Don’t Put Yourself in a Situation Where You Could Be Raped
At first glance, this is the biggest “NO DUH!” statement we could make. And yet, it is something that the nearly 100,000 US women — who are raped every year — didn’t manage! So obviously this idea needs to be looked at more closely.
Realize that rape — no matter what kind — doesn’t just come out of nowhere.
Like all crime, it is a process! The process takes time to develop! Certain conditions must be met. Learn to recognize what they look like so when you see someone trying to develop them, you’ll know this situation ISN’T normal — nor is it safe. There are certain conditions that ONLY exist together when things aren’t kosher. The better you are at situational awareness, the easier it will be to spot a developing situation.
Realize that the situation can develop in one night OR as in the case of the story you’ve just read, it can take months to slowly escalate to the point of crisis. Believe it or not, those are the hardest ones to spot coming because often the woman’s anger, emotions and suppositions about the situation blindher to the developing danger. Like the woman in the story, her outrage over what she thought the situation still was, didn’t let her see what it had become.
We’ve talked about the rapist profile elsewhere. Simply stated, there are certain people that you don’t want to be alone with.
This goes double if he’s been paying undo interest towards you.
This goes triple if he’s been drinking
This goes quadruple if you’ve been drinking.
Be especially concerned if you ‘accidentally’ run into him in these conditions. We cannot stress this idea strongly enough. These conditions combined with isolation are the green light for rape.
Realize the fact that because rape is a process that takes time to develop, YOU have the opportunity to recognize the developing danger and take steps to avoid it. And if you can’t avoid the situation going physical, you’ve bought yourself time enough time to mentally prepare to do what you must in order toprevent being raped.
We cannot stress enough the importance of giving yourself time to maneuver and change your mindset. If you don’t give yourself that, the chances of you avoiding/preventing a rape are about the same as you successfully head butting that runaway train barreling down on you.
If you have even the slightest doubt about someone stay in public with him. Do NOT go off alone with him … and by this we especially mean don’t accept offers of rides in his car from him. (One of the draw backs of being an independent woman is that you have to turn down rides of convenience that could get you raped). Oh BTW, going over alone to a couple of guys apartment alone does NOT constitute safety and not being isolated (you’re now isolated with TWO guys).
If someone you know is giving off weird vibes, the same rule about staying in public with him applies. Understand the significance of fringe areas and why they are dangerous. Weird vibes + fringe area= bad juju.
Also realize — in a house full of people — you can put yourself into a fringe area with a potential rapist by simply being isolated in a room with him. Whether you willingly go in there together or he follows you, you’re in a fringe area. If you sense something is wrong, GET BACK TO THE GROUP!
A game you can play to teach yourself about fringe areas is, as you go about your daily business, begin to notice when you are in situations where it would take at least 30 seconds for someone to get to you. Something a simple as glancing around a mall parking lot as you are walking to your car can begin to acquaint you with how to spot fringe areas. This skill goes beyond just rape, it very much an overall personal safety issue. Also realize that walls are NOT your friend. Although technically you are only a few feet away from someoneon the other side of a wall, that wall will prevent them from knowing that theyneed to come to you aid — especially if there is music playing. (See why we say you can be in a fringe area even though there are people in the house?)
On the other hand, we don’t want you to be paranoid. Realize one of the nice things about being alone in a big parking lot is that you ARE alone. It’s not what-if someone creepy shows up, it’s that there are no creepy people there. The same time that it would take for someone to come to your assistance is also the same time it would take for a bad guy to get close to you. But that’s only IF you let him. A nice thing about big deserted spaces is that you have lots of room to move to keep someone away from you.
Do NOT Incapacitate Yourself
The basic rule of thumb to avoid rapes, drunk driving charges, destroyed cars and getting killed in accidents is NEVER get hammered any place where you aren’t planning to spend the night. And don’t ever spend the night somewhere that you don’t know and trust everyone there.
