Before I started college (*many years ago) I heard frightening statistics about acquaintance rape, such as “one in four college aged women reported being raped or an attempted rape.” This statistics seemed oddly high. (Currently the Center for Family Justice lists this statistic as 1 in 6, maybe there has been improvement in the past 10+years. Good. However 1 in 6 is still…1 too many.
We live in a culture that while it may not explicitly fosters rape but allows it to occur via many avenues. Sexual violence is presented as normal when it occurs in video games thus exposing boys at a young age to think its “okay.” It’s not “okay.”
The justice system has many flaws in it when it comes to handling reports of rape. Often times a woman endures a very frightening and intrusive exam, questioning and then may or may not be discouraged from filing a report. There is only so much police can do in a he said/she said situation but …there’s room for improvement. Some departments offer the option of a “phone trap” in which a victim calls the alleged attacker in an attempt to gather an admission for the police. This is a step above simply telling someone there’s insufficient evidence. Minimally there should be a lot more resources available to women who report rape. If a report cant be filed than the offer of counseling and other resources should be made available (or made aware) to the victim.The Center for Women and FAmiles has issued some helpful guidelines which I I wish to share. Sadly these guidelines seem to pertain to women in terms of how to avoud getting raped. I would strongly urge a similar list directed to men (and women who may be perpetrators as well, b/c lets face it, rapists CAN be equal opportunity in terms of gender) . We need to issues guidelines on respect and boundaries in addition to guidelines regarding safety and prevention. With that said…here’s the guidelines:
Examine your feelings about sex. Decide early if you want to have sex. In
the “heat of the moment” is not a good time to start thinking about it and it gives the
other person too much power. The sooner you communicate firmly and clearly your
feelings about sex, the better your partner will accept your decision.
Set sexual limits – It is your body, and no one has the right to force you to do anything you do not want to do. Stopping sex
ual activity does not mean you are not a “real woman” or a “real man”.
Do not give mixed messages. – Be clear and say “yes” when you mean “yes” and “no” when you mean “no”. Do not expect
your partner to be able to read your mind.
Be alert to unconscious messages you may be giving. Your partner may interpret your behavior different
ly than what you intended. 90% of communication is nonverbal and often we
send strong nonverbal cues of willingness to enter into a sexual relationship. Be
aware of the signals you send with your posture, tone of voice, clothing,
gestures, and eye contact. (***********NOTE FROM BIANCA: OK I REALLY DONT AGREE WITH THIS ONE & need to insert my opinion here…NO ONE Has the right to rape you regardless of your appearance or behavior. That is all)
•Be forceful and firm. Do not worry about being polite if you are in an
uncomfortable situation. Politeness or passivity can be misinterpreted as permission.
Use phrases such as: “Stop it! I’m not enjoying this” or “If you don’t respect my
wishes, I am leaving.” (**More from me: There is nothing wrong with politeness. This does not make rape your fault. That said a man or woman wishing to force themselves on you may feel they can pressure you into it a lot more if you arent firm. Just food for thought**)
Avoid falling for lines like “you would if you loved me”.
If your partner loves you they will respect your wishes and not try to coerce you into something you
do not want to do. (**Note 3 from BIANCA: If they loved you, you’d know it. Just trust me)
Be independent and aware on your date.
Do not be passive and do have opinions on where you go. Do think about appropriate place to meet (not
necessarily at your room or heirs), always have money with you, and offer to pay
your half of the date or suggest activities that don’t cost money.
Be aware that drugs and alcohol are often related to acquaintance rape.
NOTE 4 FROM BIANCA: Many of these guidelines pertain to high school/college students who may not know better. They are still good guidelines for anyone (minus my inserted commentary in some places) However the main thing is be alert & be in control of yourself and surroundings. That said, regardless NO ONE HAS HE RIGHT TO FORCE YOU INTO SEX. Thats really the most basic point of all.