To Avoid Rape, "Try not to show fear."

Comments

1
I always read these tips as advice to people who suddenly find themselves fearful of their surroundings.

"If you're afraid, here are some proactive steps you can take to help manage your fear."

2
I have some advice for men who are thinking about perhaps raping somebody: DON'T FUCKING RAPE PEOPLE.
3
I heard rapists' eyes can only detect movement, much like Spielberg's T-Rex. The best advice is to simply stand still or freeze in place to confuse a wouldbe attacker.
4
They're just giving advice Anna, you don't have to follow it if you don't want to.

And of course, the "tips" to rapists to try not to rape people is funny and all, but you know it's not serious. Rapists aren't going to stop simply because they're asked, as you know perfectly well.

Yes, the culture needs to change. I completely agree. But in the meantime, I think it's nice to provide advice to people who want it.
5
Yeah, lets sit around and talk about things instead of counseling potential victims on how to not be victims. That sounds like a wonderful idea. Maybe this serial attacker just needs a friend. Maybe his mom didn't love him enough. No point in helping women protect themselves, Anna Minard just solved the problem! WOOOHOO!!!
6
But don't you dare suggest installing surveillance cameras in these high-traffic, high-crime areas because FREEDOM.
7
All of that advice sounds perfectly reasonable, for men and women. Be aware of your surroundings, especially in a city, at night, or in unfamiliar areas. I try to do that all the time, and I'm a guy. What's the big deal? I suppose you could walk around a major city in a state of blissful ignorance and self-absorption. That's another way you could go.
8
You know...we can talk about the whys and the prevention of sexual assaulters all we want, but you also have to protect yourself, especially if there is a known predator out on the streets.

I mean, seriously, if there is an active predator out on the streets, does talking about the cultural reasons the guy may be self-justified in being a predator help protect the next victim? No.

When I worked closing shifts at a movie theater, men and women got treated with THE EXACT SAME ADVICE. Keep your heads up, walk confidently, leave in pairs, have your car keys in hand, be ready to mace a motherfucker if you have to. It was because other theaters have had their employees be mugged since the employees don't leave until well after the last movie gets out.

Is sexual assault the same as mugging? No. It's far worse.

Do most of us take sexual assault as a given, much like mugging? Probably. We know there are assholes out there. We can shun them all we want, but predators will still exist.
9
Figures the rapist reads Slog.
10
This is not an either/or proposition, Anna. You can simultaneously give women tips to protect themselves and also work to "change the culture" (whatever that means). I've never understood this side of feminist thought on rape; that acknowledging its existence and working to minimize the damage is somehow the enemy, and practical, short-term actions designed to keep people safe is "not helping women."
11
It's "common sense" advice that isn't necessarily practical, and of course it targets women as potential rape victims. But otherwise, it's hardly any different than the advice the UWPD sends out whenever there's a report of a crime in the U-District. Even if there's a report of two or more people being threatened who cooperate and hand over their stuff and aren't hurt, they always say to be aware of your surroundings, walk in groups, and comply. It's like spambot advice.

And at least when they say to wear appropriate clothing, they're not slut-shaming.
12
Yeah, this is pretty much SOP for big city living, men or women. AKA don't get mugged (or worse, sadly) advice.
13
My goodness, Anna is clueless about the way the actual, physical world works. This posi was just a whine fest.
14

So you don't want drones or webcams which could possibly scare off the pervs, but you do want to complain about the crimes they might prevent. Which is it SLOG...my head is spinning.
15
"That is not helping women and, obviously, it is not ending rape."

Well, not women or rape in general. But given the specific predator's MO, such measures could very well prevent a rape, which certainly would help that specific woman. I'd think you'd be behind that.

Or you could just stand by doing nothing as a few more women are sexually assaulted as sacrificial lambs in the name of fighting rape culture. I'm sure they'll understand.
16
With all due respect, the knee jerk outrage is also tiresome. At this moment, there is a known predator in the city and while it would be great if he could just not rape people he exists. Pretending he doesn't is silly.

And he's praying on a particular set of people. Yes, women should be free to jog alone, wear anything they want, etc. But until this criminal is caught, a little behavior modification isn't the patriarchal norms holding women down. It's prudence. Try not to be exactly the person this criminal is looking for. Gasp, horror, demeaning!

