Monday, September 28, 2015

A Fun List of Things Women Do to Avoid Rape

I got a request to create a list of the crap we ladies do on a regular basis to prevent sexual assault and the inevitable subsequent victim blaming. It sounded depressing but useful so here's what I've got.

To be clear, I am not saying that any of these methods are actually effective, I'm not saying I do all of these (I do some of them but hello I'd like to have a life), and I'm certainly not saying anyone in the universe should have to do any or all of these. We shouldn't have to do this shit. Men should stop raping.

Off the top of my head:

  1. Never go to a place alone at night. Clubs. Bars. Private parties. To the park. For a walk through the neighborhood. Even going across a parking lot isn't a good idea.
  2. Probably don't go to clubs, bars, and parties alone in the daytime either. Don't jog on trails alone, either. Stick to public places.
  3. If you have to walk alone, especially at night, do not wear headphones. Make sure you're totally aware of your surroundings at all times. Walk quickly, with purpose, head up, making it clear that you can't be surprised.
  4. Probably carry pepper spray or a taser (or even a gun) in your purse that you've practiced with enough to be very familiar with it.
  5. Take a self defense class.
  6. When you're at a bar or club, don't go to the bathroom alone.
  7. Don't take an opened drink or a drink in a glass from a man.
  8. Don't put your drink down ever. If you do have it resting on the bar or something, keep your hand over the opening at all times in case a guy tries to slip something into it while you're not looking.
  9. If your drink tastes funny at all, immediately notify a friend.
  10. Don't get too drunk or high around men ever. If you want to get blasted, probably just do it at home alone like a sad person.
  11. When going on a date with a man you don't know or don't know well, make sure you tell a friend that you're going to call her at a certain time and if you don't, she should call you, and if you don't answer, call 911. 
  12. Make sure multiple people know what you're doing and where you're going on said date.
  13. Never go to a place that he suggests on a date that hasn't been agreed to in advance. Don't go to his home.
  14. When you purchase something on Craigslist and a man is coming to your home to deliver it, or if an electrician/plumber/cable guy is coming, make sure you have a male person there to protect you.
  15. Check through your peephole or a window before answering the door if you're home alone.
  16. Wear protective underwear or drug-detecting nail polish.
  17. Don't wear your hair in a ponytail or similar style because it's easy to grab.
  18. Anti-rape apps.
  19. Don't wear loose clothing because it's easy to grab.
  20. Don't wear tight clothing because it makes men notice you.

Here are the things I forgot about but found on other lists that women made:

