will avoid attack. Nothing can do that, but precautions can increase your chances of avoidance. And if you do not do these things does not mean it is your fault! The fault will always lie with the attacker and the victim will always be 100% innocent, even if they are completely drunk, dressed in almost nothing and flirting with the attacker!

Here are some points to help increase your safety:

- Change all locks when moving to a new house or apartment. Use only dead bolt locks.
- Install chain locks on outside doors, and make sure the door is solid wood.
- Always lock the door when leaving the house, even if only for a few minutes.
- Do not leave keys outside in a hiding place.
- Don’t keep your house key on the same ring with car keys.
- Install window locks or devices to limit how far the window can be opened.
- Consider installing an electronic security system or subscribing to a neighborhood patrol.
- Use last name and initials in phone directory and on mailbox if you are female.
- Do not give your name or address to an unknown phone caller. If you receive an obscene phone call, hang up immediately.
- Never open the door to strangers. Ask service or delivery people for identification.
- Be appropriately dressed to go to the door.
- If alone when someone comes to the door, say loudly, “I’ll get it, John.” Say, “My husband is here, but he’s asleep.”
- Close curtains and shades at night.
- Turn on outside and adequate inside lights.
- If an intruder breaks in, get out–the opposite of whichever way he is coming in. If you cannot get out, try to go to a room with a phone and a lockable door. Call 911.
- When walking, stay close to curb, away from shrubbery and doorways. Do not take shortcuts through alleys, vacant lots or parks.
- If accosted from a car, run the opposite direction from where the car is headed.
- If waiting for public transportation, stand with your back against a wall.
- Walk or drive on busy, well-lighted streets.
- Know where you are going; don’t look lost.
- If you walk to your car alone at night, carry your keys in your hand; they make good weapons. Get a car alarm which automatically unlocks doors.
- Park in well-lighted areas, lock all doors, and take careful note of the location so that you can return directly to your car.
- If possible, return to the car in groups; check the back seat before getting in.
- Never hitchhike or pick up a hitchhiker.
- Keep your car in good repair. Don’t let the tank get below half-full.
- If you often come home late, vary the route.
- If you think you are being followed, drive directly to the nearest all-night store or police station. Don’t go home or get out of the car. Blow your horn and flash your car lights to attract attention.
- A favorite ploy of muggers and rapists is to rear-end a vehicle and attack the driver who gets out to assess damage. If someone tries to stop your car, keep driving if possible; try to overtake another car or go to a police or gas station.
- Don’t stop to assist strangers; drive on and call police or highway emergency help.
- Let someone know where you are going and when you’ll return.
- If your car breaks down, stay in the car with hood up, flashers on, doors and windows locked. If anyone stops to help, ask him to call for police or emergency repair.
- Do not enter an elevator with a person who makes you feel uneasy. Also check to be sure the car has not been summoned to the roof or basement. Stand near the control panel. If someone gets on who seems suspicious, get off on the next floor. If all other passengers get off except a stranger, get off with them and take another car.
_ Take an elevator before a stairwell.
- When leaving a store or mall, look about for suspicious actions, such as a car idling nearby. Try not to have arms full of packages. Walk out with others, if possible.
- Make sure a van with tinted windows is not parked right next to your vehicle when you get in it. Also look for a vehicle with a male in it sitting next to yours. Delay entering or get an attendant to walk with you.
_ Lock your car doors as soon as you get into your car.

IF you make the choice to fight back, here are some ideas:

- If he has a bat or club and you can’t run away, move into him–you cannot swing or hit with force someone who is standing close to you.

- If he has you trapped with a knife and you have no other options, grab control of the knife–try to get it by the handle–you will get cut and sliced on your hands but you’d be surprised that you can probably get the knife from him because nobody expects you to grab for it. If he has you trapped with a gun and you have no other options, grab full force for the gun controlling to point it away from you, once again no one expects the woman to grab from the gun so the perpetrator is not expecting it–you can’t let go after either of these choices though–you’ll be fighting to the death at this point–so make sure you have no other options.

- Vomit, urinate, tell him you are menstruating, tell him you have a sexually transmitted disease, defecate. Many rapist will be repulsed by the “dirty bodily fluids” and will back off. Most rapists aren’t fetishists.

- Keys can be a very good deterrent. If you are near your car, remember that most keys these days have a panic button that would set off your car alarm. If someone grabs you, put your key between 2 fingers in your fist and try to stab the attacker in the eye with the key.

- The palm of your hand shoved with force to the bottom of the nose upward also works.

- Elbow or stiff fingers to the solar plexus if you are in close.

- Women should stomp the tops of their attackers feet, if they are grabbed from behind. This is especially useful if you are wearing high heels. Aim for the area at the top of the foot and the bottom of the leg, as it will be the most vulnerable and open.

- Attackers are usually prepared for a groin hit, but if you see the opening, take it.

- Poke him in the eyeball with your finger/s.

I hope I am not misunderstood here.

31 Anna November 28, 2008 at 4:08 pm

I wish the men who raped me had killed me too. That would have been the kindest thing they could have done, at that point.

32 Cara November 28, 2008 at 4:20 pm

I wish the men who raped me had killed me too. That would have been the kindest thing they could have done, at that point.

((hugs))

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