Like most human beings with xx sex chromosomes, getting raped is my worst fear like, ever. The pretend kind with someone pretty can be fun but the IRL kind scares the shit out of me and haunts me like the ghost of Ted Bundy every time I walk through the Bow council estate to get home at night.
The worst thing about being raped is that, while it’s happening, there’s pretty much nothing you can do about it. Essentially, rape is more about the power than it is the sex, so the rapist is gonna love a bit of a fight because he’ll probably be able to knock you out with one backhand, and he’s probably going to love a bit of begging and a few tears because that’s proof that’s he’s having an effect on your body AND your mind, and that’s gonna make him feel like the fucking bomb. So, in my naive eyes that reside in my un-raped body (I’m talking the legit kind here), what I suggest you do is either try to slip away from his rapey meat hooks or pretend to be possessed and freak him out with your stare and recital of the names of the six demons inside you, a la Emily Rose. But what the fuck do I know?
The University of Colorado seems to have a different view to my own and recently published ten tips to their Public Safety website, designed to help students escape rape if the opportunity ever arises. However streetwise this university may sound, the reality is, they are MESSED UP. In fact they appear to be completely deluded in how rape works and seem to have been heavily influenced by that scene in Grease… You know the one when Sandy diligently escapes Danny’s wandering hands in the drive-through, but that I can forgive because I totally appreciate that quite a few of us base our sexual encounters on those we’ve seen in Hollywood blockbusters.
Anyway, here are some of their tips to escaping having one-put-through-you unwillingly and why Yvonne Traynor, the Chief Executive at Rape Crisis in South London, and I think they’re bullshit.
1. Be realistic about your ability to protect yourself
The university starts off by telling the victim to remember that they are neither of the Charmed Ones and are limited to non-supernatural movements such as running and punching. Ok, I totally realise that I’m being super cynical and that the university is only advising their students not to expect miracles to happen, but does it need really to be said? No, is the answer to that, because knowing our own ability to protect ourselves is one of those things we don’t need to consciously remind ourselves of and it’s definitely not a rape instinct.
2. Your instinct may be to scream, go ahead! It may startle your attacker and give you an opportunity to run away
Unlike a person’s thought process of deciding on their own physical abilities, screaming IS an instinct most victims of rape have and they’re not going to hold back or go ahead with this just because of what the University of Colorado has told them to do, because their brain isn’t even gonna give them a chance. They go on to explain why this may work — “It may startle your attacker” — but it’s probably NOT going to startle your attacker because it’s definitely what he’s expecting you to do, DUH. I mean, that’s JUST like saying, “If your model boyfriend gets injured and taken away on a stretcher, your instinct may be to pose for the photos, go ahead!”
3. Kick off your shoes if you have time and can’t run in them
I’ve heard my mate tell her rape story at least 10 times, but never have I heard her talk of a duration of time where she’s ‘had it’ to do as she pleased. i.e. take off her shoes and place them in her bag; analyse the rapist’s body for any significant marks; play Nirvana’s “Rape Me” through her iPhone so she could at least TRY to enjoy what was to come. But despite this, she still took off her heels because she COULDN’T run in them and that WAS going to slow her down, but she didn’t need the concept of ‘having time’ to justify doing that.
6. Tell your attacker that you have a disease or are menstruating
Do you know what? Rapists are fucked up and don’t give a shit for their victim’s health or well-being. In fact, they might even enjoy seeing you bleed, no matter where it’s coming from so they’re going to be pretty pissed off and disappointed when they realise that you lied. When it comes to the whole “Don’t fuck me, I’ve got AIDs” thing they’re probably not even going to believe you. I mean, that’s SUCH a cliche.
7. Vomiting or urinating may also convince the attacker to leave you alone
I, personally, have not been sick since I was about seven years old — it’s almost as if my body will not allow it. I don’t really get ill and I’ve never even been sick from too much drink or too many drugs and that’s not because I’m a pussy. I mean, I got so fucked I faceplanted the floor from eight feet up in Ayia Napa last summer while singing “Wonderwall” on the bar at a silent disco and had to be taken away in an ambulance to have my face stitched up, but even THEN I wasn’t sick so how the fuck am I supposed to puke on command? Even my bulimic housemate wasn’t too sure about this one because people freeze and freak out when they’re faced with these fucked up situations. They don’t weigh up the situation and act logically, ffs.
8. Yelling, hitting or biting may give you a chance to escape, do it!
Obviously yelling is a good suggestion because it attracts outside attention in the same way I imagine Ben Howard attracts a heartbroken manatee, and biting is also a good one because if you bite his dick off he’s never going to be able to put it in anyone. Plus, the shock of being hit or bitten might force his reflexes to lose grip on you. Now, I would put the University of Colorado in the snap cup for this except, once again, this is a TOTALLY unnecessary “tip”.
My overall feeling about these tips is, WTF? It seems the best advice they can give is totally non-comittal, blurred and pointless. Whoever wrote this has clearly never been a victim of rape, neither have they had any training or passing of information on the topic. It’s simply a list compiled of 10 sentences, all dancing around the common judgement of escaping rape.
Yvonne Traynor summed up the main problem with this advice and gave me an example of what she thinks should have been published in replace of this:
“Prescribed defence moves are rarely effective. If women were able to do any of these actions mentioned on the list, they would be doing them already. When the vast majority of woman are attacked they freeze so by telling someone what to do if they are attacked and makes the woman feel guilty and responsible for being raped when she is unable to carry out the instructions because of her autonomous nervous system. My instinctual thoughts are why are they targeting women and not producing a hard-hitting advertising campaign aimed at rapists?
I.e.: 1. Never creep into a woman’s home through an unlocked door or window or spring out at her from between parked cars or rape her.
2. 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.
3. Honesty is the best policy. If you have every intention of having sex with the woman you’re with, regardless of how she feels about it, tell her that there is every chance that you will rape her. If you don’t communicate your intentions, she may take it as a sign that you do not plan to rape her and inadvertently feel safe.”
My thoughts exactly. Slash not.