I get so frustrated with the lack of personal responsibility in our society. The current wave of public opinion on sexual harassment drives me crazy. Victim blaming is flat out WRONG. Every day, I drive past female college students with words on their rear ends, running with ear buds in their ears, oblivious to everything but the phone clutched in their hands. Let me be clear: assault is NEVER okay. It is never the victim’s fault. But it IS our responsibility as women to protect ourselves.
The comments I read in a Huffington post piece infuriated me, and I am deeply concerned about the sexually charged culture of our schools. Victim blaming is nothing new. Remember the movie, The Accused?
Can we agree that no means no? Can we agree that rape, assault, and harassment is never okay?
But here’s the thing – drinking and driving isn’t okay either. Driving recklessly is wrong. Yet I still get in a vehicle with airbags, put on my seatbelt, and drive defensively. Burglary and home invasions are wrong. Yet I lock my doors, don’t open the door to strangers, and have a security system (and my husband and I are both pretty handy with a gun). What I’m saying is to think about your actions. Just as I try to make myself a less attractive target in a parking lot by walking with purpose, with my keys in my hand and looking around. Women can do things to make themselves a less attractive target.
It is time for women to start ACTING defensively. Take responsibility for your own protection. What are some things women can do to protect themselves?
Dress appropriately. I’m not saying you can’t dress sexy. Go for it. But there’s a difference between dressing sexy and dressing in a way that gives a bad guy easy access. I recently saw a picture of a young woman who was very nearly a victim in an underage club that had a “rape room” in the back. She was literally wearing a bra and a mini-skirt that was so short you could see her thong. I thought at first that she’d been attacked. Then it came out in the news report that she was just dancing. That was her club attire. I am NOT saying she is to blame for what she was wearing, but I am saying that she was an easy target.
Use the buddy system. If you go to a party, have a buddy. Agree that you will keep each other in sight, and look out for each other. Any time you are alone, you put yourself at risk of attack.
Choose your (potential) sexual partners wisely. Make sure you know someone (and trust them) before you are alone with them. I’m a bit twisted and read a lot of serial killer stuff. That handsome guy you fall for at first sight might not be such a nice guy. Ted Bundy was handsome and likeable and seemed trustworthy, too. And in more recent times, we heard about the Craigslist Killer.
Limit alcohol and drugs. You can not be fully able to protect yourself if you are impaired, and if you are impaired, you may allow yourself to get into a dangerous situation.
Be aware of your surroundings. Know who you are with. Know where you are. And see the previous point. If you’re totally wasted to the point that you can’t even say no, you’re not aware of your surroundings.
Take a self defense course. I have my conceal & carry. The class was about so much more than just carrying a weapon – a good part of the class was about being aware of your surroundings, how to get out of a scary situation, and how to spot red flags that should put you on high alert. Most colleges offer self defense classes through their campus police departments, and so do many martial arts gyms.
Those are my tips. What do you want your daughters, sisters and friends to do to protect themselves? What do you do to protect yourself?
And if you’re looking for an escape from reality, join Beth and Beau at the Diamond J Ranch in my book, Denim & Diamonds.