If there was a rash of muggings targeting middle aged slightly overweight men alone at night I would probably wouldn't walk up to Prost by myself at night until they catch him.
17
If the advice was the taking the place of police work, that would be bad. The advice itself is good. Criminals prefer timid, frightened targets. They actively seek out people who look down, and who avoid eye contact.
18
As uncomfortable as it is, we are all vulnerable to attack under certain circumstances. I, a male, avoid being in isolated places, especially at night. Do I resent it? No. There are bad guys out there and there always will be. Not a block from here a man was walking home from the store and an assailant chopped his head in half with an axe.
19
I fail to see how these tips are in the least bit helpful when they have been pounded into every woman's head since she was born.
20
Only 15% of rapes are committed by someone the victim doesn't know and only a subset of those are these kind of street abductions. Frankly of all the kinds of rape women have to worry about, these kinds are the rarest.

@10 The issue is not that women don't want to be safe, it is assuming they do not already know this shit.

Every women I have ever known knows about rape and all these 'tips' on how to prevent it. None of them need to be told this shit as though it something novel and a number of them are completely ridiculous things that essentially require a woman to base her life around the threat of rape.

So,like with everything else in life, there comes a point where people just decide to live their fucking lives instead of obsessing about safety all the time. But then, of course, when something happens people now feel entitled to judge the victims behavior because unlike men, women don't get admiration for taking risk, but condemnation and blame.
21
I don't see you providing any solutions here, only your trademark ranting and whining. So honestly, your article is far worse than the advice SPD offers. Couldn't you have contacted a rape treatment counselor to come up with some concrete advice rather than spew your hipster moaning of "Oh, the irony!" ?
22
Why are there no tips on the best way to shoot a potential attacker? Should I fire a warning shot? Or just go straight for the kill. Why do all these tips tell me to be prey and run away? Seems that if we don't want to talk about ways to teach folks it's not ok to be a sexual predator, then we should invoke our 2nd Amendment rights and just openly carry weapons of deterrence.

FYI - These tips do not protect anyone. At all. You run, they will catch you.
23
I agree with the comments that this is a well intentioned advice from the PD with some good and even common sense ideas, however I also totally sympathize with Anna's reaction. I mean this is basically asking women to assume a combat readiness whenever they are out for a stroll or jog in their neighborhood. Running errands shouldn't require the same preparedness as a foot patrol in Falluja. How maddening is that?
24
Any long time street cop can tell you that rapists are predators that behave just like predators do in the animal world. They look for the easiest kills. People who are least likely to put up a fight.

On another note, ah the liberal dilemma. We are pro feminism and pro woman power. Yet we hate guns. But they can certainly stop a rape in the hands of a trained woman, who is aware of her surroundings and ready and able to use the gun the moment the attack starts.
25
You know, most of that advice (except WTF: payphones?! Really?) is just the kind of stuff anyone, male or female, needs to keep in mind when walking around in the city, and especially in sketchier areas.

As a guy, if I'm walking around, say, the southern end of downtown at 9pm on a Monday night, my earbuds are out, I'm paying attention to people around me and my surroundings, I'm walking with purpose, yadda yadda. This is different from how I would act if I was walking down Broadway a noon on Saturday.

I don't think advice that tells ANYBODY how to comport themselves when walking around potentially unsafe parts of a city amounts to "culture of fear" stuff or "blaming the victim".
26
I suspect that if you're walking around North Seattle at night and get attacked, you'll be a little less interested in "why this happens and what, systemically, we might be able to do to change the culture that encourages that behavior" and a little more interested in escaping, calling 911, and providing an accurate location of the attack and description of the attacker.

But please, continue with your bluster.
27
@24 Attempting to use a gun the moment the attack starts sounds like a great way to get your gun taken from you.

I'm pretty sure you want to brandish the gun before the attack starts, before the attacker is within several feet of you.
28
These are very similar to the tips they give to avoid being attacked by bears in the wilderness.

But I do fail to see how posting these tips on a website hurts anyone or makes anything worse. While one would not know it reading these comments, course that teach things like this and self-defense measures are among the courses most requested and taken by women, according to several rape prevention groups. So it appears most women do not feel the tips are worthless or harmful.

Granted, if this was the only thing society or police did to stop rape, it would be another story.
29
Just wondering -- when a mugging happens, do the police issue special advice about staying aware of your surroundings and all that? Because I could be wrong, but it doesn't seem that they do.
30
Give me a break. I read all the same feminist blogs you do, and think about the issues you raise all the time. The tips you posted here were obviously written with awareness of those issues (rape culture, culture of fear, etc) and I think they succeed in using non-gendered language. Of course the primary conversation should be about how to stop rapists from raping - and you know SPD is trying to catch the rapist, right? - but it is counterproductive to shut down the conversation any time someone tries, even respectfully and with full awareness of the underlying social issues, to suggest ways for people to stay saferish on the street. If the tips hadn't been written in such a way that suggests the author thought through these issues carefully, I'd be right there with you. But they were, and your reaction makes us feminists look bad. Which we don't really need. Be more thoughtful next time; this stuff is important.
31
@12

Exactly. Seattle, which is basically a giant suburb or college town, is laughable as a "big city" though. People here are so sheltered.
32
Seems to me that all these women were the type to put up a fight (since they actually did). And yet, they were targeted anyway. Imagine that.

