Monday, June 28, 2010

Sexual Assault Prevention Tips and Victim Blaming (Vlog)

I was inspired to make this video after reading Britni's blog post "Drunk Bitches Totes Deserve To Be Raped."

I know I'm a bit ridiculous when I talk (sometimes I talk so fast my cheap webcam can't even keep up lol), but it is what it is.

Some great links:
The Worst Sexual Assault Prevention Tips Ever
Sexual Assault Prevention Tips Guaranteed to Work!
I Am Not My Cock

And the best PSA ever (based on the Prevention Tips Guaranteed to Work above):

Update: I actually made this video before I realized there was such a lively debate going on at Britni's blog and I only want to add that I think a lot of the arguments from both sides comes from not differentiating from the type of prevention tips that are thinly veiled victim-blaming (like the "tips" Britni posted) and genuinely good information. To say that there isn't any information we should be teaching men and women on how to better protect themselves seems wrong to me (not that I'm saying anyone has said such a thing). There is definitely middle ground in this conversation. As long as there's no victim blaming going on, then I think every one's heart is in the right place.

Also, haven't most of these so called "tips" been drilled into our heads since we were little? I've been told to always use the buddy system and never leave a drink anywhere since as far back as I can remember. Don't seem to be doing much of a job in that case. If they did genuinely work then I could deal with the slut-shaming, but if they don't then why do should we put up with them?


  1. This is a really good video. You articulate this really well, and I totally agree that consent needs to be addressed and clarified for many people, men and women. While men often keep pushing if they don't hear a clear "no," women often feel like they can't say no. And that's how so much rape and happens. I really feel like better education on consent is needed, and if you don't read Hugo Schwyzer, I highly recommend him. He's a male feminist who gives consent workshops to young men, and I think he's great.

    I love the dog in the background. Btw, I cross posted this to my blog because I think it's great, and because it was in response to my post, but I closed comments and directed them here, so hopefully people chime in. :)

  2. Thanks for posting this. Changing the conversation; that's what I'm going for, and you articulate that point way better than I.

  3. I agree.
    Blaming the victim and acting as if men are sexual beasts with no control are ridiculous. No matter what the victim has done, rape is never justified. It ain't about sex or who is sexy. Rapists will abuse any available target.

    Where I differ from most liberalsis, I feel the perpetrators of these crimes should be punished severely. I believe rehabilitation of rapists is seldom accomplished, and accordingly so, they should remain segregated from society, if not executed.

  4. mac, I agree that rehabilitation of *violent* rapists, the kind that we're told to look out for around every corner because they will attack us in a dark alley, or break into our home... they probably can't be rehabilitated.

    However, the majority of rape isn't like that. And, as Alana talks about in her video, the problem is often that we're not properly teaching kids about consent beyond "no means no." And therefore, if a boy doesn't hear that direct "no," yet the girl pushes his hand away, or tries to slow him down, etc., he doesn't see it as a "no" due to the lack of the word, and so he keeps pushing. Girls are often socialized to think that once they've gone so far, they CAN'T say no, and this is how gray rape/coercive rape happens. THIS kind of rape, I believe can be rehabilitated, stopped, and even prevented with the right kind of dialogue, education, and socialization.

  5. Of course, Britni, you are right.

    Either party should not feel as if they must continue beyond any level if they don't wish. I tend to overlook that some folks don't realized that. Perhaps because I was raised by a stong, assertive woman (but sweet, coz she's my Mama :-), I sometimes take for granted people should know these things when they don't.

  6. I'm really glad you guys liked the video and thanks for being so civil. I know that's a silly thing to say, but I saw how your (Britni) comment section blew up and I'm very happy it's calm in my neck of the woods most of the time. lol It can be easy to forget we all have our hearts in the right place.

    mac: I don't understand why some people are "soft" on crime. Even if we only cracked down on violent crimes, then I think that would be a good change. The problem is only a tiny tiny portion of rapists ever see the inside of a jail cell in the first place. We should stop filling our prisons with non-violent drug offenders and put violent rapists and child molesters away. Common sense so I agree with you there.

  7. I think you articulated a lot of great points in the video. I also think the problem, when people start discussing this sort of thing, is that people are working with different definitions of rape and applying everything that gets said across the board. That, and talking in absolutes.

    Like I mentioned in Britni's comments, locking up your house and installing an alarm system won't prevent 100% of burglaries. It will make your house a less appealing target though in a lot of situations. The same can be said for certain precautions with rape and assault. It won't prevent 100% of rapes, but it will make you a less appealing target. I.E. Drinking to the point of being incapacitated makes you a lot easier to rape because you're not going to put up a fight and you probably won't remember what happened either. That's not to say that if you forgot to arm your alarm system that you deserved to be robbed or that if you got drunk that you deserved to be raped. It's just pointing out that, statistically, you are at a higher risk of ... if you ... which is how we live our lives every day. Evaluating risk vs reward.

    On top of teaching our children that yes means yes we also need to teach them how to be firm and say no when they don't want something. Everyone can stand to learn something here, not just the boys. =)

  8. I totally agree with you about the problem with absolutes. This is something I see all the time in politics and it never seems to get anyone anywhere. I think a lot of the confusion in the comments stems from not differentiating between victim-blaming “tips” and genuinely good information. Of course I'm not surprised. As long as women are blamed for their rapes and men are taught that aggressiveness = manliness (and manliness = godliness lol) then tension will be high on all sides.

    My main issue with these tips though is that they don’t address the real problem. Too often these "tips," when coupled with rape culture, are really just a way of justifying why some women are raped without having to do any real thinking about what causes rape and the way we value masculinity and undervalue femininity. As long as our primary focus is on instructing women how to avoid being victims, then rape will never stop being prolific (because we’re not addressing why rapists rape). I don't think our goal should be to just stop individual victims (not that there's anything wrong with that though).

    Anyone who says we shouldn't advise women how to minimize risk at all is talking ideologically instead of realistically. (I will tell my son that no one should ever touch his privates. Does that do anything to stop pedophiles? No, but the well being of my son comes before changing the world and I have to at least try.) Supporting awareness does not equal victim blaming. I wish we could all take a step back and sometimes and realize we're all on the same side.

    I also agree that both men and women have a lot to learn. All of these tips are directed only at women and all responsibility for navigating consent is left up to men. That isn't right. We all need to be active participants in this or nothing will ever change.


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