And — ‘Oh, he’s cool’ does not constitute trusting someone.
If someone is around who has certain characteristics common to rapists, then as much as you may not like the idea, getting crawling on your lips drunk that evening is off the schedule of events.
In Marc’s old neighborhood there was an attitude of “Don’t make it easier to kill you than to leave you alive, you won’t like the results.” In the same vein, “Don’t get drunk with a rapist, you won’t like the results.”
Is it okay to get a good buzz working? Well, even if we tell you no, we know you’re going to do it, so that’s not the issue. It’s knowing to keep your buzz — if not in public — then at least in the company of your friends.
Watch For It Going Weird
When it comes to rape, everyone and his sister will tell you to ‘trust your feelings.’ And yet those 100,000 women who are raped every year in the US, seem to have missed that oft repeated point.
Or maybe the point isn’t being put across in a way that is as understandable as it needs to be.
This is a rather long section, but it has to be in order to convey, perhaps the most important idea, to keep you from being raped. And that is it’s more than just trusting your feelings, it’s finding out if they are accurate (and doing something about it) before you get raped.
First off, we like to poke fun at people who say “You must always be aware!” Aware of WHAT? A keen fashion sense is awareness. So too is noticing that guy over there has a really nice butt. While we’re at it, so is seeing that blonde over there is giving your boyfriend the eye. All of those are types of awareness. However, those won’t save you from getting raped. And yet again and again you are told “be aware.”
On the other hand — and this is a very legitimate counter point by women — is they don’t want to live their lives in constant fear and paranoia. Which face it, “all men are potential rapists” and “You must always be aware” does come across as promoting paranoia. Basically, encouraging women to constantly exist in a vague and uneasy awareness, gives credence to these women’s attitude. And why the advice is so often disregarded.
Our attitude is awareness without knowledge is paranoia. That’s why we ask “Aware of WHAT?”
What are the specific danger signs that a woman must — not constantly be on guard against — but look for in certain kinds of situations? If she doesn’t see them, then relax and go back to what you are doing. (Gee, a deserted parking lot, that means NOBODY IS THERE! Then relax, nobody is there to attack you.)
On the other hand, if the danger signals are there, then DON’T ignore, dismiss or negate them. It’s time to stop thinking a certain way start thinking another way. Most of all, it’s time to change your behavior. (A deserted parking lotexcept for the guy who has been trying to get you to go out with him and who is obviously drunk is no longer safe).
The profile of characteristics common to rapists and the Five Stages of Violent Crime will give you a lot of helpful knowledge to base a realistic and practical set of standards as to what kind of dangerous signs you need to be looking for. If you see them, then there is a problem. But, guess what? If you don’tsee them, then it’s time to shift back to your other kind of awareness … like scoping out the cute butts in the vicinity.
Our second problem with “trust your feelings” is this: Who doesn’t get confused by society’s weirdness?
It’s a BIG and confusing world. And face it, we deal with people all the timethat we’re uneasy about. Let’s see who can make you feel uncomfortable dealing with them. The skanky bum who looks like he’s about to try to pan handle you? How about that ethnic guy who’s leering at you? That weird geeky guy who fixes your computer? The Goth chick with the purple and black hair and who-knows-how-many-unseen-piercings who’s sneering at you? That flannel shirted, baseball hat wearing truck driver standing next to you in line? Do they freak you out? Do you feel uncomfortable because you don’t know how to talk to them?
Face it, it’s really easy to be at a loss at how to deal with all the different kinds of people you’re going to run across. And sooner or later, you’re going to come across someone who makes you uncomfortable. Among city dwellers, every day of our lives our feelings of unease and discomfort are triggered every day.
And yet somehow trusting this feeling is supposed to save you from rape? How?