"I mean this is basically asking women to assume a combat readiness whenever they are out for a stroll or jog in their neighborhood. Running errands shouldn't require the same preparedness as a foot patrol in Falluja. How maddening is that?"

Seconded.
33
So, teaching women how to protect themselves from crime is sexist? And women's safety should depend entirely on society's ability to educate would-be rapists not to rape? Maybe a PSA campaign - "Remember boys, raping is bad, mmm-kay."

Alrightee then.
34
I have a hunch that all those people (male and female) who one sees, at night, in not-especially-safe zones of Seattle, with earbuds in, hoods up, texting with both hands on their phones... may not have had "staying aware of their surroundings" "pounded into their heads". Or maybe it fell out or something.
35
@24 I know a lot of liberals and very few 'hate guns'. I do know a lot of conservatives though that seem to think a gun is some kind of magic wand. That just having one will make you safe with no risk to yourself or others.

A gun is a tool and one that requires a fair bit of training and skill to use correctly especially in a stressful and scary situation. It requires that you always be aware of where it is and who has access to it. It means that you better be damn sure the person you are about to shoot is really a threat, but at the same time that you have no hesitation about pulling the trigger when you need to.

I have zero problem with women or anyone carrying a gun, I just want them well trained.
36
@33 Did you click on any of the links in this post. Let's take just one incident as an example.

She had noticed a man watching her as she left the bar. She then noticed that the same man appeared to be following her from a distance.

Well seems she was pretty aware of her surroundings.
She began to pick up her pace to a slow jog as she made her way along the sidewalk in the 4700 block of Thackeray Avenue NE.

So she knew the street and block and had comfortable shoes to jog in.
She turned to see where the suspect was and within seconds was tackled from behind and knocked to the ground.

Seems she was probably not texting, or listening to music or had her eyes averted. He left her alone because she punched and kicked, which is not being offered as a protip.

So how are the SPD tips teaching a woman to protect herself?
37
I already do all of this stuff, and it sucks (yay rape memories!). Living with constant anxiety and fear takes a LOT of energy that I could spend, oh, I don't know... being happy? I've been followed frequently, and I have pepper spray, I constantly look behind/around me while walking... and I am constantly freaked out when a dude is walking in my blind spot to the point that I will stop abruptly and let them pass me so I can stop having a panic attack.

Being aware of your surroundings and people's descriptions are not "self defense". They are not going to stop anybody. If you want self defense I hope you have money to spend on martial arts/self-defense classes and/or a gun.
38
@29 I can't speak for the SPD, but they definitely do in the San Francisco area public transportation systems (BART, MUNI).
39
I should be able to walk, or ride my bike through any neighborhood in Baltimore, (HBO's "The Wire" is an accurate portrayal of this city.) but I give some areas a wide birth. I walk with an aggressive gait, and look everyone in the eye. I look in every doorway, and ally that I pass. I stay in well lit areas. I don't carry my expensive electronics exposed for everyone to see.

There should be no rapes, murders, or any other crimes. Society should address the reasons for these problems, but meanwhile I don't want to be maimed or killed now. It's not a crime victim's fault that it happened to him or her, but crimes still happen. A crime free society isn't going materialize anytime soon. I am proactive in avoiding being a victim to the best of my ability.
40
Stop being so war-ey! And stop being so murder-er-ey!

Oh. And while you're at it... stop being theft-ey! Man. I feel so empowered now.

This turing the word "rape" into a cutesy outrage adverb must very cleansing but it's fucking stupid. But hey! It get's you page views!

Look. This idea that we need to teach young men how to better understand consent and deal with their frustrations is an honest and good one. And I wish we taught young men better respect for women and sexuality in general at a young age - like as mandatory classes from grade six on up. All that would impact an already greatly reduced sexual assault rate for sure - since most assaults occur between people who know each other.

But the attacks in Greenlake probably have very little to do with that type of common assault.

These attacks are much rarer stranger attacks. And the rapist is clearly deranged and dangerous and has already decided humiliating and victimizing women gets him off. Eventually this guy will be caught. Clearly he is being very incautious and none too bright.

