9.21.2009

femin-ally: sexual assault prevention tips guaranteed to work

From Femin-Ally:
Sexual Assault Prevention Tips Guaranteed to Work!

1. Don't put drugs in people's drinks in order to control their behavior.

2. When you see someone walking by themselves, leave them alone!

3. If you pull over to help someone with car problems, remember not to assault them!

4. NEVER open an unlocked door or window uninvited.

5. If you are in an elevator and someone else gets in, DON'T ASSAULT THEM!

6. Remember, people go to laundry to do their laundry, do not attempt to molest someone who is alone in a laundry room.

7. USE THE BUDDY SYSTEM! If you are not able to stop yourself from assaulting people, ask a friend to stay with you while you are in public.

8. Always be honest with people! Don't pretend to be a caring friend in order to gain the trust of someone you want to assault. Consider telling them you plan to assault them. If you don't communicate your intentions, the other person may take that as a sign that you do not plan to rape them.

9. Don't forget: you can't have sex with someone unless they are awake!

10. Carry a whistle! If you are worried you might assault someone "on accident" you can hand it to the person you are with, so they can blow it if you do.

And, ALWAYS REMEMBER: if you didn't ask permission and then respect the answer the first time, you are commiting a crime - no matter how "into it" others appear to be.

Some years back, I wrote a few books for a series called "Everything You Need To Know About...", written for teens who are struggling readers. The publisher wanted to finish the title with "...Preventing Sexual Assault," but I couldn't live with that. Fortunately my editor backed me up and we went with "Everything You Need To Know About... Dealing with Sexual Assault".

Thanks to James for sending the Femin-Ally link. If your computer is at all unstable, I advise against clicking through.

21 comments:

Greg said...

So, what was the goal of posting that?

Do you feel that it achieved the goal?

I guess it was supposed to be funny, but have you considered that you might be alienating some of the people you're trying to reach?

redsock said...

... have you considered that you might be alienating some of the people you're trying to reach?

So you think Laura is worried about offending a rapist?

L-girl said...

Greg, I thought the "goal" (?) was pretty self-explanatory. I saw this, thought it was really clever and trenchant, and wanted to share it.

I don't think it's particularly funny. It's tongue-in-cheek, sarcastic, but too serious to be funny.

These are all the tips that women and girls are told to "prevent" sexual assault. But women and girls can't prevent sexual assault, because they don't cause it. Only the assailant can prevent the assault, by not assaulting.

So Femin-Ally takes the usual tips and turns them around.

And re your final question, I did not consider that it would alienate any wmtc readers, and they are the only people I am reaching. But in general, if any wmtc reader is offended by this post, that his or her right, but it's not my problem.

bgk said...

@Greg

Wow, maybe thinking that perhaps the responsibility to prevent rape lies on the Rapist and not on the oft-blamed victim.

But wev.

Greg said...

I read a comment somewhere that said this is to counter those lists given to women (e.g. don't wear pigtails etc.), so yeah, okay I get it. It's supposed to be a dark kind of humour.

Cool.

But when I first read it, I took it as this broadcast message, typical of 1990s university tripe, that simply alienated a large chunk of people who might be helpful in the prevention of violence against women.

I assume the "goal" is to prevent sexual assault and violence. If so, it's probably ineffective.

Yes, 100% of the responsibility lies on the rapist. But on top of that, some of us have the power - through policing, walk-home programs and pure social pressure - to cut down the number of rapes.

Do you want those people encouraged or alienated? Which does this list accomplish?

bgk said...

Do you want those people encouraged or alienated? Which does this list accomplish?

I think that this list brings to light the audacity that we as a culture blame the women who are raped about 85% of the time, because the guy couldn't help himself for x,y,z reason.

because she was drunk
because she wore a mini-skirt
because she invited him in
because she accepted a drink from him... etc. etc.

I'd be very surprised by any member of the community at large who read this and felt alienated, without also realizing, this is the exact life in reverse, complete with not-helpful social instruction, that women are forced to live EVERY DAY of their lives.

L-girl said...

Do you want those people encouraged or alienated? Which does this list accomplish?

Rather than attempt to answer questions which, for me, are entirely irrelevant to this post, I invite you to simply say what is on your mind, in the form of statements, rather than questions.

Please feel free, or not, as you wish. I have no idea what you're going for here.

L-girl said...

By the way, I went to university from 1978 to 1982 (coincidentally, also the year I was raped), so I have no idea what "typical of 1990s university tripe" looks like.

L-girl said...

Bgk, thank you, that's very helpful.

Women are forever being told don't do this, don't do that, as rape "prevention".

It's a dangerous world, and there are certain common sense things we can do to slightly increase our chances of safety.

But the single biggest predictive factor in being sexually assaulted is being female.

Greg said...

Fine. I can be more direct.

When I was in Uni, I saw the lists of which you speak - the ones given to women to warn them. That upset me. That motivated me to realize that the old-school, Rush Limbaugh, blame-the-victim-for-wearing-a-miniskirt bullshit was bullshit.

