One of the hats that I sometimes wear, is that of certified victim's advocate. I have occasionally gotten into debates with others about domestic violence and rape and the role of the victim. Our society has a long history of blaming the victim, particularly in cases of domestic violence. Why does she stay? How can any woman allow a man to treat her like that? When rape is called date rape, it is typically written with quote marks and although not often spoken out loud for fear the speaker might be accused of political incorrectness, many believe that date and rape are mutually exclusive. After all, she must have led him on. Right? I've seen articles suggesting that Rhianna was partially responsible for Chris Brown's attack - after all, they were together, they were both arguing, so she was partially at fault. Right? Wrong.
Have you noticed that the word rape has been appearing in the national headlines recently? In the political headlines?
Recently, 30 Republican lawmakers voted against a bill that would have denied government contracts to companies that refused their employees the ability to sue them for sexual assaults committed by other employees. Senator Sessions said the bill was a "political attack against Halliburton." He (Sessions) claimed that arbitration was a fair substitute for a court case and that the government should not be in the business of re-writing contracts. Excuse me? A significant portion of what government does is write (and re-write) contracts. Law is a contract. A social contract that in exchange for certain behavior, we will be safe, and those who engage in other behaviors will be separated from the rest of us by government. Goverment also engages in contracts with companies to provide services all over the world, so Session's remarks are as usual, self-serving.
A google search using the key words rape and politcs time limited to the past week returned a result of 956 hits. Results included, but are not limited to, the above mentioned amendment, Fox News attempt to smear Kevin Jennings, and the problems rape victims are having finding health insurance, especially if they received prophylactic AIDS treatment after being raped.
So, we have not only our elected leaders, but health insurance companies seeing profit and corporate convenience as more important than the health and welfare of women who have experienced a sexual assault. Even Rhianna, well known as a strong, independent woman, is seen as being at least partially deserving of being beaten by her boyfriend.
In light of this prevailing attitude of women as victim, women as deserving of rape, women as somehow at least partially at fault for what happens to them, here is a guide on how to prevent rape.
How to Prevent Rape
A lot has been said about how to prevent rape. Women should learn self-defense. Women should lock themselves in their houses after dark. Women shouldn’t wear short skirts. Women shouldn’t leave drinks unattended. Perhaps they shouldn’t dare to get drunk at all.
Instead of further curtailing women’s freedom, how about:
- If a woman is drunk, don’t rape her.
- If a woman is walking alone at night, don’t rape her.
- If a women is drugged and unconscious, don’t rape her.
- If a woman is wearing a short skirt, don’t rape her.
- If a woman is jogging in a park at 5 am, don’t rape her.
- If a woman looks like your ex-girlfriend you’re still hung up on, don’t rape her.
- If a woman is asleep in her bed, don’t rape her.
- If a woman is asleep in your bed, don’t rape her.
- If a woman is doing her laundry, don’t rape her.
- If a woman is in a coma, don’t rape her.
- If a woman changes her mind in the middle of or about a particular activity, don’t rape her.
- If a woman has repeatedly refused a certain activity, don’t rape her.
- If a woman is not yet a woman, but a child, don’t rape her.
- If your girlfriend or wife is not in the mood, don’t rape her.
- If your step-daughter is watching tv, don’t rape her.
- If you break into a house and find a woman there, don’t rape her.
- If your friend thinks it’s okay to rape someone, tell him it’s not, and that he’s not your friend.
- If your “friend” tells you he raped someone, report him to the police.
- If your frat-brother or another guy at the party tells you there’s an unconscious woman upstairs and It’s your turn, don’t rape her, call the police and tell the guy he’s a rapist.
- Tell your sons, god-sons, nephews, grandsons, sons of friends it’s not okay to rape someone.
- Don’t tell your women friends how to be safe and avoid rape.
- Don’t imply that she could have avoided it if she’d only done/not done x.
- Don’t imply that it’s in any way her fault.
- Don’t let silence imply agreement when someone tells you he “got some” with the drunk girl.
- Don’t perpetuate a culture that tells you that you have no control over or responsibility for your actions. You can, too, help yourself.
Thanks for stopping by. Come back soon.
Ps. If you're interested in a post on why women (and men) stay in abusive relationships, leave a comment.