Yep, ya’ll are going to hate me.
There is this crazy idea going around that women should NOT even try to defend themselves –or take precautions against potential bad situations. What’s next? Are we going to decry looking both ways before crossing the street? Are we going to scorn the use of seatbelts? Are we going to condone posting every little piece of private data in Facebook– open to the public?! Maybe so called feminists these days are anti-child, but that’s certainly not the sort of parental instincts I’d like to see. And no, I don’t assume that every woman is a mother. But every woman has the theoretical potential to be one.
Seriously, when you defend yourself, you aren’t just defending yourself. You are defending your friends, your family, (your children– it had to be said) anyone who cares about you. It is a good, good thing. Tough decisions are what life is made of. And that’s the price of becoming an adult, full stop. There will never be a time when this necessity stops being a fact of life.
Part of the problem, I think is many of these women cannot wrap their own minds around what that would entail. So far as their holistic writ says, every man is a potential rapist. As a former victim of sexual assault, I assure you that is not the case. You cannot always tell for certain who is and who isn’t, but that doesn’t mean the possibilities are endless.
Secondly, I can see why they might balk at this idea. Who wants to live in a constant state of hypervigilance? I’ve done it. It sucks. You really don’t want to go there. It makes you physically ill, for one thing, and the health problems that result can be staggering and chronic. So no, I’m not advocating that, either. Because why? Because taking precautions is not the same thing as over reacting. A little knowledge, a little research and you can go toward making a plan to keep yourself pretty safe without having to go crazy about it.
The first step is two fold– find out what your generalized risks are, and what kind of threat is most likely.
First of all, some guys are predators. Yes, they exist. But, the kind of predator who specializes in rape is a fairly small minority. However, there are places where they tend to go to ‘hunt’, because that is what they do. The second thing to know is that the vast majority of men HATE rapists as much as you do– if not worse. It sounds freakish, yes, but it’s true. The worst violence I’ve ever heard uttered by guys I know had to do with the treatment of rapists. And I assure you they were quite serious. Five different men have offered to kill the sexual predator that drugged me in high school Okay, make that six. Sorry I forgot one.
I said “no” to all of them. To the majority, I said “no” because I didn’t want to see my friends in prison. I said “no” to one or two of them because I knew they’d get away with it. But there would still be consequences, if nothing else, in the thought processes he’d already warned me about. I don’t care if he’s trained for it, he’s supposed to be a civilian now, and I’m told that blurring the line (unless you actually go back into uniform or are in an otherwise controlled professional environment where they understand the psychology of the thing) can be dangerous for him in more personal ways.
You either defend yourself, or accept that you have no control of your safety. There is no third way. You cannot legislate risk down to zero. Nope, more laws really don’t help. We already do not respect the law, and yet another absurd shard of unreality in the courts will just add to the mess when the whole works collapses in on itself.
The first step to a safe society is a polite society– not just the right for every person to defend him or herself against real threats, but also building a society of trust.
And you don’t get a society of trust by blaming a whole sex for all the world’s problems.