But I also had to deal with (e.g) a Uni newspaper column that started with the phrase, "Men, rape is wrong!" and "take back the night" marches in which women pointed at random passers-by and shouted, "What part of 'no' don't you understand?".

There's no place for a man in that kind of movement. There's no welcome there. There's no acknowledgement that this is a battle for all of us to win.

This list is in that vein, though it may double as cynical humour or a slap in the face to the blame-the-victim crowd. It does not say, to the vast majority of us non-raping, non-wife-beating men that we are part of this battle.

I enjoy a good slap in the face to the "well, what did you expect when you went up to his room?" bunch almost as much as anybody,
but I'm asking you to consider the effect it is having. It's probably not what we want.

L-girl said...

It's great that you wanted to be involved, and it's awful that you ran into people who, for whatever reasons of their own, didn't want to accept your involvement.

Hopefully you will not keep the chip on your shoulder for too long. I've also had bad experiences with activists in the past, but fortunately I didn't let it keep me from activism in general.

This list is in that vein, though it may double as cynical humour or a slap in the face to the blame-the-victim crowd.

I see none of what you're talking about in this post. It seems wholly unrelated to me.

I also don't think it's a slap in the face to anyone, in any crowd.

Obviously you see it differently, but I suspect your past experience is blurring your vision.

Thanks for your thoughts.

bgk said...

, "Men, rape is wrong!" and "take back the night" marches in which women pointed at random passers-by and shouted, "What part of 'no' don't you understand?".

I know, its sooooo frustrating when victims of rape act out in ways that aren't socially acceptable.

There's no place for a man in that kind of movement.

I completely disagree, there's plenty of room for me in the help stop rape movement.

There's no welcome there.
Why do men need to be welcomed into the stop rape movement? There's two different things at play.

1.) The women in that protest were angry. I can only imagine what it would be like to be the oppressed minority culture that lives with rape threats and rape apologists on a daily basis and has to try to function. And in the one space that they are expressing their anger and raging against the machine, you want a welcome? No one needs an invite to a protest, you pick up a sign and join in the fun

2.) I feel it rather difficult to lament with you about this specific article, as the author of it took clear steps to remove any gender language. Please re-read and confirm if you doubt me.

Ultimately, if you want to rage against Modern Feminism, I won't stop you, but in all fairness to L-girl, this isn't really the topic at hand.

L-girl said...

Great stuff, bgk!

No one needs an invite to a protest, you pick up a sign and join in the fun

That's true too. My parents (both white) participated in the civil rights movement in the 1960s and 70s. They picked up a sign and joined the fun, so to speak. At the time, not every civil rights group was integrated and open to white membership, but they found a place.

For men in the anti-violence-against-women movement, I imagine it would be the same way. If men don't try to take over, don't try to run the show, but are respectful and sincere, there will be a place for them - but not everywhere, at all times.

Seems logical to me.

In any case, exactly none of that is happening in this post.

L-girl said...

I also want to acknowledge male survivors here. There are so many more than we know.

Cornelia said...

Wow, thanks for sharing, Laura. Cool offender prevention!! Right to the point and aptly worded!

Cornelia said...

Don't worry, why on earth should that piss political allies off???!!! It's rather sarcastic and irony but gets the point across that it's the responsibility of the offender not the victim. There are a great many things that can be done against VAW politically - empowering women, assertiveness and self-defense training, enlightening them about where and how exactly to get support and making sure it's provided, hammering it home to the public that victim blame is bullshit and secondary victimization and potential retraumatization and baseless nonsense (and aiding and abetting the crimes and patriarchy!!) and passing and implementing good laws etc.etc. Anti-sexist prevention work for boys won't hurt either for sure and there the listed points could be included to deconstruct rape myths and also to inform the general public, too on the issue. But no worries, why on earth should it be politically detrimental.

Cornelia said...

I am happy and proud to be feminist. And take back the night is right and "What part of no don't you understand?" is directed at harassers. Anyway, the slogan is:

No matter where we go, no matter how we dress, no means no and yes means yes!

Exactly. I agree.
Besides, the more support, the better so there's nothing wrong with supportive male allies, quite on the contrary, they can be very helpful and they are usually nice and cool people and I appreciate any meaningful contribution and I am sure most feminist women do. However, some men have claimed to be supportive and non-sexist while they actually proved not to. But the same has proved true for women who claimed first to be feminist and non-abusive and no collaborators of patriarchy and non-sexist and later turn out to be real moralizing bullies and collaborators. They freaked me out way more.

Cornelia said...

They freaked me out way more.

It was insidious and they often caught me off guard and I felt so betrayed and sometimes so stunned that I didn't maintain boundaries and told them off fast enough for my personal comfort.

Mara Clarke said...

Lynn Harris posted this on Salon/Broadsheet. Some of the comments (all in the "oh, well, ha ha and everything but you know women really need to take responsibility for themselves" vein) were maddening. Grrrrrrrr.

L-girl said...

Thanks Cornelia and Mara. I really loved the piece and I'm glad to know it's circulating.

Cornelia said...

You are welcome, Laura.