The list of precautions the police issued are boilerplate standard how to stay safer in an area blighted by any unpredictable crime. They are doing "something" which is exactly what the public demands of them. What the fuck do you want the to do?

Cienna your outrage here is terribly misplaced and hyperbolic. Basically the post is thoughless bullshit.

41
Whatever may be said for "changing the culture that encourages that behavior", it still seems pretty unrealistic to declare fixing that the Seattle PD's job.
42
@40 Thank you. Beautifully put.
43
I think it's great advice in the sense one is not ALWAYS in these kinds of situations. But good to bear in mind should you find yourself in one.

I was downtown once just coming out of the bus tunnel and some girl asked me for a smoke. I said I didn't have any. Then her bro started following me around saying "yeah you do motherfucker" and getting all into my "grill" and wouldn't leave me alone. Finally I get to another block and I'm like "there's a cigarette store right across the street bro. If you need one go get one." He left me alone because I was passive and yet also forceful. I didn't know whether to flee or fight. I got out of it by using my voice.
44
This place has a pretty good rape prevention class
http://www.westcoastarmory.com/events/ev…

45
I think most women in Seattle already have that neutral face thing down to a science.
46
Politics and rape aside, you really should know where you are and what direction you're facing. If for nothing more than calling a cab or 911 if an accident happens in front of you. It's not hard, yet I'm amazed at how many people can not for the life of them give you an accurate location when pressed to do so. Try it when you're out and about. Where are you? What street? What side? What cross street? 911 operators have a real problem with people who just don't know where they are.
47
@44

Five Large, you're a genius. Children shot? Sell some guns. Cha-CHING! Rape? Guns! Cha-CHING!

Where others see unconscionable horror, Five Large sees a market.
48
Seriously Anna, I suggest taking the Women Only firearm class at West Coast Armory, It is one of the top ranges in the country, and is ran by a woman. They even have a convenient location right off the 90, you barely even have to go in to Bellevue. It would make a good story for your little paper and you might even learn something.
http://www.westcoastarmory.com/events/ev…
49
The instructions on using your own height to estimate theirs, and examining the person from the head down seems a lot less like how-to-protect-yourself and a lot more like how-to-id-someone-for-a-later-lineup.

I also suspect that the "police are blaming victims" piece is all a clever ploy, stirring up people so they remember there is a rapist in Greenlake/Northgate, so they will act with a bit of extra caution...
50
@47
I guess you prefer to have a woman overpowered and her dignity destroyed.
51
People around here are so afraid to call 911 when a real crime is happening or about to happen. The cops don't magically know where every crime is and when it's happening. They're just dudes in a car until someone calls them and tells them where to go.
Call 911 before you get attacked. Really. It's ok to do that. If you have someone following you or threatening, dial 911 and tell them so and where you are. 911 operators are ok with that, and if it's nothing, then nothing will happen. You aren't taking valuable resources and distracting the police unless you're calling them to report that the drive through forgot your french fries.
52
Feminist, female, rape victim by acquaintance (20-some years ago) here, and yeah, I have to disagree. I think this is good, standard advice. It's being smart. And while it's not fair that we sometimes have to be hyper-vigilant, and I wouldn't complain about a male curfew after 9pm, that's not going to happen. I think we have to remember that women are part of the culture/society we are trying to change, and I will do my part by making it clear that fucking with me is not a good idea. I am not going to be an easy victim.
53
Good post. I think good rape preventative advice would be to encourage women to main, mutilate or kill men who rape or try to rape. If we are just prey and rape is just part of nature, we need to defend ourselves by any means possible.

54
"Shoes that are comfortable and allow you to run if necessary. Choose clothing that allows you to move, and does not block your vision."

How does "allow you to move" mean "loose" (and I guess, shaming?)? A business pencil skirt with no stretch doesn't really let me run, which is unfortunate, but a knit one is good enough. A full skirt is super easy to run in. Total freedom. I have super snug skinny jeans that are also stretchy enough for me to run in.

And how does "shoes that are comfortable" mean running shoes? If you really need to, you can run in oxfords, ankle boots, flat boots, ballet flats, and if you're a woman of determination, yep, heels.

If anything, this advice all comes off to me as standard advice for anyone in an area alerted for heightened violent crime, like mugging or assault.

I don't care at all for the stuff about looking fearless (I don't think it helps at all), but most of the rest is not out of line and a great improvement on old shit like "don't dress like a slut."

And yes, I ABSOLUTELY agree that FAR too much of rape prevention education focuses just on potential victims and not on potential/actual perpetrators.

