The problem is, how does a woman know that she’s about to be raped? Stupid question, I know. I’m sorry for asking it. But, then again, how does she know?
A while ago I read Gabe Suarez’s “rape prevention tips“. It is a wonderful article. It sums up exactly how a woman can prevent being raped. Except it doesn’t. I’m a big advocate of doing exactly what he says: If some guy tries to rape you – shoot him. Don’t have a gun? Then stab him with the knife you carry with you everywhere you go. Don’t carry a knife everywhere you go? Then grow up, be an adult and start doing so. I would think the statistics on just how prevalent rape is should be very effective at proving that the cavalry will not be coming to save you.
The problem is: how does a woman know that she’s about to be raped? Stupid question, I know. I’m sorry for asking it. But, how does she know? When somebody jumps out of the bushes and starts dragging you behind said bush, then it’s pretty clear cut. Shoot him. Until he’s dead/down/running away. But when we consider that the vast, vast, vast majority of rapes are acquaintance rapes, we realise that it isn’t some masked man dragging you off behind a bush. It’s someone that you’ve known for years. You know his wife and kids and have been alone with him many times. Still think that a woman must shoot him or stab him? I agree, they should. But how do you know that he’s going to rape you? Right now he’s just put his hand on your knee, like a girlfriend might do. Nothing serious, so you let it slide. And then his hand moves up a couple inches so you push it off. And he says to relax, sorry, it was an accident, sheesh, do you always over-react like this? You really need to unwind before you become one of those uptight chicks. So you feel embarrassed at over-reacting. And so you leave his hand there when he puts it back later. Should she stab him now? What if she’s wrong? And if she’s right, how does she prove to the cops that his hand on her knee was leading towards rape. Especially when he might not know that that’s what he’s going to do (go read Marc MacYoung’s section on “the accidentally on purpose rape setup” – like when a recovering alcoholic manages to accidentally find himself in a bar)
Don’t forget – a lifetime of assholes
Remember, you’ve had a lifetime of guys hitting on you in really inappropriate ways. This isn’t new. So when he just leans in and tries to kiss you, it isn’t the first guy you’ve had to push off. Nothing new here. But then he doesn’t push off so easy. But it’s still nothing really far out of the ordinary. You had guys just up and kiss you before, this one is just a little harder to push off. But then he gropes you. And now you’re trying to push his hand off of you and then there’s the whole he’s kissing you thing. Do you stab him now? And when he tells the cops that he thought you wanted him to, what do you say? That it’s OK to stab someone who grabbed you? Does that justify lethal force? (and don’t give me that “I can cut him a little bit” bullshit, go ask a cop or prosecutor about that). And where exactly amongst the “I don’t like this, it’s really shitty and doesn’t feel good” and “get your hand away from my crotch”, and “stop kissing me you slob” and “you taste like cigarettes and shitty whiskey” and “why do they never get it?” is a woman supposed to think that, “Hey, my mind isn’t racing a million miles a second at all, I have complete clarity on everything right now, especially his intentions (no confusion here). I know for a fact that he’s going to go even further, and that any other strategies I might come up with are going to fail, so I better pull that 2 inch folder from the bottom of my handbag and stab him!”?
At what point is she supposed to realise that he’s not going to stop? We all know the pre-attack indicators for someone throwing a punch. But what about a guy who isn’t even consciously aware that he set himself up to rape a co-worker. What are the pre-attack indicators for that? (Hint: these indicators do exist)
Going too far
When it starts going too far and actually goes outside of “another day, another asshole” it’s more like something really uncomfortable, (that you’ve experienced before to some degree) just getting worse. It’s a frog in a pot. One little thing that you don’t like (attempted kiss, hand somewhere almost uncomfortable) that gradually, or quickly, gets worse. Watch this video about a girl who went walking with her cousin in a park (he was showing her a “good hiding place“ for the game of hide-and-seek they were playing) and he walked her to the bathrooms and started kissing her and going further and further. A women at this point is likely to be reacting in some way, but always a step behind the guy’s actions. He’s already got her isolated and she’s still thinking this is a friend. He’s getting forceful and she’ll still trying to see if pushing him away works. He’s got some of her clothes off and his hand over her mouth and she’s starting to cry or freeze and is still trying to process what’s happening because she either has no exposure to violence, or possibly so much that she’s learned to just shut down at times like these. He’s thinking asocial, and she’s trying to come up with a social response that will work. He’s acting, and she’s always a step behind (reacting).
