OK THEN, LET’S TALK ABOUT RAPE, BABY

Uhm, NO sir, NO ma’am.

This image on how to prevent rape has been circulating on the interwebs lately, and at the bottom of this misinformed “guide” says “RAPE | talk about it | prevent it.

OK. Let’s talk.

Before we discuss, let’s translate for our non-Tagalog speaking readers.

  1. DO NOT casually meet up with text or chat mates especially if you don’t know them well.
  2. DO NOT wear short clothing.
  3. DO NOT walk alone in dark places
  4. When on a date, DO NOT drink alcohol
  5. When on a date, DO NOT leave your beverage unattended as it may be open to contamination of drugs that may incapacitate you
  6. If possible, learn self-defense.
  7. Carry teargas or pepper spray or use any item that may harm an attacker.
  8. DO NOT panic, think of ways to escape your attacker.
  9. Scream for HELP.
  10. Ask help from the police.

Ok, I get that we need “Constant Vigilance!” (hehe Harry Potter reference, props to Mad-Eye), but there are a few items on this list that are problematic—the target audience makes the very nature of the ‘guide’ itself again, problematic.

As I sat in my car reading this guide—which should really be renamed “How to Not Get Raped” (Paalala Para Hindi Ma-Rape)—already fuming from the monster that is Manila traffique I had to wonder, “Why is there no guide on ‘How to Not Rape'”. So I thought, Geo, be helpful, let’s change that. Which leads me to propose—

that the best way to prevent rape IS TO TELL PEOPLE NOT TO COMMIT RAPE.

Again, constant vigilance and mindfulness is one thing, but what is truly mind-boggling is that as a society—here and in many places across the globe—the responsibility of “not getting raped” falls on the victim. Like. WHAT. THE ACTUAL FUCK.

Yeah. Absolutely. It’s the victim’s fault because everyone makes a conscious effort to get raped. (In case you didn’t get it that was sarcasm.)

You know who makes conscious decisions to rape though? FUCKING RAPISTS.

Rape is not a joke. Rape is serious. It is a violation of an individual’s personhood, their physical, mental, psychological and sexual agency and autonomy. That’s why I think rapists should be punished to the fullest extent of whatever laws exist—as well as any individual who falsely claims rape. It is not a joke, it is not an excuse, it is not alibi, it is not revenge. It is a very real thing that individuals the world over have lived, have struggled to live through and hopefully have overcome and somehow made peace with.

In a 2017 statistic published by CNN Philippines ONE PERSON IS RAPED EVERY HOUR in the Philippines. Read, person, not woman. That could be your sister. Your mother. Your bro. Your niece or nephew. Your coworker. Your friend. Your child. Me. You. Not because we are ‘asking for it’—NO ONE WHO IS EVER RAPED IS ASKING FOR IT, that’s why it’s called rape—but because rapists are emboldened to do so through institutionalized victim-blaming.

And what is victim blaming? I’m glad you asked.

Victim-blaming is the act of imposing responsibility of the crime on BOTH perpetrator AND victim. As stated by Women’s Movement Gabriela’s statement for the Inquirer: “short skirts and drinking don’t cause rape, rapists do cause rape.”

Victim blaming is a real thing—and it’s dangerous. What it does is allows rapists to believe that it wasn’t entirely their fault. I’ll say it again for those in the back: We do not consciously decide to go out there and get raped; rapists consciously decide to commit rape. Are y’all starting to see how victim-blaming could be problematic?

There’s quite a bit of literature out there on victim blaming. Google is your friend. Ok, let’s move on.

Lemme respond to each of the points presented in the original guide with hopes of creating a new guide on “How to Not Rape”.

 

1. DO NOT casually meet up with text or chat mates especially if you don’t know them well.

Ok, one, this is solid realistic common sense advice. Not just for rape, but theft, murder, etc.

Constant vigilance. I know, BUT why perpetuate a world where the victims are the ones to be mindful? Wouldn’t it be a nicer (albeit idealistic) society where criminals are held accountable and therefore less likely to commit crime? Shouldn’t law-abiding citizens be the ones to live in comfort and security? If we are the ‘citizens’ and ‘they’ are the criminals, why does it fall to us to be responsible for the things that THEY do?

