Unapologetic progressive. Fearless activist. Plucky liberal.

This is less a reaction to the Lara Logan case and more a response to a story that ran in my local paper. The university here has had a couple of high-profile sexual assaults reported that didn’t result in charges being filed. Along with the story, the paper ran a sidebar on how the university is conducting a sexual assault awareness week. Included in the scheduled events is a session on self-defense.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I took an all-day self-defense course when I was in college. But since then, I’ve become aware of just how backward society’s attitudes toward sexual assault are. We put all of the pressure on women to avoid rape, but no pressure on men NOT TO BE RAPISTS. How does that make sense? We can tell women all we want not to walk alone at night, to be watchful of their drinks at bars, but according to RAINN, 73 percent of rape victims know their assailants. The myth of a strange man leaping out of the bushes to rape you hardly ever happens. So how do we teach women to identify rapists among the men they encounter on a daily basis? They don’t wear handy signs saying “watch out for me because I might rape you.”

Instead, we need to support and fund efforts like Men Can Stop Rape, a group dedicated to ending violence against women. It offers alternative views on masculinity and teaches boys and men to be allies of girls and women. If boys hear and see role models in their communities denouncing violence against women, it would go a long way toward changing attitudes and building alliances.

So the next time you see your local college or police department offering a self-defense class, call them up and ask if they’d also do a talk about how men can end rape. I bet they’d be happy to do so once they know the interest exists.


Comments on: "It's not women's responsibility to avoid rape" (12)

  1. Thanks Molly for the enlightening information.

  2. I totally agree….self-defense class is empowering though, I used to do Judo and I felt extreme empowerment when I walked alone at night. But is it right to have to constantly ready for an attack? we need to start at the core.

    • I agree long-term training would be empowering, although I’m less sure about how effective one-time classes are. I just think we’re sending the wrong message by acting like if women don’t know how to protect themselves, it’s their fault for being raped.

  3. I have to disagree with the article. As terrible as it is Rape exists it will never go away. No law will stop a criminal from committing a crime if they wish to do it. Gun control doesn’t stop killing it just changes how people kill. If you do not wish to be a victim of a crime you cannot hope a 3rd party will stop it. You cannot count on somebody “respecting” you to not do it.
    do you lock you car? why? To make it harder for people to steal your property wile you are away. same goes for your home. Would you state its not peoples responsibility to not have their property taken? If not them who’s would it be?

    If I go to a Zoo or perhaps out into the wild and go into an area that I know dangerous Animals are. Am i not to take personal responsibility to maintain my safety? how would i do this? Take a Gun or other travelers for mutual protection. Maybe I should examine why I am there at all. If i go up to pet a wild Tiger and get eaten do you feel I was a victim or just foolish? Same if i go surfing in shark infested waters. I may not see them they may not even be there but if im bit who’s fault is it. I placed myself in a danger area.

    This all applies to Rape too. Getting drunk at a frat party isn’t a wise idea. Walking alone without being aware of your surroundings.

    I would not take a subway ride with a big wad of cash in my hand counting all my 100’s. This would invite robbery.

    Nobody is perfect no defense foolproof. People WILL be Raped. Saying the Victim shouldn’t have to take precautions to avoid Rape is foolhardy at best self destructive at worst.
    Im not saying its The victim’s fault they are raped. what I am saying why go out of your way to get made into a victim.
    some rapists are predators. They hunt. They look for the easy kill. Counting on touchy feely programs. cant/wont stop rapists. Dont ALLOW yourself to be made a victim.

    As Mr. Miagi say…”best defense is no be there”

    • You might have missed the fact that 73 percent of rape victims know their assailants. How do you suggest women avoid their co-workers? Family members? Friends? Acquaintances? That’s who does most of the raping, not strange men hiding in alleyways.

    • In other words, most rapes can’t be avoided, so we should stop treating women as if they could be.

      • No. I am not. I am aware that the posted stats on rape place 73% as done by people who know them.

        But you cannot simply say women have zero say on if they are raped.
        no body in their right mind would agree to be raped. But women do play a part in the situation that can lead to a rape.

        also (and i know this will shut down discussion) we really must examine the over use of the word rape.

        the unlawful compelling of a woman through physical force or duress to have sexual intercourse.

        This is what my dictionary describes as rape. I would add that instead of “woman” it should say person.

