We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
Ladies: want to know the secret to not getting raped? According to a rape prevention e-mail circling the Internets, all you have to do is always live in fear of being pulled into a van, violated, mutilated, and left for dead at any moment (also, cut off all your hair).
These rape prevention tips, like all trustworthy advice, came to me courtesy of a friend’s ex-roommate’s mom’s yoga instructor. Some of the ideas here, culled from interviews with imprisoned rapists, are helpful enough—-“be aware of your surroundings”; “go for the groin”; “if you are ever thrown into the trunk of a car, kick out the back tail lights and stick your arm out the hole and start waving like crazy.” Others—-don’t wear clothes you can remove, stop helping babies, never ever drive anywhere—-are more likely to keep women dependent than protected.
As we’ve seen before, targeting rape prevention advice at women can start off as empowering, and slowly descend into crippling—-or worse, preemptive victim blaming. I don’t know—-maybe it’s because I hesitate to take the advice of convicted rapists. But something tells me that it might be more worthwhile focus our efforts on the rapists who rape people, instead of burdening every woman with paranoia, hairstyle advice, and unnecessary umbrellas.
TIP #1: DON’T GROW OUT YOUR HAIR.
The first thing men look for in a potential victim is hairstyle.. They are most likely to go after a woman with a ponytail, bun, braid or other hairstyle that can easily be grabbed. They are also likely to go after a woman
with long hair. Women with short hair are not common targets.
Yes: rapists are administering hairstyle advice now. As a woman with short hair—-I told my stylist to give me the ‘Ol Rape-Proof Cut w/ Blow Dry—-I find this tidbit a bit counter-intuitive (and vaguely insulting). I’m sure some potential rapists must consider us short-hairs too masculine, sexless, or gay to bother to grab. On the other hand, there are those rapists who think that a good forced entry is all we need to become real women. So, I don’t know—-wear a hat?
TIP #2: DON’T WEAR ANYTHING THAT CAN BE CUT BY A SCISSOR.
The second thing men look for is clothing. They will look for women who’s clothing is easy to remove quickly. Many of them carry scissors around specifically to cut clothing.
Good thing I invested in a full wardrobe of rubber overalls this year. Sure, only wearing clothes that cannot be cut off—-much less manually removed!—-from your body may make you more resistant to heat stroke and/or drowning. Ask yourself: Do I really need to be leaving the house today?
TIP #3: DON’T STAY OUT LATE (DON’T WAKE UP EARLY, EITHER).
Men are most likely to attack & rape in the early morning, between 5:00 a.m. and 8:30 a.m.
So you should probably drop out of high school.
TIP #4: DON’T EAT. DON’T WORK. DON’T PISS.
The number one place women are abducted from/attacked is grocery store parking lots. The number two: office parking lots/garages. Number three: public restrooms.
Don’t have a man to protect you? Think twice about performing every daily human function. Bonus: Fearing the grocery store doubles as a cost-effective diet.
TIP #5: DON’T LEAVE THE HOUSE WITHOUT A LARGE, PHALLIC OBJECT.
These men said they would not pick on women who have umbrellas, or other similar objects that can be used from a distance, in their hands.
Not raining? Try carying around a “similar object” everywhere you go—-like a big lead pole, or a decorative cane. You know the old saying: better off carrying a useless decorative cane than sorry.
TIP #6: DON’T CARE SO MUCH ABOUT BABIES.
Someone just told me that her friend heard a crying baby on her porch the night before last, and she called the police because it was lat e and she thought it was weird. The police told her ‘Whatever you do, DO NOT open the door.’ The lady then said that it sounded like the baby had crawled near a window, and she was worried that it would crawl to the street and get run over. The policeman said, ‘We already have a unit on the way, whatever you do, DO NOT open the door.’ He told her that they think a serial killer has a baby’s cry recorded and uses it to coax women out of their homes thinking that someone dropped off a baby. He said they have not verified it, but have had several calls by women saying that they hear baby’s cries outside their doors when they’re home alone at night. Please pass this on and DO NOT open the door for a crying baby.
TIP #7: DON’T BE SO COMFORTABLE LIVING YOUR LIFE.
IT IS ALWAYS BETTER TO BE SAFE THAN SORRY. (And better paranoid than dead.)
Paranoid or Dead: The modern woman’s dilemma.
TIP #8: DON’T BE SUCH A WOMAN.
As women, we are always trying to be sympathetic: STOP! It may get you raped or killed. Ted Bundy, the serial killer, was a good-looking, well-educated man, who ALWAYS played on the sympathies of unsuspecting women. He walked with a cane, or a limp, and often asked ‘for help’ into his vehicle or with his vehicle, which is when he abducted his next victim.
Our tipster tells us to stop being “sympathetic,” but the real message here is, “stop being so fucking stupid.” (Oh, and the old useless decorative cane trick? We invented that shit). It’s not difficult to parse the real message in this advice—-If you don’t want to get raped, stop being a woman. And if you can’t do that, live a life in complete fear of who you are. Stop growing your hair out—-you tempt the rapists. Stop wearing skirts—-you tempt the rapists. And then a little curveball: Stop doing anything too manly, either, like leaving the house without a man—-you tempt the rapists. Just stop having a vagina to tempt the rapists already. Instead, live your life paralyzed by a fear of rape, because, as one tip says, it’s “better than having them find your body in a remote location.” Because, as women, that’s our only choice: hate our lives, or die horrifically. Even the vagina spaceship sounds better than this.