Constant vigilance IS our current reality… there are predators out there. They lure their victims into meeting and then… So for those people. Here are my points to guide you.

Don’t trick people into meeting with you so you can rape them.

Don’t be an asshole.

Don’t be a criminal.

Don’t rape.

 

2.  DO NOT wear short clothing.

This is going to be the longest part of this exposition because for me, this is the most bullshit bullet point of all. AGAIN. Our outfits are not an invitation. Our bodies are not an invitation. Speaking for myself only—I dress for myself. Not for you. Not for him. For me. Don’t. You. Even.

Enter the temptation argument. In case you aren’t familiar, it’s the conservative excuse that men in particular are strangely susceptible to short bottoms and plunging necklines.

“If the temptation is there, we’re men, we’re only human, we can’t help it…”

You can’t help it?

You can’t help it.

YOU. CAN’T. HELP. IT.

Please. Please tell that to the billions of humans across the world who have never and will most probably never commit rape. Tell it to the humans that each rape victim interacted with through their daily goings-ons that DID NOT RAPE THEM. Their outfit did not cause their rapes, as proven by the others who didn’t rape them—Rapists did.

As far as I know, their is no “rape victim profile”. Please correct me if I’m wrong on this. There is no particular age, race, height, income, and any other demographic that is quantifiably significant in profiling rape victims. There is no clothing color, no clothing length, no fabric type that rapists are attracted to. Rapists rape when they feel like they can. Students, housewives, salespeople, bankers, party-goers, college students, grandmothers, dates are only a few subgroups of people who have been raped—in all manners of dress and uniforms.

THERE IS AN EXHIBIT IN BELGIUM THAT DISPLAYS VICTIMS’ OUTFITS ON THE OCCASIONS THEY WERE RAPED. You guys have to check it out. Button-downs. Sweaters. Trousers. Work Uniforms. It is not the length of an outfit that causes rape. RAPISTS CAUSE RAPE. Please read the article. It sheds light on the damaging question a lot of victims hear when they come forward: “What were you wearing?” This exhibit explores that.

Temptation… PUH-LEASE. It’s called Free Will for a reason. You can choose to do right. You can choose to do wrong. Again. The billion of people who have not raped and most probably will not rape. If you give in to this ‘temptation’. It doesn’t just make you weak. I refuse to believe that it makes you “only human”. It makes you unfit to be employed. It makes you unfit to hold office. It makes you unfit to roam and mingle freely with THE REST OF THE WORLD THAT DOESN’T FUCKING COMMIT RAPE. My advice?

Don’t choose wrong.

Don’t be an asshole.

Don’t rape.

 

3.  DO NOT walk alone in dark places.

Please see Number 1.

Don’t assault someone in a dark alley.

Don’t be an asshole.

Don’t rape.

Also, is it possible to provide lighting for these dark places? Hello LGUs.

 

4. When on a date DO NOT drink alcohol.

Please see Number 1.

Don’t take advantage of someone who is intoxicated.

Don’t be an asshole.

Don’t rape.

 

5. When on a date DO NOT leave your beverage unattended as it may be open to contamination of drugs that may incapacitate you.

Please see Number 1.

Don’t drug strangers.

Don’t take advantage of drugged strangers.

Don’t be an asshole.

Don’t rape.

 

6. If possible learn self-defense. + 7. Carry teargas or pepper spray or use any item that may harm the attacker.

Please see Number 1.

Don’t attack people.

Don’t put someone in a situation where they have to defend themself.

Don’t be an asshole.

Don’t rape.

If this is the LGU’s stance, are there subsidized self-defense courses they can offer law-abiding citizens? Since it is now the general public’s responsibility to not. get. raped. (as opposed to people NOT RAPING. I swear. Am I crazy? How is this still a reality?! I’m close to can’t even-ing) As proposed by LGUs will these aforementioned pepper sprays and teargas be made available to the public through government subsidy?

