Sexual Violence: Protection vs. Prevention

Link to The Guardian: "How to Prevent Sexual Assault"
Link to The Guardian: “How to Prevent Sexual Assault”

There is a difference between protecting yourself against rape and preventing rape. Protection is doing what you can to reduce the risk of an attack.

Prevention is the responsibility of those who rape, not their victims.

Just as we hang smoke detectors on our walls and ceilings to reduce the risk of being killed in a house fire, so there are things that men and women can do to protect against an act of violence. That’s protection. However, just as no quantity of smoke detectors can prevent a fire from starting, so personal precautions against assault cannot ultimately prevent an assault from happening.

Rape is an action and, therefore, cannot be stopped unless the people performing the action choose to stop. That’s real rape prevention; it’s not telling potential victims how to act but telling potential offenders how not to act.

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