Friday, October 30, 2009

Sexual Assault Prevention Tips Guaranteed to Work

I'm currently taking a creative writing class at a local community college here, and this morning I received an e-mail updating students on a sexual battery incident that happened on the main campus yesterday.

Apparently, a male "grinded" himself on a female in the parking lot in the middle of the day before slapping her on her bum and then taking off.

First off all, what the hell?

Why would anyone do this to someone? Go rub yourself on a tree trunk, for crying out loud!

Second of all, why in the middle of the day at 2 p.m.?

It's just so frustrating that things like this happen. And don't even get me started on the whole gang rape incident that happened in Richmond, Calif. last week. Makes me sick.

The e-mail from my school asked if anyone had more details on the incident. Then it offered these safety tips:

--Stay alert to your surroundings and keep high value items out of sight.
--When possible, travel with another person. There is safety in numbers.
--If you must travel at night, walk and park in well-lit areas.
--Know where you are going. Walk quickly and confidently to your destination.
--Avoid carrying unecessary items. Hold purses, briefcases and packages tightly and close to your body.
--Have your keys out and ready before approaching your car.
--Check both the front and rear seats of your vehicle before entering. Lock the door immediately upon entering your vehicle.

These seem like pretty common sense safety tips, right? And of course I'm not opposed to taking precaution. But what do you notice about every single piece of advice they list? It's all focused on what you should do to stay safe.

So that got me thinking - we're always trying to "protect" women (and men, too) from being in unsafe situations, but why don't we go to the root of the problem and instead teach people NOT to commit these crimes? It all circles back to victim blaming when certain crimes occur: "Why were you walking by yourself?", "Why were you wearing that low-cut top out in public?" or "Why didn't you have your keys laced between your fingers on your way to your car because you know that Freddy Krueger look will scare off any attempted rapist?"

Here are some REAL safety tips that are guaranteed to work in preventing any sort of sexual assault. Please follow them accordingly:

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.
11. 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.

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