How do I “proactively” avoid rape?

Response by Marc MacYoung and Diana Gordon MacYoung

*WARNING* On this Page, our goal is not damage control, it is prevention.

There are many organizations and groups who will help a woman who has been raped with putting her life back together and dealing with rape trauma syndrome (a form of PTSD). They will also help her pursue legal action against her assailant. After a rape occurs establishing emotional stability and a person getting her world back together is desperately needed (and often so too is long-term therapy). This is what we mean by ‘damage control.’ Those organizations can help a woman deal with the trauma immediately after she’s been sexually assaulted.

But that’s not what we’re about. What we are about is to keep you from being raped in the first place. Two points guide our attitude:

1) No damage control is ever as good as prevention.

2) By the time a situation gets to sexual assault, ALL of your options suck

As astounding as it may sound, these attitudes puts us at odds with many of the popular agendas about rape and their advocates.

What you are going to read on these pages is extremely controversial. In fact, this section has been the source of not only the most hate e-mail we’ve received, but the most virulent.

There are three reasons we’ve been taken off so many people’s Christmas card list is, in order to prevent something, you have to be pragmatic. Sometimes, uncomfortably so.

The first reason we are unpopular with many is that we approach the subject with other priorities than emotion — whether that’s the emotional fervor and outrage of many advocates or trying to protect the fragile process of reestablishing the victim’s well being. While emotion is a factor in our work, it is NOT our primary concern.

Emotions, blame and outrage are post-incident issues.

Again, our focus is prevention. That means not putting yourself into situations, where no matter what you do, the results will be traumatic. We are about pre-incident issues.

We tell you this now, because if emotions are your priority regarding this subject, stop reading now. You’ll only get upset.

The second reason we are unpopular is that we discuss the issue of personal responsibility. Specifically, we’re not about ‘blame.’ We ARE about understanding the consequences of one’s actions — whether these are intended or unintended consequences.

We will tell you getting so drunk at a party that you pass out is a bad idea.

We’ll tell you, if you do that, you are literally setting yourself up to be raped. This, as opposed to the advocate at the Rape Crisis Center who defended passing out drunk surrounded by intoxicated strangers by saying “A girl has the right to have fun.”

Our response is: You may have the ‘right’ to sleep on the train tracks, but that won’t prevent you from being hit by a train.

And that brings us to the third reason we’re not well liked by people who are more emotional (rather than pragmatic) about this subject.

We look at the behavior of everyone involved. We look at ‘what conditions must be present in order for a rape to occur.’

In order to help you avoid being raped, we need to take a good hard look at how rape occurs, rather than how people think it happens. That takes it out of agendas, idealism and visions about how the world ‘should be’ and puts it into practical things you can do to prevent from being raped.

Because the difference between how you think rape happens and how it actually happens can be the same difference as to whether you are raped or not.

A Look at How Rape Really Happens Any number of women think of rape as a stranger jumping out of the bushes and sexually assaulting her. This is a good news and bad news situation.

The good news is that the “jump out the bushes rapist is

A) the rarest type and

B) the easiest to avoid and prevent.

The same measures that keep you from being robbed will protect you from being sexually assaulted in this manner. So the odds of this happening to you are pretty rare to start with and a little bit of knowledge and a few simple, commonsense measures will greatly reduce those odds even further.

Now, for the really good news, if you are not associating with a certain kind of people or engaging in high risk behaviors, the odds of you being raped plummet close to zero.

Unfortunately, that is the last of the good news. The bad news is that the reality of rape is not simple. It is, in fact, a complex problem. And complex problems seldom, if ever, have simple solutions.

An undisputed truth is that “stranger” rapes only constitute a minute number of rapes. An overwhelming majority of sexual assaults occur between people who know one another. Sometimes intimately, sometimes peripherally, but it is someone you have regular dealings with.

That means it is not just a simple “crime” nearly as much as it’s a twisted extension and extreme of human interaction. That is where things start getting complicated.

