Avoiding rape is only easy if you understand what is going on within yourself, in your surroundings and haven’t blindly put yourself into a high risk situation.
Without these factors you will not be mentally prepared to do what you have to do in order to prevent being raped. Whether that is to escape or break his jaw or kill him — in a rape situation you may be called upon to do any of these option. Blindly putting yourself into a situation where your choices are be raped or commit extreme violence never has good results.
The entire hub is a study in how complex the issue of rape is and how you must be aware of your own assumptions, your power, it’s effects,unconscious impulses, your biological imperatives, anger, beliefs about violence, misconceptions about self-defense and personal safety — as well as knowing who it isn’t safe to be alone with, especially if you’ve been drinking or doing drugs. That’s a lot of stuff we cover in the Safe Dating page.
A huge problem about avoiding being raped is that it is a dangerous situation that doesn’t look dangerous from one perspective. Yes, it strange and often highly emotional situation, but WHO DOESN’T FACE THOSE ALL THE TIME?!?Why should this one be any different?
But as you will soon see, from another perspective those same circumstanceswill even cause professionals (who deal with crime and violence regularly) to start having kittens. Looked at from another perspective, what you may think is simply annoying and obnoxious, is a screaming danger signal.
But until you understand why one thing can be annoying (but safe) and another the whistle of a runaway training barreling towards you, you’re not going to realize you are in danger. And if you don’t realize you’re in danger, how can you be prepared to handle it? You may think that you’d be able to handle it, but as countless thousands of women who are raped every year discover the hard way — they couldn’t handle the situation they found themselves in.
In short, if you go into dangerous situation without being prepared, you’re going to get hurt.
And by being prepared we don’t just mean having a list of “I’ll just do this if it ever happens” There’s a giant gap between intellectually ‘knowing’ something and being mentally prepared to do whatever it takes to stop from being raped.
To help you avoid being raped, we’re going to tell you a story.
A Near Rape Story
A number of years ago Marc’s ex came to him about a problem with one of her classmates/friend. At a trade school they attended, a large male student had developed an obsession with the female classmate. The classmate had initially tried to be polite and keep him at a distance, but the male student became more and more unstable and obsessive. He continually tried to talk to her and — in the classroom — would find excessive reasons to touch her.
Realize this was a culinary school. In a professional kitchen there is a lot of communication and physical contact for safety reasons(1). But even given these parameters, he was excessive in his talking and touching. On the touching part, he was continually offering her backrubs (and on two occasions walking up and without being given permission and attempting to do so). Needless to say at first she was uncomfortable, but then she became angry with him. And the weirder his behavior became the more outraged she got.
This odd behavior escalated to the point of one evening, after staring at her all night, he disappeared into the men’s room. He returned 15 minutes later with a … shall we say, ‘glazed’ expression. Any way you cut it, this is an “ewwww” situation. The other students reacted in a mix of disgust and course humor. The female classmate was furious. Not only was she disgusted, but she was outraged over this public humiliation. However, when she confronted him, he laughed in her face. Realizing that this was way beyond normal, Marc’s ex came home and explained what was going on.
Marc hit the roof.
Years of experience with dealing with crime and violence told him that this was a VERY dangerous situation. One that was about to reach critical mass. All it would take is certain conditions to be ‘accidentally’ created, one small misstep by the woman and she would be attacked. What was obnoxious, socially unacceptable behavior from one perspective, was — to his experienced perspective — at best a physical assault brewing. But more likely a rape about to happen. This wasn’t just the whistle of a runaway train, this was the vibration coming up your feet. And this woman was standing dead on the tracks.
Calling the classmate to come over to their apartment, Marc listened in growing horror, not as his suspicions were confirmed. His horror wasn’t about the circumstances, but over the fact that the woman was so angry that she didn’t see the danger. All she could see/imagine/think about was her emotional outrage at being treated this way.
Marc asked what she planned to do about the situation. Upon hearing her answer, it took every bit of self-control he had not to drag her to the airport and send her home to her parents and safety. Her plan was to once again confront him and “tell him what she thought of him and his behavior.”
Given the circumstances, that was the functional equivalent of putting a loaded gun to her head and pulling the trigger. Sticking with the runaway train analogy it, it was the equivalent of announcing that she was going to charge the train and yell at it.
Despite Marc telling her that would only provoke an attack, she insisted that is what she was going to do. All she could see was her own outrage and not the danger of the situation. Despite his past of dealing with crime and violence, she thought Marc was overstating the danger. Finally, Marc was able to extract a promise from her that if — by some odd happenstance — she were ever to find herself alone with him when he had been drinking she’d not try that strategy.
In fact, she should run … fiercely.
This advice was especially relevant as that particular ‘class’ was advanced enough in the program to be attending school at night. Marc also told his girlfriend to go to the school administration the next afternoon and explain what was going on. She did. Fortunately, the president of the school was a woman, who immediately recognized the danger. She called in the female classmate and confirmed the situation. Once again the classmate was told not to confront the male student — especially while alone. Again the advice fell on anger deaf ears.
Not two nights later, the obsessed student wasn’t in class. A lot of ribbing and teasing occurred about the classmate’s “boyfriend’ not being present was done by the other students. Again she informed anyone who would listen how she was going to verbally “let him have it.” At the end of the night the students and staff either left or went to their offices, leaving Marc’s girlfriend and the classmate as the remaining few.
Finishing up before her friend, Marc’s girlfriend walked out into the parking lot. Where she was hailed from the shadows by the obsessed male student.
He was waiting in a deserted parking lot.
He was drunk.
He was asking about the classmate
He wanted to ‘talk’ to her.
Thinking quickly Marc’s girlfriend said that ‘yes, the classmate was still there, but that she had to go somewhere.’ In fact, ‘he should stay there and she’d go in and get her.’ This was good thinking. Realize that Marc’s girlfriend, although not the primary target could have become the target of his rage. That’s why she needed to get out of that parking lot too.
Going back inside she grabbed her friend and informed her that the danger she had dismissed was waiting for her outside. And if she walked out that door alone, she would be raped — or at least physically assaulted. Fortunately a male student named Art was still there (a 6′ 5″ monster from Brooklyn). Marc’s girlfriend explained what was outside and he agreed to run interference. The three of them exited. Although the obsessed classmate tried to talk to her the classmate confirmed Marc’s girlfriend’s story of her ‘having to leave’ and quickly drove away. Art, being friendly and jovial and under the guise of talking to the drunk, gave both women cover to safely escape.
The next day incident was reported to the president of the school and the obsessed student was transferred out of the class. Although nothing went onto his record, he was also ‘told’ he was under close observation for the remainder of the semester (which fortunately was both very short and graduation). Shortly there after, being in different states resolved any further problems.
Now officially speaking nothing happened(2). This story doesn’t end with a woman being raped or a drunk, would-be rapist being put in the hospital. And in our book, that makes it a raging success. No matter what else: She didn’t get raped!
Furthermore she walked away from that situation with an understanding that no matter what she thought of a situation, it’s important to pull back from one’s own emotions and take a look at it from a different perspective.
As you read the following points, keep this story in mind and see where the ideas we’re talking about apply to the story.