But I think the most important thing is that I think a lot of this advice goes beyond prevention and beyond "how to STOP rape with your behaviour" -- there are tips on what to do if you ARE attacked (how to report to 911, how to get away, how to be able to identify your attacker later) and if you can do anything, or if you can manage to get away. Because, how does knowing an intersection STOP a rapist?

There's a definite tone here of acknowledging that sexual assault will occur, regardless of what you do.
55
@53

You have my axe!
56
@36 "Seems she was probably not texting, or listening to music or had her eyes averted. He left her alone because she punched and kicked, which is not being offered as a protip."

This is a good point. The descriptions of these incidents themselves demonstrate the insipidity of these protips pretty acutely. It's almost as if the protippers aren't even reading about the crimes on which they're basing their protips. Oscillating between either being too general to have any meaning whatsoever and being too specific to be useful in all situations, these protips are about as applicable in everyday circs as "be careful".

As if people are never going to listen to their iPhones or text while waiting for the bus. Or never going to walk around in high heels. Unless they perceive themselves to be in dangerous circumstances, that is. And at those times, the advice seems pretty unnecessary. At least for these women, the advice seems pretty unnecessary. They seemed to be following the rules about as closely as an average person in an average situation is likely to follow the rules. Which is why using these cases as yet another reason to restate the rules seems pretty ridiculous.
57
@50

Um, no? That would just be stupid. Where do you come up with this stuff?
58
@57
Maybe from the part where you said that you are against guns. You know an object that makes a weak person equal to a stronger, more powerful attacker, or attackers?

It seems you are OK with rape, just like your despicable bigot ass is also OK with tyranny and gross civil rights violations.
59
I don't think the outrage comes from the standard common sense advice on how to reduce the chances that you might be targeted for crime. This wouldn't be an issue at all if women weren't frequently blamed for their own rapes.

Imagine if your house was broken into and everything of value stolen. And people were like "well the fact you were burglarized clearly means you weren't doing enough to prevent burglary, otherwise you wouldn't have been burglarized, and by that logic you are nearly as responsible as the guy who stole from you"

60
It's still an improvement over the usual advice telling women not to go outside without a male escort.

Rapists aren't going to stop simply because they're asked


That's not an accurate statement. Cities that have tailored their anti-rape campaigns to put the onus on the rapist, not the victim, have seen rape rates decline. Many rapists will opt not to rape if they think society at large won't protect them.

Tailoring anti-rape advice toward how the *victim* can avoid being attacked tells rapists that society has their backs. As does many other elements of our culture, such as the presumption that a rape victim had it coming or is a hysterical liar.
61
@58 Since there is no mention of any of these women using a gun to fight off their attackers, your argument appears to be misplaced. Unsurprisingly.
62
It's the tone of the "tips" that's so maddening. The officer who provided them is a woman, but there's no acknowledgement that as women, we've all heard this stuff a million times.

If it were phrased as a reminder instead of a news flash, and incorporated a little reality (if I have made the slutty choice to wear high heels, what then?) (and then, as noted, where the hell is there a pay phone anymore, and is my would-be rapist really going to wait patiently while I use it?), and maybe addressed the whole supposedly controversial issue of whether and how to fight back (um, let's say YES, and some stats show that if you do, the odds of getting raped are cut in half)...

And there's this little gem:

"Most likely you know your height, so use this to gauge theirs."

"Most likely," um, unless you're not a human being? Or maybe your ladybrain can't remember how tall your own body is? Or is that a joke?
63
@40, I know all us women look alike but maybe you should try reading our bylines? It seems that *your* outrage is a bit misplaced.
64
I read (and shared) this post as a good illustration of how women are encouraged (for good reason) to view the world we live in. The point, as I understood it, is to give the menfolk a feel for how and why women treat everything and everyone with a guarded attitude. If you participated in the thread on when checking out women at the gym is threatening, I encourage you to connect the dots.
65
@58

Now you're just making things up, Five Large.

You know the rapeyest state is Alaska? Over 70 rapes per 100k population. Second most gun owners in the country, almost 60% of the population. South Dakota is second in rapes, and also tops in gun ownership. Other rapey sates? Arkansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Montana. Also right up at the top in guns. And suicide. Who'd have guessed?

So we can clearly see that high rates of gun ownership do nothing to prevent rape. In fact, you'd almost suspect from the data that guns cause rape. Though I think it's more about the mentality of the gun culture that encourages rapists, somehow.