Gay guys hitting on you
Any guys here think that they’d react different? Ever had a gay guy hit on you, smile at you? Did you stab him? What if he offers you a drink? Touches your hand? Grabs your ass? At what point do you shoot him? For grabbing your ass? Get real. You’d push his hand off and swear at him. And if he then tried to kiss you, you try pushing him off again or maybe try to punch him (more social responses – better hope he’s not an asocial predator). And now you’re behind in the OODA loop race – ACTION BEATS REACTION because you also don’t know where to draw a line, because, admit it, you’ve also never thought it through. Just like the woman you’re dismissing. You would also only end up trying to desperately draw your weapon very far (too far) down the road. So don’t go offering glib advice like “just shoot him.” (Hint: the use of “just” is dismissive and ignores the myriad of complexities – and women know that and being tuning you out when you say stuff like this).
What women (and men) need is a set of standards, and a pre-planned course of action. You’ve likely known this man for years, confusion will be natural (he’ll probably count on it), so having a prepared plan made when you were calm is essential. Just like getting off the X is a trained response (mostly for us guys), we need one for interpersonal violence (women especially). The mugger on the street drawing a weapon at you is clear-cut. Drunken uncle Albert starting to mouth off and push you is not (besides, aunt Mary will be pissed if you shoot Albert). Where, between letting him put his hand on your knee and him dragging your clothes off, do you draw the line? Easy. Before any of that. The reason why it’s so difficult to draw the line between these two points during the assault process is that you’ve already agreed to let him get away with something that makes you uncomfortable. Like the parable of the woman who wouldn’t sleep with the guy for $50, but would for $5 000 000, but then was offered $50 again and said “What do you think I am, a common prostitute?” Well, by letting him touch your leg, or buy you a drink when you’ve said “No.”, you’ve agreed to the principle of letting him get away with it, now you’re just arguing the price.
Lines in the sand
Your line in the sand must be the first time he ignores a “No.” If you say “No.” and he does it anyway, that’s the test. That’s the interview stage of the 5 stages of crime. He’s checking (possibly subconsciously) to see if you will let him get away with ignoring a “No.” If you let him get away with it (and it very much is YOU letting him) then he knows he can pull a boiling-the-frog-in-a-pot with you, he just needs to fine-tune how fast he heats it up. So he gets one chance to ignore a “No.”, if he gets you that drink anyway; puts his hand on your back after you’ve brushed it off. Anything. Then he’s painted a big red bullseye on his forehead that you can’t afford to let yourself forget about. Not once. Oh, but you just want to relax, unwind, forget about your week for a change. Tough shit. You’re an adult, so you suck it up and act like one. You don’t get to slack off and ignore that he thinks it’s OK to override your wishes. Because one day you may wish him to stop hurting you.
Want to know an added benefit of only giving one chance to ignore a “NO.”? Pick-up artist assholes purposefully use the tactic of ignoring “No.” for very similar reasons to why predators do it. The use it get you to do things you may not want to do (give phone number; accept that drink; go somewhere alone). So not allowing anyone to ignore your “No.” helps you avoid/get rid of PUAs (pick-up artists).
11 tips for avoiding, preventing and escaping stranger & acquaintance rape
So my additions for Suarez’s “7 tips to prevent rape” (i.e. “escape from stranger rape):
1 – Carry a fucking weapon. Please. Take your politically correct, bleeding heart liberal crap and shove it. One day a stranger may just jump out of the bushes, statistics or not. The cavalry will not save you. The cavalry doesn’t even know you exist. Oh, and pepper spray and stun guns do not count.
