Cultural Defense Instead of Self Defense

Link to Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape: "Create a Cultural Defense instead of Self Defense"
Link to Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape: “Create a Cultural Defense instead of Self Defense”

I always have mace with me. It’s easily accessible on the side of my purse. However, as I walked to my car from the office the other day, I realized the weather that day made my handy little defense virtually pointless. It was violently windy and, had an attack occurred, I ran a greater risk of spraying myself in the face than being able to accurately hit my assailant.

Several politicians in the States have been arguing that a woman could easily ward off an assailant with a ballpoint pen, pepper spray, or martial arts. Having a basic knowledge of how to defend yourself is never a bad thing. However, is it enough to truly prevent a rape and guarantee a person’s safety?

As previous posts have mentioned, there are ways an individual can protect themselves in the event of an assault (see Tips for Reducing the Risk and Can You Fight Off a Rapist?). No one, however, can truly prevent an assault from happening. No one, that is, except the assailant. It is not up to the victim to prevent rape. It is up to rapists to prevent rape.

Telling a person that they’ve acquired a skill that will prevent them from being raped is a lie. It has probably improved their protection, certainly. However, the idea that some sort of preparation is enough to deter a rapist ultimately leads to victim blaming.

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