Now you go sell a gun, Five Large. Cha-CHING!
66
@62 Oh, so its the TONE of the tips. They shouldn't be stated matter-of-factly; instead, they should be stated with a bit of resignation and ennui, so as not to offend your jaded lady ears?

Puh-leeze. Officers aren't exactly known for tact. Take the tips for what they are. Tips. Not fool proof prevention plans. Not that they are the full effort of the police, who intend on doing nothing with any of the attacks. Just tips.

If you've heard them fin. Don't fucking be offended by them.
67
There are a lot of men on this thread who should be ashamed of themselves, but won't be. The derailing and the dismissiveness is beyond disappointing, though hardly shocking.
68
I agree with Cascadian Bacon. If a lady or otherwise decides to carry a firearm in the city as a means of defense, she should definitely receive some training on how and when and why to use it and not allow it to kill the people he or she loves.
69
Can I just say that I am really tired of the fact that I have spent almost my entire life (since I was old enough to ride my bike to the Lake Sawyer grocery store to buy penny candy) having to treat every guy I meet as Schrodinger's Rapist? Every one of you. Even family members. Other sloggers? Potential rapists. Job interview? Potential assault. Date? Rapist? It is really fucking exhausting always putting the onus to avoid rape on myself.
70
If you don't see anything wrong with this and are worried that you're ridiculously misogynistic, ask yourself: Have you EVER seen "tips" like this when there are crimes against men? If there is a rash of shootings of young men, do you hear authorities ask men to wear running shoes or to wear "appropriate clothing"?
71
First, men who say that it's just good common sense for people (women) to do all this stuff cannot then turn around and complain when women won't give them the time of day. See: Schroedinger's Rapist.

Second, any advice telling women how to not get raped actually means "Be sure he rapes some other woman."
72
sexual assault is not about punishing those who wear short skirts or get drunk or walk home alone. sexual assault is about power and masculinity, and in order to deconstruct the rape culture we live in, we must address those issues.

men: this is YOUR problem. those tips? THEY ARE FOR YOU! drill them into your head as ive you've been socialized your whole fucking life to prevent sexual assaults. be aware of your surroundings. see something shady? a woman being followed? someone paying too much attention to a stranger? don’t fucking ignore it. im not encouraging some culture of paternalistic protection, im saying YOU are responsible for preventing sexual assault too. start here: Men Can Stop Rape -- mencanstoprape.org
73
@70 YES. But, that's because I lived near Detroit, when shootings against young men would be because of wearing gang colors, including accidental shootings. So, yeah, I have seen men get told not to wear certain items.

And, generally men don't wear these clothes with heels of slick bottomed dress shoes...so the running shoes bit is a given.
74
@66 Tone and content are often deeply connected (especially as they pertain to context). In this case, using these particular incidents to reissue boilerplate rules—regardless the applicability of those rules—indicates, to even a remotely interested observer, a lack of seriousness. To any thinking person, a list of Robert's Rules of Order would be almost equally applicable here as well as being equally incongruous with the seriousness of the situation.

And if anyone should be aware of the importance of tone, it's someone whose job it is to de-escalate tense situations.

Beyond which, your decision to close your comment with a command in this situation illustrates your complete lack of appreciation for and understanding of tone. Which, if you had self-awareness, would have suggested to you that you really had no room to talk.
75
@74 Look at my fucking user name. Tone isn't my fucking forte either. Hence why I say that fucking tone isn't that fucking important, but the fucking message is. Is that fucking tone fucking smooth enough for you, fucker?
76
@75 And yet you chose to comment on it. Perhaps rather than trying to teach about a subject in which you admit incompetence, you would be better off trying to learn.
77
Fuck, damned if you do, damned if you don't.
78
@65
Glad you could find today's masturbation material, hopefully it will keep you inside and not out raping people.

You want women to be disarmed so that they make easier prey.

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@68
Thank you.
79
Oh boo hoo, women who in modern society are able to wield their sexuality for power have to consider that it is still a highly sought after treasure that everyone wants. The same principal that gets you everywhere by the light of day needs to be casually thought about by night. DEAL WITH IT.
80
@78

Fear sells, baby, fear sells. Five Large gotta get paid, am I right?
81
Wow, 78, you really are despicable, aren't you?
82
Minard, you are a fucking idiot.

The advice is fine. It's telling women to be proactive and control the things they can, none of which are the mind or actions of rapists.

Your faux-psuedo-intellectual-feminist outrage over the advice is misguided, obnoxious and ignorant.
83
Translation of @82: "Rapists! They just sorta happen, like hurricanes or earthquakes. Women, though, are people who choose to become victims of assault. These tips are just showing them how to make better choices."