        In Our current culture practically every sexual encounter is labeled rape. even NON sexual encounters

        a small list
        Rape by deception
        Statutory Rape
        Birth Rape
        Date rape
        Spousal Rape

        Now Can you get raped by a spouse or a date sure! but then its just Rape.
        statutory rape is crazy if no force or duress is used its NOT rape. it could be something else but not rape. Birth rape is over the top if you feel assaulted during a medical procedure its assault, not a rape. Rape by deception somebody gets duped and feels dumb its rape?

        though genuine rapes can occur during a date. Date rape as we know it today is far from the definition of rape. almost no cases of use of “roofies” have been documented. As for being Intoxicated. How is it if a man and a woman have been drinking and they have sex, she may never say NO but latter claim she was raped because she was drunk. If she is not capable of consent due to intoxication how can he be held to a higher standard if he is also intoxicated ?
        how many Date rapes are due to next day regret? We wont find figures most likely as almost nobody would admit to that.


        They are not helpless they are not dumb. Saying they have no power to avoid rape is saying women are Infants that must be watched so they dont get hurt

        Telling Boys/Men not to rape makes about as much sense as telling them not to murder. We know what is wrong telling some guy who would rape not to will make no difference in his willingness to rape.

        Telling Women/Girls to avoid situations that could lead to unwanted sexual situations makes far more sense.

        The only Rape culture that exists is the culture that thinks everything is a Rape.

        Thank you for your time

      • A lot of feminists argue that if anyone, man or woman, is too drunk to fully consent to sex, it’s rape. If a man has sex with a women who is too drunk to say yes, it’s rape. I also disagree telling men not to rape by teaching them how to respect women is a losing strategy. A lot more men rape than murder, and often it’s because they have unhealthy attitudes toward women. Those attitudes are TAUGHT. They’re not inborn. So if we teach them to have respect toward women in the first place, they won’t grow up to rape OR murder women.

        I’m going to say it again, just for my own sanity: A rape is never a woman’s fault. (Man-on-woman rape is the most common form, which is why I use the identifiers that I do, but I realize men can rape men, women can rape men, etc. I agree definitions of rape should be gender neutral.)

      • People cannot demand respect … it must be earned.

        This is NOT meant as a dig. But could it be that we need to teach Women to be more respectable?

        I do realize there are more than one “type” of feminist. some think sexuality is exploitation others think its empowering.

        But consider this: If porn is seen as a caytalist
        for rape due to its sexualization of women. How can somebody say that How a woman dresses/ acts is not also an instigator of unwanted sexual advances. This happened to me once at work no less … A server (playing around) proceeded to “grind dance” against me. I had never seen or heard of this before. I took it for an invitation to foreplay perhaps sex latter. When i touched the woman in a way she didn’t like, I was slapped. I could have had the cops called on me. thankfully that didn’t happen. Another instance A different server would touch me Inappropriately in the walk-in fridge. when i confronted her saying something like what would you do if I grabbed at YOUR nipples. She simply stated “go ahead see what happens” WTF! This is a dangerous game and it seems Men are the Big losers. In a case of he said she said unless there is video a woman will win every time and a mans life is ruined regardless of if he is found guilty in a court of law or not.

        If Respect must be taught. Let women be taught Self-Respect. Because to be respected one must act respectable.

        Revisiting the Intoxication Issue:
        If a man and a woman are both drinking how is it the men’s who must maintain control? im not talking having sex with somebody passed out, just drunk.
        Think about this if the same theoretical woman who “cant give consent” therefore is not responsible due to intoxication. Were to instead of having sex, say got into a car… She is fully responsible then, Right? So same drunk woman behind the wheal IS responsible for her actions.But behind the sheets NOT? HUH ?? the laws are squed to one side. The pendulum has swung too far. Sometimes a victim IS a victim but they are a victim of themselves. Laws should be based on FACTS not feelings. The Objective not the Subjective. If you look at the rape laws as they stand now and how many Feminists wish them to be. You can see they are based on Subjective Feelings. Not the Objective facts.
        When you can put a Man behind bars because you “feel” Raped that’s not Justice that’s a recipe for chaos.

      • Contrary to what you seem to think and what the media lead society to believe, false accusations of rape hardly ever happen. Women who do falsely accuse people are not doing anyone any favors and should be held responsible for their actions. But chances are if a woman “feels” raped, she has been.

  4. Not going to use “reply” or we will have just a column of letters.

    I disagree still. And you really never addressed some of the questions i have asked. That’s is fine. I never thought i could convince you, just make you consider some things. And the point of a debate is to not turn the other to your way of thinking but convince a 3rd party who has better argument. we seem to be alone for the most part. So that Isn’t really gonna happen*S*.

    Continuing any further would be about “winning” not making convincing argument. So with that said thank you for your time and for letting me speak. If you see me floating round the MRM blogs feel free to join in.

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