Today I read an article about what rapists look for when choosing a victim and what kinds of things will scare them off. The article sighted such things as long hair, hair up in a ponytail or bun, easy to remove clothes, and women who are distracted on their phones or looking through their purse or bag as things rapist look for. The article said these rapists stated they would be deterred if a woman were to be carrying an umbrella or anything that can be used from a distance to hit them with. A woman who puts up a fight, who yells or draws attention while being approached by a rapist is likely to deter the rapist and they will move on. The object for the rapist is picking a victim who they believe they can quickly and easily take advantage of without drawing attention to themselves. There is some good advice tips in this article about how to fight off an attack: grabbing the first two fingers and bending them back as far and as hard as you can; your elbow is the strongest and hardest part of your body…if you are close enough to use it, do it. There is good advice about being aware of your surroundings such as when you get in your car don’t sit there going through your receipt or your bags; drive off. Sitting in your car an attacker can easily get into the passenger side, and at gun or knife point direct you to drive to where they tell you to. Personally, if I’m sitting in my car and not going anywhere, I always keep the doors locked. There is some good advice in this article that you can Read Here.
There is something, however, that does bother me about this article. At first it was hard for me to put into words what it was exactly that bothered me. The point of this article is how to become less of a target to rapists. A rapist is a rapist, is a rapist. A person who is determined to rape another person will do so. The sole responsibility for their actions lies with them. A victim is not a victim until the perpetrator makes them a victim. There is no inherent victimness that makes a victim a victim.
The idea of becoming less of a target to a rapist assumes there is some target sign on our backs that by some action taken by ourselves can be removed. When taken to the next step, this then implies a victim made herself/himself a target and could have prevented their rape. It is these types of concepts that leave a victim blaming themselves for their rape. It leaves a feeling which absolves responsibility away from the rapist and onto the victim. When taken to the utmost extreme, this can be viewed as saying a rapist is not responsible for their actions because their victim meet all their criteria which gave them no choice but to rape; they couldn’t help themselves…if only the victim would have or wouldn’t have __________, then they wouldn’t have been raped.
Overall it wasn’t a bad article and there was some good information to be gotten from this article. I do feel, that by writing from the rapists point of view on what they look for it does imply a shift of responsibility from the rapist to their victims. I would have preferred to have read an article which focused more on: how to be aware of our surroundings, and things to look for which could be red flags that something isn’t right; ideas about ways to improve safety such as not sitting in an unlocked car; and ways to protect ourselves should we find ourselves faced with an attacker; to have read about things which would improve chances of escaping an attack.