Asshat.
84
I wouldn't have a problem with the tips if there were a corresponding list for male predators, like a serious version of the satirical list Anna linked to. Things like "If you are a man thinking about raping a woman, consider these things first: 1. She is a human being. 2. She has a family" etc.

It seems silly, but I think one of the central problems in trying to fix rape culture is that the kind of men who predate on women are rarely addressed directly as subjects, but rather indirectly as a nebulous, faceless entity (this is what the SPD's tips-for-women list does). I do think rapists are horrible pieces of shit, but unless we try to culturally instruct men to think of women as human beings, they ain't gonna do it. What if there were an ad campaign patiently and compassionately teaching men about the humanity of women? If it made a few guys think twice about raping someone, wouldn't it be worth it?
85
This post isn't arguing that authorities not do anything about the problem. It accepts there is a clear and present danger from a group of predatory and potentially violent assholes. This is just giving you preventative tips to minimize the possibility that you might be targeted, until authorities can catch the perpetrators.

Don't try to make it out into something more than what it actually is.
86
@84 I don't think people are arguing about the need for culture shift.

I do think people are arguing against the idea that advice like this, given when there is a completely known predator who victimizes random women, is completely sexist and useless because either a) they've heard it before, b) the TONE is all wrong for this kind of thing, or c) they imagine there is no culture telling men that sexual assault is bad.
87
Men shocked, offended by women being shocked, offended by boilerplate rape prevention "tips" that condition women to exist in a perpetual state of heightened fear, take it upon themselves to tell women it's for their own good because women are incapable of understanding how to take care of themselves. What would women ever do without men, besides not living under the constant threat of sexual violence?
88
Feminist hilariously overreacts to Thing? GWUUUHHHH???
89
@84: Wahhh, won't someone think of the POOR MEN??? The poor men who just DON'T UNDERSTAND that women are human??? Let's gently hold their hand and spoon-feed them these extremely basic ideas that they would ALREADY GET if they weren't drowning in their own fucking privilege.

I am really embarrassed for most of the men participating in this thread. Like, CONGRATULATIONS, you probably know about A Thing!! But there is almost a 100% chance that you DO NOT KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT LIVING IN CONSTANT FEAR ABOUT BEING SEXUALLY ASSAULTED. Seriously! You don't! So, instead of talking about a thing you really, REALLY have no clue about, shut up and listen? There are endless essays and articles and research, all available at your fingertips. No spoon feeding necessary!

I would love to school some of you assclowns (some of which I see in real life -- GOMEZ, HELLO!) but your heads are SO FAR UP YOUR OWN ASS, the muffling noise of your own paternalistic bloviating on what people who have an entirely different life experience than you should do would block out any reasoning on the subject, so it isn't worth my fucking time. Hope y'all are looking forward to a self-righteous middle finger the next time I see you in person, you idiot sacks of shit.
90
@87 Some women, like some men, can be monotonous agenda-spouting idiots. And then they write idiotic opinions based on ideas that were completely warped from the original philosophy they came from.

In this case: many people blamed victims of sexual assault, telling them they should have been more careful and that they shouldn't have dressed like sluts and skanks; simultaneously, reducing the sentence of the predator who was so tempted by the easy prey. This was wrong.

It led to a push against the idea that, by not following these warnings, women were making themselves the victims, and thus were somewhat to blame for their own victimization.

Which has now been warped to "don't remind us that we have to be careful! You're being sexist by telling us that we have to watch out for somebody, and giving tips on how to conduct ourselves when there is a known threat. I don't care if there is a predator. Tell that guy not to rape me. I don't care if he is sick in the head and probably won't listen." Sometimes with a touch of "Men don't get told what to do" (which is wrong, btw).

The goal of the original movement was to put the blame on the criminal. The new goal seems to be to remove all reminders of protecting one's self and self-responsibility (because they've all heard it before, or something).
91
@89 A lot of gay men actually have lived in daily fear of being gay bashed and assaulted. Not sexually assaulted, but beat down by some asshole, or a group of assholes, just the same. Sorry, not your exclusive victimization ticket to rally on.
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@91 Oh my god YOU'RE RIGHT. It's not only women are raped by men!!! You are a motherfucking genius, here is your GOLD STAR for totally debunking rape culture as a whole: http://i.imgur.com/qrmT4.gif
93
Are rapists going to stop raping if we ask them not to? No. But here's the very ugly truth that we know from actual surveys and interviews with men: That guy who rapes the girl he kind of knows at a party when she's pass-out-drunk, he has friends in the next room. Friends who don't know that he's raping her but who knows that there is something that they don't want to know, and so the keep their mouths shut instead of confronting him and they cover for him because he's their friend, and he couldn't possibly... Every rapist has friends, and most of those friends are decent people who don't condone rape, but many of them still turns a blind eye. THOSE are the people we need to reach.

