Tuesday, April 14, 2015

How To Not Get Raped?

So, I've seen this video posted on Facebook a couple of times now.  Anna, the girl in the video, rehashes an old argument that I'm sure we've all heard before.  She does it in a clever way, and I agree with some of what she says, but as a man, a husband, and a father of a both sons and a daughter, I think that I can offer a slightly different perspective.

Anna argues that we should stop teaching women that they are responsible for whether or not they get raped. Instead, we need to teach men and boys that, "rape is never an option."  While it's true that it's not a woman's "fault" if she gets raped, it doesn't follow that we shouldn't teach women to protect themselves against sexual predators.  And, while it is true that we should continue to teach boys and men not to sexually assault women, it doesn't follow that the world is going to be devoid of rapists any time in the near future... if ever.

Here's the thing: most men aren't rapists.  Most boys are taught that violence against women in any form is never okay.  I seriously doubt that most of the 'son, don't hit girls' talks terminate with the caveat, "... unless you're about to have sex with her... because it makes it a lot easier if she's incapacitated."

Sadly, we all know that there are men who teach their sons that violence against women is okay, both by their words and by their actions.  There are also men who ignore the proper attitudes towards women that they've been taught both by their parents and by society.  There are always going to be those outliers - and those are the people that I want  my wife and children to protect themselves from.

We live in a world where people do bad things.  I'm sorry, but it's true - and it will probably always be true.  It's just the way it is.  We can't determine what other people are going to do, but we can do some things that might prevent other people from doing bad things to us.  If we have stuff in our houses or our cars that we don't want to get stolen, we can lock our doors.  Of course, locking your doors isn't going to prevent all thefts, any more than not going to the apartments of a men you barely know isn't going to prevent all rapes - but locking your doors is going to make it less likely that you will get robbed, just like keeping yourself away from risky situations will decrease the likelihood that you will be sexually assaulted.

So this is my perspective as a man, as a husband, and as a father: I know that there are people in this world who do terrible things to girls and women.  The fact is, it makes my blood boil and I wish there was a way to round them all up, put them in a rocket, and launch them into the Sun.  Unfortunately that isn't an option.  We can, and should, continue to teach our boys not to assault women.  I was taught not to hurt girls and women, and I am teaching my boys the same.  But I'm also going to teach my daughter some things that will help her to protect herself from predators.  I'm also going to teach her to lock her doors, in case you're interested.  So, while I appreciate the frustration that Anna and other women feel, and it may be inconvenient at times, I don't feel any shame in encouraging women to employ some common sense measures that can help prevent rape. I'm not saying that a woman is to blame in any way if she is sexually assaulted.  I can't speak for all men, but I think when we say things like, "don't walk (or bike) alone at night," "please don't go to parties with people you don't know," "maybe you should carry some mace," "here is some nail polish that will help you detect date rape drugs," what we are really saying is, "we love you," "we don't want you to get hurt," "here are some ways you can protect yourself."

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