With that complication, however, comes a very important point: The very fact that it is a matter of human interaction gives you influence on what happens — including whether or not it even happens. Rape is not something that just happens out of the clear blue sky. This means: Being sexually assaulted is something you have a large degree of control over whether or not it happens to you.

But this control is a double edged sword; your decisions, words and actions have a major effect — for both good and bad results. What you do effects the outcome. Therefore a big part of not being raped is based on what you do to prevent putting yourself into a situation where you could be raped! And if you do find yourself in a developing rape situation doing effective action to prevent it.

Assumption of Power Do women have power? We believe they do. However, often the nature of power is misunderstood – especially by the young.

Beware Ye Young Romans, Who Would Venture Among Barbarians One of the bigger mistakes young people can make is to assume that because they are breaking ‘the rules’ of where they come from, that there are NO rules at all. This is especially true when it comes to ‘partying.’ No matter where you go, there are rules. And violating those rules has consequences — especially in less-than-civilized circles. Using the analogy of Romans and Barbarians we discuss how your assumptions about people will behave can get you into deep trouble

Body Sacrosanct Inherent in the paradigm of certain people (especially within certain cultural and socio-economic levels) is the assumption that their body is sacrosanct. They believe they cannot be touched without their consent, much less attacked. This core belief can — and does — have a strong influence on their actions. Actions that often increase their danger. Unfortunately, this unconscious paradigm greatly adds to the trauma of being assaulted.

Bonding Process (Human Mating Behavior) Although many claim rape isn’t about sex, rape is a parasite that hides within a very normal human behavioral pattern. A process that sex is pivotal to. This page explains Dr Desmond Morris’s 12 step ‘Bonding Process’ and how, via this process humans establish intimacy. Once you know this process, you can see how easily rape can occur when the process goes wrong — especially date rape.

Facts About Rape Our attorney has a saying, “Everyone knows what what something means until there is a problem.” By this he means that the same word can have different meanings to different people. This can become a major problem when everyone is using the same word, but meaning different things. Unfortunately, this idea applies in spades to the topic of rape. We discuss the facts, myths and misconceptions about rape

Five Stages of Violent Crime In order for ANY crime to occur, fundamental criteria need to be developed. It is impossible for a crime to occur if the criteria is not met. In fact, the crime can be non-violently aborted by changing the circumstances to prevent the criteria from being met. The problem is that the same conditions that allow for Bonding Process can be turned into conditions necessary for date rape. Both date rape and the conditions necessary for acquaintance rape fall into ‘The Five Stages of Crime’ and are therefore recognizable and actionable.

High Risk Behavior Let us start by stating our definition of High Risk Behavior isn’t based in moralizing. The simple fact is that a wild party girl (who knows the rules) can be safer among bikers than a ‘good girl’ on a date with a ‘Prince Charming’ (who isn’t). We define High Risk Behavior as: Any behavior that puts you into circumstances where violence is probable. It’s what you do in those circumstances that will determine whether or not you will be attacked.

High Risk Behavior and Perceived Profit Whether you use the “violence is probable” or the “moralizing” definition of High Risk Behavior there is self-interest underlying the decision making process. To be more specific the perception of self-interest — unintended consequences are a whole different issue. Still we can never underestimate of the appeal of HRB. Because face it, often high risk behavior is fun.

High Risk Behavior And Rape Politics, religion, gun control, abortion, they have nothing over the kind of frothing-at-the-mouth fanaticism that you’ll encounter when you bring up the subject of high risk behavior and rape. Well, we hate to be the ones to break tradition, but we’re going to take a rational look at the subject.

Is It REALLY About Self-Defense? A lot of people get into so-called self-defense training for reasons that have nothing to do with actual self-defense. On the Is It REALLY about SD? page we take a hard look at an elephant in room that people don’t want to admit to.

Lethal Force to Prevent Rape A big reason why we advocate rape avoidance is that … realistically … you may have to kill someone to prevent him from raping you. That is a horrible set of choices to have to make, but it is a reality of what it can take not to be raped.

