Thursday, 19 March 2015

Rape Schedule

Rape is a serious crime and each day we subconsciously follow a "schedule" to avoid or minimize the risk of being raped/sexually assaulted. Some people realise that they are doing it whereas others have no idea. The decisions that we make each day are to protect ourselves but are we, as society, teaching women to live their life a certain way rather than teaching people not to rape? And people can blame society but the truth is, we are society.

People fear sexual assault because the most reported cases of rape are stranger rape and that it is an opportunity attack not a planned attack. When in reality, there are so many unreported cases of rape but stranger rape is talked about the most which makes people think that it is the most common type when really anyone could be a victim and rape is under reported. People fear strangers because of the amount of stranger rapes and sexual assaults that are reported compared to sexual assaults by people that are known to the victim.

In the last few years there has been a steady increase of women's self-defense programmes which indicate how deeply embedded the rape schedule has become. People believe that if they are able to defend themselves then they have less of a chance of being attacked than people who do not attend self-defense classes, maybe because it is their natural instinct but maybe it is just what they have been taught to believe. Women find comfort in knowing self-defense because they feel like they need to be able to defend themselves in order to feel safe which highlights the extent of insecurity and anxiety caused by the threat of sexual assault.

People make modifications of their behaviour because of the possibility of rape and sexual assault. It seems that the fear of rape is keeping women off of the streets. Women that use public transport often find themselves alone with a man and they feel uncomfortable, I read online that someone was on a train and it was only her and a man in the train carriage and she got up and moved to a busier carriage because she was worried about sexual assault. This highlights how serious the fear of rape is. Some women try not to wear "revealing" clothing because they are lead to believe it will minimize the risk. After a night out or going to a friends house at night and having a few drinks, a lot of women avoid dark, deserted streets and they try to be walked home by someone, or they walk their friends home, get a lift or stay the night. Whilst walking home a lot of women walk quickly with their keys and phone in their hand because they believe that it will lower the chances. Not to mention the careful planning that goes into the journey home! A lot of women cross the road or walk faster when a man that they don't know is the only other person walking on a quiet street, just to be on the safe side. The amount of attention that women pay on their way home, constantly looking behind them to make sure that no one is following, looking out for suspicious cars, making sure that their phones have charged and staying on the phone until they get home, trying to walk with confidence and not looking through their bags because they believe that if they don't do these things it will make them an "easy target". Some women have even stopped having their hair in a ponytail when they have to walk alone because they think that it is easier to grab hold of and would make them a target but in reality, nothing makes rape happen apart from rapists... Not being drunk, wearing revealing clothing, walking home alone, leaving your drink momentarily alone, passing out, agreeing to some sexual acts but not others or retracting consent in the moment.

Rape is the most feared crime and it is evident but when you google rape prevention there are hundreds of sites that are offering help to prevent being raped and giving advice on how to avoid being raped while walking home, drinking or hitchhiking, among other things. The sites offer tips like "drink with a sober friend who can protect you" which makes women believe that if they are drunk then they have a higher chance of being raped and that they need constant watching to make sure that they are safe.

On a night out a lot of women subconsciously go through the night using the rape schedule because they watch the bartender pour their drink and from that moment on they don't look away from their drink because they are told so much about drinks being spiked and women being raped because they "looked away from their drink."
Women are constantly told that "men can't help it" and "boys just being boys" but the truth is, Rape is a crime usually motivated by hatred and a pathological need to control and abuse. The combination of its occurrence with the severity or the emotional, physical and psychological trauma is a real threat on a daily basis which is why rape is the most feared crime and which is why women stick to a rape schedule without realising it.

"Rape and the fear of rape are a daily part of every woman's consciousness." -Susan Griffin. 

I think that by sticking to the rape schedule we believe that we are reducing our perceived risk of being raped and because some women who haven't been raped who use the schedule think that it is working but really, the schedule won't stop rape, it may reduce the risk but it can still happen and women shouldn't have to change their lifestyle because of a rapist. Some women who have been raped use the rape schedule to feel safe and secure which is fine. It is fine to do the above things to reduce the risk, I'm not saying that it isn't but I feel like we shouldn't HAVE to, we should live in a world that is safe for women AND men.

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