Contrasting Articles on Women

On facebook today,  i saw two articles, both posted by people at UniteWomen.orgKY, but so different in perspective that i had to look twice to make sure they really posted both of them.

The first one ~ How Not to Get Raped ~ is based on interviews with rapists about what they look for in a victim.   It ostensibly gives us ideas on how to avoid being raped.  It says things like:

1) The first thing men look for in a potential victim is hairstyle. They are most likely to go after a woman with a ponytail, bun, braid or other hairstyle that can easily be grabbed . They are also likely to go after a woman with long hair. Women with short hair are not common targets.
2) The second thing men look for is clothing. They will look for women who’s clothing is easy to remove quickly. Many of them carry scissors around specifically to cut clothing.
3) They also look for women on their cell phone, searching through their purse or doing other activities while walking because they are off guard and can be easily overpowered.

The second article ~A Message to Girls ABout Religious Men Who Fear You ~ is a recognition of the ways many cultures, and particularly patriarchal religious systems, seek to control women.  It says things like:

 they single-mindedly focus their attention on you, your body, your clothes, your hair, your abilities, your physical freedom. When their “manners” and “morals” are not universally applicable, but different for boys and girls, you can be sure that this is why. They seek to teach you, subtly, through small slights and gendered expectations, that you are “different,” weak, unworthy, incapable. The sadness is that, in their perception, if you are none of these things, then they are not strong, worthy and capable. This is not an excuse, but an explanation. It’s why they find infinite “benevolent” ways to undermine and disparage you, all in the name of “God’s word.” When that fails, they resort to violence. All over the world, their anxiety is manifest in a spectrum of actions ranging from mild paternalism, respectful of “proper boundaries,” to deadly enforcement of their rules.

The first article is an excellent example of what the second article is talking about.

I had to laugh at some of the things in the first article.  For example, if rapists go for women who are wearing clothes that are easy to remove {and what does that look like?} then why would they carry scissors for that purpose?

Oh, wait -I get it.  Light clothing would be easier to cut through.  Heavy clothing that covers your whole body might be more difficult.  And layers of clothes would be really good.  I bet if I wore enough layers, and covered myself thoroughly enough, they couldn’t even cut through it all.

Ok, not laughing any more.

Further on in the article, they give a lot of suggestions about being on guard and ready to attack if necessary at all times. I picture myself carrying an umbrella (an actual suggestion) and any time a man walks towards me in a public parking lot, I wield the umbrella like a sword and scream, “Get back, you crazy rapist!!!”

I imagine that most of us recognize the problems inherent in women trying to prevent our own rapes.  Rape happens because we cross paths with a rapist at a time that we’re vulnerable in some way.  That vulnerablity might be age ~ children are particularly vulnerable ~ or place, or lack of sobriety, or all kinds of things.  But the rape happens because we cross paths with a rapist.

You’ve probably seen the lists of advice for men on how to avoid rape.  There are many of them, but I think this blog post ~ 5 Rape Prevention Tips (for guys) ~ is my favorite at the moment.

Also, there are organizations like Mens Work  that help men recognize ways to end violence against women.  This isn’t a men vs women issue.  It’s women and men who support us vs men and women supporting patriarchal cultures that try to control women through intimidation and shame.

Anyhow. I saw the two articles this morning on the same website, and had to say something.  Now I feel better.

{In case my short links don’t work, here’s the sources for the other blogs and the stumbleupon that I reference.}

How Not to Get Raped:

https://www.stumbleupon.com/su/2vEKx0/www.joyfulinspirations.com/rape_deter.htm

Message to Girls about Religious Men Who Fear You

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/soraya-chemaly/message-to-girls-about-re_b_1518849.html#s327348&title=Dr_Ingrid_Mattson

5 Rape Prevention Tips (for guys)

http://community.feministing.com/2011/12/18/5-rape-prevention-tips-for-guys/

Mens Work

http://mensworkinc.com/

About fml221

Holistic life coaching for a life that lets you shine...

Posted on May 27, 2012, in Feminism, Uncategorized, Women and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I feel better because you wrote this too. When I read the two articles, I had the same reaction. Article 1 is an example of what Article 2 is describing. Agree, that you will get raped when your path crosses that of a rapist. It doesn’t matter what you wear, how distracted you are or how big your umbrella is.

    Like

  2. Right!

    But I can remember a time when I wouldn’t have seen any real problem with the first article ~ or I might have felt funny about it, but not known why it bothered me or how to articulate the problem.

    Like

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