This won’t be a long post, there isn’t much I have to say.
The other day, while stalking someone on Facebook, like you do, I chanced upon THIS picture. It was a photo captioned with the various things a rape victim should keep in mind about rapists that can help them be better prepared for an unexpected attack.
The picture, though intended to get as many eyeballs to the extremely helpful caption as possible, highlighted a very important point that continues to plague the minds of most people today.
In our heads, we turn rapists into powerful beings.
In the picture, the Rapists are menacing and confident, completely aware that the victim of their actions is completely helpless and can do nothing to prevent themselves from the evil that is to befall them. This perception of the victim is reinforced by the look of horror and helplessness on the face of the victim, who appears to be submissively accepting her plight, as much as she is anguished by it. Quite antagonistic to the message that goes along with the picture, wouldn’t you say?
While it is important that potential rape targets understand that rapists pose a considerable threat to them, it is equally, if not more, important that these potential targets be continuously reminded that they are not helpless. The image of a powerful, omnipresent rapist that has been fed into the mind of every young girl in the country needs to be destroyed and replaced with the true image of the average rapist, a pathetic, confused little person with very little clue of how drastic their actions are.
I don’t mean to say that the threat of rape is to be undermined, nor that rapists are to be treated with any sort of leniency whatsoever. The point is not to ask people to disregard the threat that these lunatics pose to society and its members. The point is to make the audience understand that rapists, just like any other criminal, are mortal, weak, pathetic and beatable.
In a crisis situation, a person subject to an attempt to rape would be under high levels of stress and experiencing a thousand different emotions. Rationally speaking, the least we, as the environment to that victim, can do is remove fear from that array of experiences.
Screaming for help, using the pepper spray in your purse, attacking the attacker in sensitive areas of the body, keeping a phone ready with the appropriate help numbers dialed in high risk areas, these are all brilliant ideas to protect targets from the rape menace, but they cannot be brought into implementation unless the logical response behavior is allowed to function without being clouded by fear and the feeling of helplessness.
I know a lot of what I’m saying is extremely difficult. I’ve never been subject to any such situation (hold the immature humor) and that probably makes it easier for me to sit here in my room and belch this out onto a keyboard, but I’m trying to think logically to remove any obstacles there may be to a rape target approaching a crisis situation with a helpful, pre-planned defense mechanism, and the fear and helplessness instilled into them since an early age tops that list.
Once again, I don’t mean to offend anyone, undermine anyone’s suffering or advocate any sort of sympathy for a sexual offender.
I’m just saying, remove the fear of the threat, and you’ll remove the threat.