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On sexual attacks: prevention and response

June 2, 2016

After years and years of thinking and talking about this, here is what I have in terms of clarity:

Before a woman is attacked, here is what we should tell one another and our daughters: “Listen, it sucks, but you need to be careful. Get your own drink, guard your drink, don’t get so drunk that you lose judgement, be careful about who you’re around and the spaces you’re in. And be aware that some assholes take it as an invitation if you wear something tight, or low cut, or high cut*. It COMPLETELY sucks, but these are the things you should know.”

After a woman is attacked, here is what we should say: “THAT COMPLETE WASTE OF GROCERIES**. Let’s get the police, let’s prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law. This is WRONG, he is EVIL…” etc etc etc. After a woman is attacked, people who even hint at it being her fault should be universally shamed and corrected.

The best analogy I have is getting into a wreck with a drunk driver. “Honey, it sucks, but you’ve got to be careful on the road. ALWAYS wear your seatbelt, pay attention to the road, watch out for other drivers, and drive slower in bad weather.” But after the person ends up in a hospital after being hit by a drunk driver, you don’t say, “Well were you wearing your seatbelt? Did you see him coming? How fast were you going?” It’s the asshole drunk driver’s fault, and it’s ridiculous to hold the other driver accountable.

TL;DR: Prepare, but STOP BLAMING THE VICTIMS.

-Jen

*Of course, some assholes will take it as an invitation simply that you’re female.

**Language toned down for public consumption.

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