Saturday, February 6, 2010

More Evidence that the Internet makes a difference

While perusing my blog reader this week, I came across this tidbit on Feministe. Intrigued, I read on. And was just as disgusted as the Feministe writer.

It seems the Valdosta State University Police Department never got the message that rape is not the victim's fault. The good news is that enough outrage was spread across the interwebs that they've now taken the page down. Fortunately for us, it lives on in Google cache. Gotta love teh Google. I reprint it here for you since the cache will not last forever.

1.    The three main reasons women make easy targets for random acts of violence are:
o   Lack of awareness (you MUST know where you are & what's going on around you.)
o   Body language (keep your head up, swing your arms, stand straight up)
o   Wrong place, wrong time (DON'T be walking alone in an alley, or driving in a bad neighborhood at night)
2.   Some women have a tendency to get into their cars after shopping, eating, working, etc., and just sit (doing their checkbook, or making a list, etc.). DON'T DO THIS! A predator could be watching you, and this is the perfect opportunity for him to get in the passenger side, put a gun to your head, and tell you where to go. AS SOON AS YOU GET INTO YOUR CAR, LOCK THE DOORS AND LEAVE.
A few notes about getting into your car in a parking lot, or parking garage:
o   Be aware: look around you, check under the car as you approach it, look into your car at the passenger side floor and in the back seat.
o   If you are parked next to a big van, enter your car from the passenger door. A lot of serial killers attack their victims by pulling them into their vans while the women are attempting to get into their cars.
o   Look at the car parked on the driver's side of your vehicle, and the passenger side. If a male is sitting alone in the seat nearest your car, you may want to walk back into the mall, or work, and get a guard/policeman to walk you back out. IT IS ALWAYS BETTER TO BE SAFE THAN SORRY. 
3.   Always take the elevator instead of the stairs. (Stairwells are horrible places to be alone.)
o   Do not get on an elevator if your instincts tell you that something is wrong (Remember, bad men don't always look bad).
o   Do not stand back in the corners of the elevator, be near the front, by the doors, ready to get off.
o   If you get on the elevator on the 25th floor, and the Boogie Man gets on the 22nd, get off when he gets on. 
4.   If the predator has a gun and you are not under his control, ALWAYS run!
o   POLICE only make 4 of 10 shots when they are in range of 3-9 feet. This is due to stress.
o   The predator will only hit you (a running target) 4 in 100 times. And even then, it most likely WILL NOT be a vital organ. RUN! 
5.   Women are always trying to be sympathetic: STOP IT, it may get you raped, or killed.
Ted Bundy, the serial killer, was a good looking, well-educated man, who ALWAYS played on the sympathies of unsuspecting women. He walked with a cane, or a limp, and often asked "for help" into his vehicle or with his vehicle, which is when he abducted his next victim.
6.   Tips to saving your life, if you have gotten into a violent situation:
o   REACT IMMEDIATELY: If he abducts you in a parking lot, and is taking you to an abandoned area, DON'T LET HIM GET YOU TO THAT AREA. * If you are driving, react immediately in the situation, and crash your car while still going 5 MPH. * If he's driving, find the right time, and stick your fingers in his eyes. He must watch the road, so choose an unsuspecting time, and gouge him. It maybe your ONLY defense. While he is in shock, GET OUT. (This sounds gross, but the alternative is your fault if you do not act.)
o   RESIST: don't go along with him: run, if you are able: Yell statements "Help me," "Rape," or "I don't know this man." * You DO NOT want to get to crime scene # 2. DON'T EVER GIVE UP! 
7.   Always keep your distance when walking past strangers on the street or in dark areas. 
o   There are packages for $19.95 a month that allow you to program only 911 or 5555 (The VSU Emergency Number) into the dialing out program (this is for parents who say it is too expensive for their kids to have a cell phone.) 
9.   BREAKDOWNS: (avoid this by ALWAYS keeping your car in good working order)
o   If your car breaks down, you better have a cell phone to call for help, and lock your doors.
o   Keep a blanket, and a pair of warm clothes and boots, and a flashlight in your car always for emergencies.
o   If you don't have a cell phone, shame on you
o   If it's noon on a business day, you MAY want to put your hazards on and walk to safety.  If it's 2 a.m. and you're close to a populated and well lighted area, go there ASAP. Otherwise, your best bet is to stay in your vehicle. 
10.                 Physical defenses that we can use against the violent predator:
o   The number one, best target you can aim for is, of course, the groin. A good knee strike to the groin will ruin his day.
o   The eyes are one of the most vulnerable parts of the body. Poke him there and you have (possibly) your best window of opportunity.
o   The neck is also a vulnerable spot. Two fingers in the clavicle notch (the v-shaped notch between the breastbone and the chin) will do the job for you. 
11.If you are walking alone in the dark (which you shouldn't be) and you find him following/chasing you:
o   Try to get to a lighted area, preferably a populated area.
o   If he's following you, cross the street. If he follows you, turn around and look at him. He will know that he can now be identified and that he has lost the element of surprise.
o   If he chases you, yell for help and run!
o   Find an obstacle, such as a parked car, and run around it, like ring around the rosy. This may sound silly, but statistical data shows that this has SAVED LIVES. 
12.                  Never let yourself or anyone that you know be a in any type of business (bar, store, restaurant, gas station). 
13.                  Sign up for VSU R.A.D. course. It's a self-defense course for ladies.
Remember, awareness and the realization that it can happen to you are your best defenses.

Yes, this victim-blaming garbage was passed off as sexual-assault prevention tips. It smacks of something passed along in some email chain with a dire warning attached about this could have saved someone's life and we need to send it to every female we know, especially our daughters, so they can benefit from the tragedy.  The only problem is that date or acquaintance rape is far more common than the stranger scenario the warning seeks to prevent.  Estimates range widely but one report suggests that 7 in 10 rape victims knew their attacker. Others place that number even higher, especially on college campuses where some 90% of rape victims knew their attacker. Does this piece of idiocy passed off as legitimate advice take any of that into effect? Nope. And thus the outrage.

What does all this mean? Only that the myth of the woman as non-victim and even willing participant is alive and well. Such a piece of garbage passed off as prevention tips enforces the idea that women are the cause of sexual assault.  Clearly, by placing herself in harm's way, she' asking for it. 

What it's really saying is that men are not to blame.

Thankfully, there are those out there that are taking a more proactive view on rape prevention. One that focuses on both sides of the equation. Check out for more information. I'm not going to go into to much detail about what's on that page except to say it's well worth the time to read it and watch the videos. 

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