Let’s start out with the fact that there is a BIG difference between ‘weird’ and ‘dangerous.’ The barking moonbat who wants to talk to you about how the CIA is broadcasting microwave mind control beams directly into his head, really isn’t dangerous. On the other hand the classmate who is obsessing on you and always trying to talk and touch you is. So too is a date who reveals himself to be a ‘mean drunk’ or begins to exhibit more and more of the characteristics common to rapists.
While we’re making this list, add in someone who is too pushy about getting to sex isn’t a good thing either. Remember what we said in the Safe Dating pageand the Bonding Process, it’s a two way interview … an interview that you can decide that he has failed. And if you decide someone has failed it spectacularly, it’s time to exit.
Here’s our point. It ISN’T just about your feelings, it’s about what is happening.
Trusting your feelings isn’t enough. That needs to be augmented by watching for if the person developing the conditions he needs in order to attack you.
See unlike the actual attack, developing these conditions isn’t obvious. And that is why so many people blow it. It isn’t just that they don’t trust their feelings, it’s that they are hesitant to act on those feelings until a blatant danger becomes manifest. Well, by that time, it’s too late.
But here’s something you need to know. Although the danger signals of a developing attack don’t come with flashing lights and sirens:
1) They are very real and observable.
2) They are both knowable and easily recognizable once you know them.
3) They will ALWAYS show up for a pending attack.
4) The time to act is NOW
5) If you act to derail the process in its development, you won’t have
to use violence to keep from being raped.
The time to act on your feelings is when you see the small signs.
To give you an idea of what we’re talking about imagine that you’re driving on a freeway looking for an exit. The reason that most people ‘trusting their feelings’ doesn’t work is that they aren’t looking for the road signs. They are actually looking for the exit. They’re speeding down the highway saying to themselves ‘I know there’s a red building at the exit I want.’ Even though they may have a ‘feeling’ they are getting close, when they go driving by that building they’ll realize they’ve missed the exit.
Sticking with the driving analogy, ‘trusting you feelings’ works when you know about road signs. It’s not the exit, but that sign tells you the exit is coming up. Not only is that sign is miles before the actual exit, but when you get the feeling you are getting close to the exit, you start looking for the road signs. When you start getting a bad feeling about a situation, you don’t start looking for the ‘red building’ of danger, by that time it’s too late. When you start getting uneasy feelings you start looking for road signs that danger is down the road.
This gives you time and space to maneuver your way out of being attacked.
The third, problem about ‘trust your feelings’ is all too often personal benefitcauses women to blow off the danger signs. This is what we mean when we say that the danger signs are often ignored, dismissed or minimized.
The warnings lights are flashing and the bells are ringing, but the woman is having too good of a time or is getting too much benefit out of the circumstances to pay attention. This attitude could be summed up as “Danger signals? I’m having too much fun to worry about danger signals!” Not only is she on her way to a wreck, but every time she sees a warning sign she actually speeds up, so as not to be able to read the sign.
If this sounds like blaming, our answer is “If the shoe fits.” To begin with there’s a big difference between blame and responsibility. Second of all, a whole lot of people use blame to justify their own bad behavior. Having said that, we know how easy it is to decide that it’s just too much fun and continue with behavior that is heading you towards a wreck. Since our approach is to help you avoid wrecks (instead of making you feel better about having been in one) then this behavior needs to be addressed for what it is.
Now the bad news, making the “I’m having too much fun” decision IS a form of trusting your feelings.
It’s the feeling of selfishness. It’s the feeling that this is fun and you want more, so you ignore the danger signs. If
a) you’re not willing to slow down on your ‘fun’ when you see the
b) you think it’s other people’s responsibility not to do you wrong
while you’re having fun (including putting yourself into diminished
then there’s not a whole lot anyone can do to keep you from getting raped … including yourself.
Yeah, it ruins your fun, but if things start looking weird, it’s time to set aside your fun and pay attention to those signs that are niggling for your attention.
It’s amazing how often life boils down to knowing which feelings to trust.