I loled a little when I saw this picture pop up on my feed. It’s so my kind of humor: snarky, uncomfortable, and bringing up an excellent point in a clever way.
Update: The flyer reads:
- If someone is drunk, don’t rape them.
- When you see someone walking by themselves, leave them alone.
- Use the Buddy System! If it is difficult for you to stop yourself raping someone, as a trusted friend to accompany you at all times.
- Carry a rape whistle. If you find that you are about to rape someone, blow the whistle until someone comes to stop you.
- Don’t forget: honesty is the best policy. When asking someone out, don’t pretend that you are interested in them as a person. Tell them straight up that you expect to be raping them later. If you don’t communicate your intentions, they my take it as a sign that you don’t plan to rape them.
Rape culture directs women to police their clothing, beverages, behavior and sexuality at all times to avoid men. It portrays men as powerless to control their violent sexual urges. Rape culture demeans everyone, and everyone should speak out against rape culture.
When you start reading the beginning of the flyer, it is clearly uncomfortable. It is condescending and demeaning in language and tone, and that’s with the fact that it is clearly meant to be a parody. It makes you realize how condescending and demeaning, therefore, these nonsense “rape prevention” flyers are when they’re actually meant to be serious. Snark, and going over the top, are IMO excellent tools to quickly and directly call attention to an issue that many people overlook, and I think that this flyer does that nicely.
And now, we get to the serious aspect of this image, and into the topic of rape culture and victim blaming.
It is always important to remember, also, that supporting things like rape prevention flyers is inextricably linked with victim blaming. I have talked about a certain aspect of victim blaming before, but it comes up here too.
Allowing for this culture of fear to perpetuate goes hand in glove with telling women that their rape is a result of their not being sufficiently cautious. Oh, you didn’t have a rape whistle, or pepper spray in your handbag? Oh, you chose to drink and walk yourself home without a possy? Well, I’m sorry you got raped and all, but you have to admit, you were a bit careless. Maybe next time you’ll be a bit more careful.
Getting raped because you don’t want to live a life jumping at shadows is not the same as getting into a car accident because you decide that speed limits are for lesser mortals. Getting raped is something that is not supposed to happen to you. Of course life is not fair, and things that shouldn’t happen sometimes do, but that doesn’t mean we have to normalize rape like it’s a natural instinct, that boys will be boys and men will be rapists, what can you do about it. If someone you know is raped, you should react the way that you react if anything horrifying and terribly unfair happened to someone you know, not rush to print out more rape prevention tips to give out at the next community meeting. You should react the way you would if someone you know is hit by a drunk driver, or the victim of a mass shooting.
You should offer your support, only give it if it is wanted, and let that person know that what happened to them was not their fault because unfortunately, given our current cultural climate, that is something that actually has to be stated and repeated.