Constant Vigilance 4/4

Like most “prevention” tips this poses its own danger.

Imagine a day following evey one of these tips. Carefully picking your clothes with a rapist in mind, wearing underwear with waist and leg belts (because rape can’t happen through cotton?) and a spiked latex condom inside your vagina. Planning your route to work based on what might deter a rapist. Keeping keys in your hand while you order coffee in case of rapist. Walking quickly while worrying about a rapist following. 

Maybe work is relatively safe, maybe it isn’t. Either way you have to hope they don’t mind you leaving early and coming late in winter. Since you have to do 100% of your shopping, auto maintenance, socializing, commuting, and work during daylight hours, you’re simply not available full time. 

You must spend your commute home thinking of nothing but rapists. Is there one hiding in your trunk? Behind that pillar? In those bushes? Constant vigilance means perpetual fear. Being on the lookout for rapists means thinking about rape every minute spent in public. I should hope people can understand why that’s not good for mental health.

And it doesn’t even work. 

Over half of sexual assaults are committed in the home. According to DOJ statistics, 71% of rapes are premeditated. 2 in 3 rapists are known to their victim and 97% of child rapists knew their victim before the assault. Rape is mostly not a “stranger danger” issue. It’s a dads and brothers, friends and colleagues, boyfriends and husbands issue. 

Which means you could do everything “right”, follow every rule, abide by every tip, only to come home and be raped by a person who claims to love you and later pretends it didn’t happen. These tips don’t work. Women’s clothing, behavior, appearance and demeanor are not the cause of rape so they will not be the solution. 

Rape is a crime overwhelmingly committed by men. Whether the victims are men, are women, are neither or both, are children, are prisoners of war, the majority of culprits are men. We need to stop acting as if, because we are so often victimized, rape is a women’s issue for women to solve. Rape is a men’s issue because men rape. Only men (and other rapists) can stop rape. 

These tips don’t keep women safe but they do tax us, limit our freedoms, cost us money and time, and keep us in a state of fear. Victims of rape do not cause rape. A drunk woman in revealing clothes walking alone at night in heels does not cause sexual assault unless she commits it. Rape is a violent crime about dominance. Until we confront the violent and domineering nature of our cultural definition of a man, men will rape. 

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