  1. "Walk with our keys grasped between our fingers in case we need to use them as a weapon. 
  2. Making sure to have the correct key out and ready before we get to our door
  3. When someone is walking closely behind us on the street, we stop to pretend to make a phone call or otherwise occupy ourselves to allow them to pass in front of us.
  4. Walk past our destination, particularly if it's our home, if someone has been trailing us for a while. 
  5. Scope out potential safe havens if someone appears to be following us.
  6. Switch up our running routes to avoid potential stalkers learning our route. 
  7. Change direction if a car appears to be following us while we're walking on foot.
  8. Run outdoors with only one earbud in to keep the other on our surroundings. 
  9. Pretend to listen to music while walking by men who attempt to engage with us. 
  10. Change the locks when house keys are misplaced.
  11. Take alternative routes to avoid areas we know we are likely to face street harassment. 
  12. Cross the street when we see men who look like they might be drunk.
  13. Late at night, cross to the other side of the street when anyone is walking towards us. 
  14. Avoid eye contact with men trying to get our attention. 
  15. Decide the cost of a taxi is worth it. (Adding: Don't take taxis because the driver could assault you.)
  16. Avoid entering stairwells or elevators occupied by only one other person who is a stranger.
  17. Avoid social situations if a man whose prior advance made us uncomfortable might be there. 
  18. Decide not to open Facebook messages from unknown men, who could see the message has been "Read" and become hostile and harassing. 
  19. When bringing heavy bags and packages into the house or apartment, locking and unlocking the door with every trip. 
  20. Avoid sleeping naked in case of an intruder or on-looker. 
  21. Make sure we're not the only woman on the subway car or bus.
  22. Avoid getting off at our bus or train stop if a man who has been staring exits at the same time. 
  23. Check our mirrors frequently while driving, noting characteristics and license plate numbers of cars trailing close behind. 
  24. Driving in a circle if we sense we might be followed.
  25. Park next to a light post when it's dark outside. 
  26. Wear a hoodie when driving late at night to appear male to other drivers.
  27. Check for an official city medallion number when entering a taxi. 
  28. Run outside in baggy clothes, even if it's hot, to decrease the chances of unsolicited commentary on our anatomy. 
  29. Making sure we have enough cell phone battery life before leaving one location to last until we get to another."
  30. "Always have a way to get home if you decide you need to leave [a date]. It is better not to go somewhere if you will not be able to get back without the person’s help."
  31. "If your drink is out of your sight, even for a few seconds, get a new one. Spiking a drink with a date rape drug can happen quickly.
  32. Don’t share drinks.
  33. Don’t drink from punch bowls or open containers.
  34. Avoid clubs or parties that charge men but let women enter and drink for free.
  35. Know your limits—and let your date know them right from the start.
  36. Be clear about what’s okay for you. Don’t expect your date to read your mind.
  37. Trust your gut. If you feel uncomfortable, leave."
  38. Scope out your campus when you first start going to a college or university to plan the safest routes to and from the dorm.
  39. Don't post about where you're about to go online or use check-in apps like Foursquare. 
  40. If traveling, "before you leave, share your itinerary with someone you trust. Include the address and phone number of your accommodations and transportation information, like flight numbers."
  41. Research ground transportation in the area you're travelling to so you can avoid waiting alone for a bus or something.
  42. "Use tools like Google Maps to scout out the area around your destination. Is there a hospital or police station located near where you’re staying? Check to see if there are local bus stops in the area or a shopping center where you can easily find a cab. If you plan on going out in the evenings, plan your return trip in advance."
  43. "Check out the State Department’s resources for international travelers. Identify the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate and store their contact information."
  44. "If you are going out in a group, plan to arrive together and leave together. If you decide to leave early, let your friends know. If you’re at a party, check in with them during the night to see how they’re doing."
  45. "Ask yourself, 'Would I do this if I was sober?'"
  46. "Be aware of sudden changes in the way your body feels."
  47. "Do some research [before a date]. A quick online search can help you confirm details this person has shared in previous exchanges and may give you a better visual to help you recognize them in person. You can also run a search on the National Sex OffenderPublic Website (NSOPW), a national resource that pulls data from state, territory, and tribal sex offender registries."
  48. "Meet the person at the destination instead of accepting a ride."
  49. "Have cash on hand and a number for a taxi company or ride sharing app."
  50. "You may find it helpful to tell the person you are meeting that you have plans directly following your date."
  51. "Hold off on revealing personal information. Don’t offer up too much personal information or history on the first encounter. Be wary of someone who asks for details that seem too personal, such as questions about your finances or your home address."
  52. "Before you book travel, you can ask the person to video chat to get a better sense of how they communicate in a face-to-face situation. If you don’t know someone in the area you’re visiting, consider bringing a friend along. Plan to stay in your own lodging, like a hotel or a friend’s house, and keep this address to yourself."
  53. "Lock your door and windows when you’re asleep and when you leave the room. If people constantly prop open the main door to the dorm or apartment, tell security or a trusted authority figure."
  54. Don't move into certain neighborhoods or any place that seems "sketchy."
  55. Don't couch-surf or ever stay at a stranger's home. 
  56. Don't wear high heels because they're hard to run in.
  57. Don't talk to men, make eye contact or smile at them if you don't intend to have sex with them. 

I think that's enough for now but I don't think I could even call this a comprehensive list. There's so many things we do, many without even thinking about them, and so many things we've been told to do. So many tips and products we need.

And men complain about having to make sure they have consent before having sex to make sure they're not raping someone because it's sooooo haaaaaard.

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