2 – Everybody gets one chance to ignore a “No.”. Only one.
3 – Anybody who has ignored a “No.” does not EVER get to be alone with you. You will mentally commit (now) to leaving the best party of your life; to getting into a fight with a friend/boyfriend/husband/boss; buying a brand new drink when you already have one that you didn’t hold in your hand the entire time; to doing something embarrassing (you should probably practise this – seriously, go fill up a trolley and leave it at the teller and walk out). You do not care. They do not know that this guy thinks his desires trump your’s. Or that he can’t even see past his desires to even register that you might have your own desires (like NOT having sex with him).
4 – If the ignored “No.” happens after you’re alone together then you will leave (you can still be alone even with people nearby – at a loud party there’s the bathroom, a backseat of a car, an “off-limits” room). If he puts his arm around your shoulders, you shrug it off and he learns that you said “No.”, then great. But he does anything after that shrug-off, even buying you a drink you didn’t ask for (there are some creative ways to test if a woman will let you get away with ignoring what she wants, especially one’s that don’t actually involve yes/no situations – like getting you to stay by convincing all your friends to hang around for one more song). You. Will. Leave. Promise yourself now, and not a New Year’s resolution promise.
5 – If he’s had his one chance to learn “No.” and he does anything, you leave (preferably the whole venue. With friends). If he tries to ignore a second “No.”: steps in front of you; grabs you wrist “just to talk to you”. Violence is called for. Even if it’s violently calling for your friends. But violence it must be.
6 – Learn to cry. That way if you feel like you’d be embarrassed by calling your friends over when you’re trying to get away, you just cry and say that he really freaked you out. Then your friends will be supportive and make “Oh shame” and “What an asshole” noises.
7 – Never slap. Slapping hurts. But that’s all it does. This guy is drunk enough that he can’t tell the difference between you trying to push him off and you kissing him back and you want to hurt him just enough to piss him off? Slapping is ineffective violence. It will piss people off and add ferocity to whatever they were doing. Elbowing him in the throat; breaking his jaw; rupturing an ear drum; busting his knee; spinning him (if he’s drunk) could buy you enough time to escape; something creative that causes incapacitation – that’s what is called for. If you feel that hitting him will help, then make it effective. A broken glass of vodka in the top of the thigh could have been a drunken accident after you walked away.
8 – Get out of your comfort zone in unpleasant ways. Go slaughter an animal. Go lift heavy weights. Do something scary. Take a monthly cold shower to get used to shock (not slowly cooled down showers). Seriously, if you can’t even make yourself take a cold shower how are you ever going to prevail in fight for your life when you might have a broken arm, lost a lot of blood and still you have to fight for yourself or your family. That voice talking you out of jumping into the cold shower is the same voice that will tell you that maybe he’s going to catch on to you pushing him away. That’s the same voice that will tell you that somebody will walk in soon and stop what’s happening. That plenty of people saw you getting shoved into the car and have called the cops with the license plate number. That’s the voice that will give you little bits of hope, because it’s easier to believe these hopes than face the uncomfortable truth. That voice just wants to put off the uncomfortable thoughts for as long as possible. And when that voice stops you from acting for so long that you get raped, it’ll just try make your mind retreat so that it doesn’t seem so bad. Watch how easily that voice stops you from taking cold showers. Even if you take them you’ll stop after a few months. You’ll find an excuse. At least, the voice will.
9 – Banish that voice and jump in the cold shower. Only stop doing this when you feel that it’s OK to stop being safe and to let someone take you from your family. It sucks and you don’t want to do it? That’s the point. You won’t want to force your mind to realise what’s happening and stick a sharpened piece of metal into your (ex) friend’s neck. Re-read point 8.
11 – All men who train women, or want to offer glib advice on staying safe (or in any way use the words “it’s simple, you just…” should read this article, or watch this CK Lewis skit to gain some insight into the female perspective.