Thursday, January 7, 2016

Clearly, It Needs to be Stated Clearly

These 10 Rape Prevention Tips may at first elicit a chuckle. But like much humor there's a truth that lingers long after the smile fades.

I'd like to think that in 2016, we don't need to remind people that victims aren't to blame for being assaulted, but judging from a Mayor's response to what the local police chief refers to as "a completely new dimension of crime", we're not there yet. Julie Zeilinger reports that in Cologne, Germany, 80 women were attacked in New Year's Eve by an estimated 100 men who collaborated in a planned gang assault on the women. Cologne's mayor responded not by detailing how the city would address such attacks, but by proposing a Code of Conduct for women to "remain at arm's length from strangers".

For years advocates have tried to reduce sexual violence by educating women about strategies to reduce their vulnerability to being a target of sexual violence (don't leave your drink unattended, don't walk alone late at night); the unintended consequence of these well-intentioned suggestions is that society's first thought is "Why wasn't she being safer when the attack happened?", instead of focusing on why the assailant attacked the victim.

So perhaps it's time to disseminate widely the 10 Rape Prevention Tips that get to the heart of the issue.

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