Also. If you do find yourself in an assault situation, this is my personal belief: defending yourself in any way humanly possible is fair game. Your attacker has forfeited their human privilege for respect and physical safety the second they assaulted you. Defend yourself even in the most primal way you can. Gouge out their eyes. Bite off a chunk of their face. You have nails. You have teeth. Legs that can kick. Tear that motherfucker to shreds. BUT

Don’t rape.

 

8. DO NOT panic, think of ways to escape your attacker.

Ok, this is applicable to any situation that may cause us stress or anxiety. Kind of good common sense practice, but also SEE NUMBER 1. And—

Don’t rape.

 

9. Scream for HELP. + 10. Ask help from the police.

Scream, shout, yell, ruin your vocal chords and get help. BUT ALSO—

DON’T FUCKING RAPE.

Not to criticize the local police force, but as mentioned in the Inquirer article above there have been situations where the Police have engaged in questionable practices as well.

 

***Disclaimer

Let me be quite plain, this is not an attack on the Angono Municipality Police. Their intentions were to be helpful, I know this in my heart. And I am not attacking the government. I am speaking to a larger flawed system that perpetuates internalized misogyny, toxic masculinity and victim shaming.

NOONE SHOULD BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR BEING RAPED.

IT IS NEVER THE VICTIM’S FAULT. That’s why they are a victim. Please see this article from 2016 published by YoungStar. It’s NEVER the victim’s fault.

Imagine this. For intrinsic (to the original ‘guide’) purposes we will assume the victim is a female. This female is alone, intoxicated and unconscious in a dark place, wearing a bikini top and the shortest skirt imaginable.

Does she want or deserve to be raped? Is it her fault?

NO. Her condition didn’t cause her to be raped. A rapist did.

Why is it ok for drunk Japanese businessmen to pass out on the street but not women in general? It’s systemic misogyny. Huhu I don’t want to sound like a radical, but guys, seriously this does not make logical sense and this is not ok.

HOW DARE YOU BLAME A RAPE VICTIM FOR BEING RAPED. This is why rape victims are terrified to come forward. Why they feel disenfranchised…

 

Let’s put the ‘crime’ in milder terms. Let’s change the crime. Robbery.

Under any circumstance under the law is it ok to rob someone? No? Then how can you blame the person who was robbed or held up? Yes, maybe they were ‘careless’, ‘foolish’, ‘lackadaisical’; but them being robbed is NOT THEIR FAULT.

That’s our reality. The world is dangerous. That’s just material things. Imagine if it’s you. Your body. Your identity. Your personhood.

It’s our reality. But maybe instead of telling us how to deal with a dangerous world, we need to work together to make the world a less dangerous place.

If there are two positive takeaways from the ‘guide’ it’s 1) there is a concern for rape occurrences—but the pieces of advice are (in my opinion at least) flawed; and 2) their final call to action—talk about it—has sparked something – at least in me and in Gabriela with their statement in inquirer.

Let’s talk about these things.

Things need to change.

Discourse needs to happen to affect change.

People can talk. BUT PEOPLE ALSO NEED TO LISTEN.

Women. People. Manila. The Universe. The cosmos. TALK AND LISTEN. The world is on the cusp of change. Educate yourself and take a stand.

Educate yourself. Inform yourself. EMPOWER YOURSELF.

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD EMPOWER YOURSELF AND KNOW YOUR WORTH—its’s truly much more than anyone outside of you can imagine.

 

Yes, this was ranty. Yes, this was emotional. And I’m not sorry. Let’s get this discourse started, sustained, and made effective.

Disagree with me? That’s cool. Let’s grab coffee.

Ayt. It’s a Friday and I’ve dark places to be, drinking alcohol, meeting with strangers and hoping to not get raped.

We’ve started to talk about rape, baby. So what’s next? It may take a village to raise a baby, baby—but to change policy and reception? It’ll take a country.

If there was a thesis or bottomline to this wordy and lengthy article it’s this:

 

DON’T RAPE.

 

 

 

Image Credits:
Angono Rape Guide saved through Facebook circulation.

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