How Not to Get Raped

While reviewing the medical records of a client who was the victim of a sexual assault, I came across a list of tips provided to her by the hospital where she went to be examined after the assault.

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There is so much advice out there for women on avoiding becoming a victim of sexual assault. And although it’s well-intentioned, if you followed it all, you would never be able to go anywhere or do anything.

Let’s look at this advice:

  • DO Take a self-defense course, but DON’T try to fight off your attacker if they have a weapon
  • DON’T let people enter your house if you do not know them, but DO have a home security system installed (try to make friends with the installer I guess, so when he comes in your house, you know him)
  • Park in a well-lit and busy area and plan your driving routes so that you travel on a well-lit and frequently used streets (never work late or shop late or go outside of a city at night)
  • Protect the keys to your car, DO NOT lend them out, but DO have your car serviced regularly and have an alarm system installed (how exactly?)
  • DO NOT go into isolated areas alone, including OPEN GARAGES, EMPTY BUILDINGS, or PUBLIC LAUNDRY ROOMS (again, no working late, no entering part of your own home unless the door is shut, and you better get your own washer/dryer or else you’re going to need to implement a buddy system to clean your clothes)
  • DO NOT walk or jog alone, especially when it is dark (honestly, why are you going anywhere or alone or do anything at night? IT’S TOO DANGEROUS)
  • If your car breaks down, DO call the police for help, but if the police arrive in an unmarked car DO NOT roll your window down or get out the car.
  • DO NOT drink too much alcohol, in fact DO NOT drink ANYTHING, there might be a DATE RAPE DRUG in there!!!!

Of course, we all need to take reasonable precautions for our own safety. We do not live in a utopia where doors can be left unlocked and women can walk naked down the street and no one is ever robbed or molested. But “advice” like this puts an unreasonable burden on women. It requires us to put our fear of being assaulted over just about every other aspect in life and makes us responsible when we don’t do every possible thing to avoid being attacked, (They give us a list? Why couldn’t we just do the things on the list? How hard is that?) when the burden should be on society educate everyone about consent and on our institutions to keep us safe.

If you are attacked, it is not fault. Not if you accidentally took a wrong turn. Not if your gas tank dips below half full. Not if you forget your pepper spray at home or in the car, which you, of course, parked in well lit area.

If you have been sexually assaulted, you may be able to pursue civil action against the assailant or the owner of the property where the assault occurred. Contact us at 850.224.3310 to learn more.