Supporting the Police with further ridiculous safety tips to help me not get raped

4 Apr

Trigger warning: the following contains photos that may serve as a trigger to victims of sexual violence

It seems that the Police believe that women would not worry about their own safety if the Police did not tell them too. Therefore, in order to reduce rapes, the Police tell us to follow their top safety tips, which apparently will stop rape happening: do not drink; do not walk home alone; do not take minicabs; do not behave in a “seductive” way; do not talk to strangers; do not dress “provocatively,” etcetera etcetera. If you neglect to follow these tips and you are consequently raped, it is your own fault. The rapist has no agency in his actions. Rape is a passive phenomenon that women leave themselves open to if they do not behave in certain modest ways. Men cannot help themselves. Or so imply the Police’s anti-rape campaigns.

Let me add that the Police seem to be unaware that most rapists do not follow the “knife-wielding stranger down the dark alleyway” model (although, truth be told, some do), that most rapists are known to the victim, and that, therefore, the Police’s “tips” are redundant since the only way for a woman to avoid getting raped is to avoid being in the company of rapists, which is, unfortunately, impossible.

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Thames Valley police’s trigger-inducing anti-rape poster tells girls not to drink (and parents not to buy their daughter’s drink) less a helpless boy find himself raping them

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Sickeningly badly-judged poster from the Met Police. This poster has forced me to begin several a tube-catching day in the most foul of moods.

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West Mercia police have now apologised for the above poster, and have admitted that rapists, rather than alcohol, cause rape.

Let’s be clear – all things considered, the Police’s safety-tip-focused, don’t-get-raped campaigns are somewhat misogynist, given their focus on victim-blaming (the non-misogynist alternative would be anti-rape campaigns that encourage men not to rape). In response, the wonderful world of twitter feminists has created a few sublime #safetytipsforladies to complement the Police’s ridiculousness.

 Ladies, to avoid rape, try the following:

–       “Carry a whistle, people may think you are a high school football coach and respect your autonomy”

–       “It’s well known that rapists have evil background music accompaniment, so keep your ears open and listen!”

–       “Avoid places where there are rapists or possible rapists, the moon for example is currently men free”

–       “Fill your vagina with cement and let it dry”

–        “Safe fashion outfits include a Sherman tank, a hollowed-out rhinoceros, and a Wheelie bin with holes cut for your feet”

–       “Skin tantalizes rapists, whether visible or coquettishly covered. Leave your skin at home.”

–        “Don’t be attacked by guys with a promising future. That is the absolute WORST decision you can make.”

–        “Rapists love ponytails. Surround yourself with ponies and the rapists will be too confused to attack”

–       “Always project strong body language. Rapists are put off by women who walk on their hands continuously”

–        “The majority of rapists are known to the victim. Consider not knowing any men.”

–       “It is a fact that rapists target human ladies, so be an animorph. Transform into an eagle at the first sign of danger.”

–       “If you hide your forearms in your sleeves, the rapist will mistake you for a T-Rex and carry on his way”

–       “If you wear a broccoli safety-pinned to your lapel manly carnivorous men will be repelled and won’t rape you”

–        “Always carry a Furby. It’s a proven fact that everyone is afraid Furbies, so when attacked, throw it at the rapist.”

–        “Just accept rape cultures definition of consent. Then you can never be raped.”

–        “Take a course on personal empowerment and then wear a cape to let would-be-rapists know that you are empowered.”

–        “When approached in a bar by a man you don’t know … what were you doing in a bar anyway you slut?”

–       “Stop being a woman in public”

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8 Responses to “Supporting the Police with further ridiculous safety tips to help me not get raped”

  1. TheGirl April 5, 2013 at 3:06 am #

    Rape Culture. I just reblogged an article called “Are you tired hearing about rape culture?” It explains everything you just did with the Steubenville case. If you haven’t heard about yet, google it. More bad news to make your blood boil

    • NaturalWoman April 5, 2013 at 7:22 am #

      That post is genius. She definitely hits the nail on the head!

      • TheGirl April 5, 2013 at 5:12 pm #

        Yep, thanks for reading!

  2. Jennie Saia May 15, 2013 at 3:20 pm #

    Reblogged this on Tip of My Tongue and commented:
    It’s funny becasue it’s so absurdly true. It’s horrible because it’s so absurdly true. My favorite is, “If you hide your forearms in your sleeves, the rapist will mistake you for a T-Rex and carry on his way.” My least favorite is the fact that some people read those signs and think, “Yep, she should have been more careful.” Thanks for posting, Natural Woman.

  3. Samantha May 15, 2013 at 3:51 pm #

    Those posters are appalling. Incredibly victim-blaming. 😦

  4. Silly Wrong But Vivid Right May 16, 2013 at 1:46 pm #

    I do not agree with victim blaming, but I do not think that reminding anyone to take responsibility for not putting themselves in dangerous situations and to be aware of their own limitations as far as intoxication is concerned, is to blame them if something happens to them. A drunk woman who gets in an unlicensed taxi and is raped is NOT to blame for that rape, but was irresponsible with her own safety.

    It shouldn’t be that way; women should be free to do as they please without fear, men should not rape. Unfortunately though, this isn’t how the world works. No, it’s not OK that we have to be careful, but we do.

    Would you cross at a zebra crossing if you saw a car speeding towards you? You have the right to cross, after all.

    • NaturalWoman May 16, 2013 at 5:22 pm #

      Not stepping in the path of a speeding car is a sensible precaution for my own safety. I don’t believe telling women not to get drunk, or not to wear short skirts, flirt, or any other “tips” we are advised to adhere to in order to make ourselves less “vulnerable”, are sensible safety precautions. Rather, they are asking women to limit the ways they live their lives to an extent that is not sensible or realistic.
      As far as I know, there is no evidence that women are more likely to be raped if they are drunk or taking a taxi. Women could be raped in their homes, at work, in the street, at a friend’s house and so on, fully sober or not. The only real fail-safe precaution to avoid being raped is to not be in the presence of a rapist. In other words, we should avoid ever being in the presence of a man. Is this a sensible precaution to take? No.
      Focusing anti-rape campaigns on the behaviour of women encourages the view that women are partly to blame if they are raped. Therefore, in my opinion, every £ spent on these campaigns is a £ that hasn’t been spent on targeting the perpetrators of this crime. It’s a misdirected use of public funds.

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