#43: Tips

Discussion (10) ¬

  1. Kate

    I went to an all girls school that was pretty good. We got self defense classes in PE. The instructor was HARD CORE and had us practice jabbing while yelling ‘EYES!’ etc. She also told us always to keep pens in our car so that if we got carjacked we could use them as weapons, anhd showed us how to hold our keys so that we could use them to scratch people without hurting ourselves.

    She also taught us the trick of, if someone is groping you in public, holding up teh person’s hand and saying loudy ‘this man has his hand on my thigh!” Thanks, Ms Parham. That one really works.

  2. InfamousQBert

    i heart you and this comic SOOOOOO much! seriously, seeing a new on in my reader makes my day a little brighter, and this one in particular just blew up the whole universe with awesome. thank you!!

  3. Emily Goddess

    Sexual Assault Prevention Tips Guaranteed to Work!

    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.

    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.

    (The original source seems to have vanished, but I found the list here:http://www.amptoons.com/blog/archives/2009/09/15/sexual-assault-prevention-tips-guaranteed-to-work/)

  4. Alison

    Thank you so much for this. I have heard so much of this sort of ‘good advice’ in the past. Sure, I’m sure it starts off well intentioned, and some of that advice is good and should be kept in mind. And then it goes off into the deep end just like this instructor does. I think the final panel is the best summary of this sort of ‘advice’ I’ve ever heard.

  5. Nina

    Found you from a Shakesville link a few weeks ago and I just want to say you are awesome and so is your work! This one really hit home. Thank you!

  6. Joel

    The funny thing is that most of that advice was given to me, as a male, growing up in a high crime urban area. Not the part about dressing “too sexy”, but the parts about looking distracted out in public, or being alone in deserted places, not walking by parking lots, being careful in wooded areas etc. This was all taught not just to me, but every male I went to school with. Even the bits about dangling jewelry were taught to us, in particular don’t wear a chain that can be seen, and especially don’t wear it if you’re going to sit near the subway doors, because people will reach in and grab it. This was all at a progressive high school.

    I’m 100% with you on victim blaming, but not all that advice is sexist or self-negating. In my mind don’t walk alone in dark places is like don’t drink and drive, both bits of advice allowed me to survive my teenage years without getting robbed or shot or knifed.

    Understanding how criminals behave is not the same thing as making excuses for their behavior.

  7. admin

    Hey Joel,
    I know some of this advice is given generally, but in the context of telling women (and in my case, non-binary trans people often perceived as women) how to avoid sexual assault, it all really grates my nerves because there’s no way I can look or act or place that I can go that won’t “put me at risk”; I don’t feel safer if I have short hair than when I have long hair, I don’t feel safer in my own apartment building than a parking lot, I feel just as much in danger when I wear a short dress or baggy shorts. I can put my money in my front pockets, or leave my valuables at home, but I have this body wherever I go.
    Advice like this also tends to unintentionally reinforce a lot of narratives around rape, particularly that women must live in fear because men can’t control themselves, and that if a women is assaulted than if only she did xyz it wouldn’t have happened. It also ignores/erases a big reality of sexual assault, which is that the majority of assaults are committed by a person one already knows. This fact was completely absent from the self-defense class I took, and there was only one move out of dozens that we learned that would be helpful if we were not standing up at the time.
    In my opinion, self-defense should be about what to do when the situation happens, not how to live your life to avoid the situation, because while the advice seems sound, sometimes we do not have those options, and we do not get to choose when and where we are attacked.

  8. 77Suzanne

    Another issue is this, if anyone gets drunk and passes out at a party and they get raped? They would never have been raped had a RAPIST not been there. If I need to walk across a dark parking lot to get to my car, I won’t get mugged unless someone mugs me. Without a mugger present, the worst thing that might happen is that I trip in the dark.

    I think it is telling that the advice given to you was also apparently how not to get robbed or mugged, but the advice I have always been given (as a cis woman) is how not to get raped/murdered.

    Also, the man who raped me had been my friend for 3 years and had never laid a hand on me before. I was at his apartment as I had been many, many times before. I was with a friend in a safe neighborhood when I got raped. I am sure more people are assaulted this way than being jumped by a stranger in a dark alley. The narrative is skewed towards violent stranger rape. The reality is a person you thought liked you and knew you can hold you down simply because they outweigh you by 75 pounds. I was wearing work clothes (pants and button down shirt) and no jewelry. I was in a safe place. I didn’t have my wallet, I wasn;t out alone at night, no one put anything in my drink… I just got raped.

  9. Candace

    Seriously, men just need to develop a little thing called self control and be held accountable for their actions.

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