Personal responsibility vs. Blame vs. Rights When it comes to rape a HUGE conflict exists over the issues of personal responsibility, rights and blame. In fact, it is nearly impossible to talk about this subject without a fight breaking out. What one person considers to be personal responsibility, another feels is trying to ‘blame the victim.’ The issue has become so heated and controversial that most people are afraid to talk about it. Our attitude is that since you are the one who is likely to get raped if you don’t take some personal responsibility, it’s worth talking about.

Priorities/Escape Establishing your priorities and escaping from a potential rape

Profile of a Potential Rapist Simply stated, the oft parroted clich?of “All men are potential rapists!” causes more damage than it prevents. Basically it is either dismissed as paranoia or it creates paranoia. However, while it is impossible to predict who will, or won’t, rape (or abuse) there are certain character traits that lend themselves to these behaviors. While not all men are a potential rapist or abuser, men with certain characteristics have a much higher potential. Learn what these characteristics are and make sure you’re never alone with someone who has them.

Provoking An Attack Here’s another reason we’re not on the Christmas Card List of so many rape advocates. But a raw truth is that rape is often substituted for a man beating a woman senseless — as he would do to another man. He is attacking out of fury and rage over the woman’s actions. When the outrage of it being a sexual assault is removed, the pre-assault behavior of both parties is common to what is known as a FIGHT! And that old saw “It takes two to fight” comes home to roost. Putting it bluntly, there are certain behaviors that will get you attacked! The reason this link is on the Rape Page, is that after engaging in these behaviors it is not uncommon — like the loser of a fight — for the rape ‘victim’ to blame the attacker. When in fact, the assault could have been avoided!

Pyramid of Personal Safety The Pyramid of Personal Safety is a comprehensive, multi-level approach to ways to ensure your safety. Once you understand the basic idea behind it is extremely easy to put into effect.

Reduced Capacities It’s hard to avoid being raped if through drugs and alcohol you’ve reduced your capacities to out maneuver, out think and resist a rapist . Some rule of thumb rules about partying safely.

Safe Dating What can you do to decrease potential problems on a date? Safe dating tips

Self-Defense Self-defense is a smaller subtopic of the larger issue of personal safety. But even then many people have serious misconceptions about what self-defense is.

Self-Defense Training So how do you find good self defense training? Here’s a quick rundown of what needs to be in a good self defense training program, much less a women’s self defense program. If these points aren’t being taught, it isn’t self defense.

Stopping Break-in Rapists The really good news is that the same precautions that will stop a burglar will stop a break in rapist. With a few simple steps you can protect yourself from both

Unintended Consequences Why is it so traumatic when things go violent? A huge part of the problem is that most people were not only not mentally prepared for violence to occur, but because of how they were thinking that option wasn’t even considered. As such they face both the shock and trauma of the violence, but also the psychological fall into unintended consequences.

Using Ineffective Violence To Stop Rape Should you resist? We vote ‘yes.’ But understand what you need to do in order to be effective.

Western Ethics and Self-Defense Often popular Western philosophy is diametrically opposite to what you have to do to survive. Before you can reconcile these differences you need to take a look at what they are and where they come from.

Women’s Self Defense Training is NOT a substitute for Therapy Many people come to WSD training without a clear idea of what is involved in that which they want to protect themselves from. While they know they don’t want to be raped or attacked, they don’t know the technicalities of how these acts happen. Therefore they don’t know whether or not they are receiving reliable — or even germane — information. Unfortunately, many WSD programs have shifted away from nuts and bolts information about crime and rape prevention and now focus on “empowerment.” Many now provide courses that are functionally pop-psychology courses on self-esteem building. Which, while it may make you feel good, does very little about keeping you safe from violence. This page is takes a hard look at trying to solve personal and emotional issues through self-defense training.

What To Do To Avoid Being Raped Here we provide a nuts-and-bolts list of strategies, tricks and ways to get out of being raped.

How to Avoid Rape, Part I 

How to Avoid Rape, Part II

How to Avoid Rape, Part III

Leave a Reply