Women already avoid walking alone after dark, keeping their hands clutched around their keys and wonder if maybe they should spend the money that was gonna pay their electrical bill on a cab instead, and then wonder if the cab-driver is a creep who will rape them anyway.
94
@89 So fucking right. You win the thread.
95
@90, I'm not a woman, so when it comes to issues that affect their lives in a much more direct and personal manner than my own, I choose to listen and learn because they live with this shit so they understand it better than I ever will (I can relate because as a gay guy I get rippin' pissed when straight people try to tell me how to feel about shit that has no bearing on their lives). So even if the complaint is "the tone" or "heard it before" or whatever, I accept that as a legitimate criticism because the discussion cannot move forward until everyone does that. Otherwise we're all left spinning our wheels telling each other how to feel, rather moving towards a more practical solution.

Bottom line, if women are saying "this doesn't help" and you want to help, you should be listening.
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@92 There there. It's alright. I know you're already a victim of not having a brain in your head. So, at least you'll have THAT exclusive victim status going for you.

*rewards with a condescending pat on the head*
97
@alithea, I adore you. Let's get margaritas together sometime soon. We can practice sending out "please don't rape me!" vibes together. BYOBaggyclothing!

On second thought, maybe we should hold the slut juice and make those *virgin* margaritas.
98
@63 That's it? That's your rhetorical coup. That I got the bylines wrong? Anna is new and I read the names wrong.

And due to that I'm clearly some sort of misogynist that, in what I'm sure you'd libelously claim is evidenced by my inability to distinguish between individual vagina life support systems.

You find one obvious but inconsequential error and that's all you have to say without addressing one single meaningful critical thing. You realize if Stranger readers disqualified every Stranger article based on petty errors you'd have no readers left.

Look. I can appreciate the frustration of being part of a target community based upon the accident of your birth. I worked with sexual assault survivors for over a decade. And I taught women's self defense courses for over a decade. I got involved because my sister in law was brutally raped by a stranger and left for dead.

If your reading comprehension came close to your knee jerk reflexes you'd have read exactly what level of sympathy I have to altering rape culture in my middle statements. But this post has lierally nothing to do with rape culture. It's a vain attempt at outrage generation peppered with hackey cutsey language already stale when Lindy West finally wore it out.

The cops issued boiler plate anti-crime advice - and advice fairly reasonably and gender neutrally presented I might add - due to the nature of the attacks being in-public stranger attacks. Which has fuck all to do with the sort of rape culture critiques other, better, feminist theorists talk about when then they rightly refer to altering cultural approaches to dealing with sexual assaults.

This post by Anna missed the mark by a mile in both its understanding of what constitutes rape culture and what responsibility our Law Enforcement institutions have to public safety.

99
@95 Please. If the forward conversation started moving in reverse, do you want to let it keep going backwards? No.

There was, and has been, a damned good forward momentum towards not blaming the victim and actually blaming the criminal.

I liken it to the advice I was given, repeatedly, in the late 90s (yes, even post-Matthew Shepard), which was to not dress gay (which I didn't, but whatever), not act gay in neighborhoods that you didn't know, travel in groups if you can, be aware of your surroundings, travel in well lit areas, etc etc etc.

Or, advice in the mid-90s: don't go into certain parts of Detroit, don't dress in certain colors, don't wear your hair in certain styles, walk with a purpose, be aware of your surroundings, don't go into certain parts of Detroit, travel in groups in bad neighborhoods, etc etc etc.

This advice was repeated through the mid-00s, when a male friend of mine got jumped on his way to his car after a party.

Boilerplate advice, all of it. If I took the time to be offended by the tone any of it was delivered, I'd have been constantly offended. Instead, I took it with the intent it was meant: protect yourself.
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@86 Yeah, but I do think c) on your list is essentially true and this is what I was saying mainly needs solving.

@89 I think you misunderstood my post. I don't care about sympathizing with or pitying men. I care about preventing the rape of women. Rape culture is predicated on, among other things, the pervasive disregard of the humanity of women, and that needs to be fixed. A lot of men obviously don't get these "extremely basic ideas," which is why they need to be taught. Yes, it's pathetic that this is where we're at in 2013. But I'm thinking of a compassionate approach as a strategy, as a means to an end, not something that is owed to men for their sake.