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The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Through a Rapist’s Eyes: How to Prevent Rape

I recently came across a checklist online called “Through a Rapist’s Eyes: How to Prevent Rape” that frustrated me. It was a list of sixteen different “tips” that can prevent women from being raped; the introduction urged all women reading the list to send it to “the female members of your family and all your female friends and associates.” The checklist ranged from descriptions of what types of hairstyles you should avoid if you do not want to get raped- apparently rapists are most likely to go after women with ponytails, buns, and braids while “women with short hair are not common targets”- to claims that rapists look for clothing that is easy to remove and even go as far as carrying scissors around to cut clothing.
One of the first things that frustrated me about this list was the fact that such a list even exists and that many girls will read this and forward it to their friends, like the list is some sort of divine, secret manual. It saddens me that the women who read this list, like myself, will constantly have these tips in the back of their minds. The list strongly reminded me that I live in a patriarchal society in which men use violence against women in order to maintain this patriarchy.
The second thing that angered me about this list is that the author- anonymous- used the word “men/man” and “rapist” interchangeably throughout the list. Judging by the quality of writing displayed within the list, the author was no William Wordsworth, therefore this interchangeability can easily be attributed to a simple mistake. However, I think that this interchangeability also presents a dark truth about our society: women are trained, both through their education and their experiences, to be afraid of men.  When we are alone in a parking garage or on a sidewalk at night, every man becomes our enemy.
This list was disturbing for many reasons. It made rape-prevention seem like a science and illustrated that rape is something that we are so familiar with that we are developing preventative measures similar to those used to prevent fires or the spread of disease. Most of all, though, it added one more weight to the burden of fear that women already carry around with them; now, on top of being fat, ugly, and unsuccessful, we must also be afraid of not having been informed enough to prevent ourselves from being raped.



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