For example, most people seem to express relief and concern when passing along the chain letter "Through A Rapists' Eyes", for they finally have something that seems concrete and relatively easy to follow. Unfortunately, it's largely comprised of rape myths (eg. - there's no proven correlation between clothing or hairstyles and who rapists tend to target), and self-defense tips based on stranger-in-the-alley tropes that may or may not serve any use should someone be targeted.
Much of the safety advice that is given out is aimed at potential victims (quite often young women), that seems solid and constructive, but that largely ignores the social and societal context in which the violence happens, and also fails to take into consideration the practical realities of women's lives.
Fortunately, there are steps that we can start working on right now, today, to help reduce the instances of sexual violence.
We can make sure that we always get enthusiastic consent from our partner(s), that we respect their boundaries, and that we take full responsibility for our actions with/ against others. Rape is not just an act committed by strange, mentally-ill men against women. We all need to ensure we ourselves do not commit any form of sexual violence, regardless of our gender expression, of how long we've been with our partner, whether we've had sexual relations with them before, whether we mean it "as a joke", whether we've had a bad day and are looking for a pick-me-up, regardless of how turned on or sexy we're feeling. It is all of our responsibility to ensure we do not commit acts of sexual violence.
We can join in public protests and events that give support and solidarity to survivors and let perpetrators know the community is ready to have them held accountable:
- Hollaback! I've got your back!
- The Red Flag Campaign
- Making a Difference Workshop - PPT
- University of Arizona - Sexual Assault Bystander Prevention
- Where Do You Stand?
- News article: "Teens who assaulted 16-year-old thought it would be 'funny'"
- Daniel Tosh and the reason rape jokes aren't just jokes
- Who hears you, when you speak about rape?
- The (Nonexistent) Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Consequences of Enthusiastic Consent
- Using Enthusiastic Consent to Fight Rape Culture
- Sexy Time: Enthusiastic Consent
- News article: "Penn State tantrum"
- News article: "Alleged gang rape of girl, 11, ignites firestorm in Texas community"
- News article: "Cheerleader Has To Pay $45,000 To The School That Kicked Her Off The Squad For Refusing To Cheer For Her Rapist"
- News article: "Rape victim 'inviting,' so no jail"
- News article: "The rape question"
- News article: "British Judges Free Child Rapists, Say 12-Year-Old Girls “Wanted” Sex"
- Another post about rape
- The art of "no".
- The art of "no", continued: Saying no when you've already said yes.
These might not have the same emotional impact of telling women to always carry handguns or mace, and some of them deal with rape after-the-fact. Sexual violence is an insidious crime that can be committed a million different ways by a million different sorts of perpetrators, which is why there's no neat and tidy cure-all for it. However, these are all very important steps I hope everyone will try to endeavour to take part in, because they can make a real, tangible, and immediate difference in people's lives.
If there are any other tips you'd like to pass on, please leave them in the comments and I'll add them.