More Hell, Fewer Dahlias: The Musings of a Radical Feminist.

Rape Schedule

Posted on: February 15, 2010

I first read about the idea of a rape schedule in Full Frontal Feminism, by Jessica Valenti. It came up today, when a campus safety announcement was sent out about a girl sitting in the front of a cab and being sexually assaulted. My roommate immediately launched into the typical “who sits in the front of a cab?! That’s so sketchy! Everyone knows you sit in the back, its basic safety!” Who can blame her? We all do it, its our first response!

Not, “who assaults a woman?!” or even “who assaults a woman while they’re WORKING?! do they really think they can get away with that?” or even “was it a real cab?! that poor woman!”

Nope. The “Who sits in the front of a cab?” response.

The idea of a rape schedule is that women are taught to avoid certain places, do certain things, and have certain habits in order to not get sexually assaulted or raped. We don’t walk alone at night. We walk in well lit places. We take cabs instead of walking four blocks because we’ve been at the bar and aren’t sure we can operate our mace. We carry mace. We wear sensible shoes when in quiet or high crime areas. We do all sorts of things to AVOID BEING RAPED.

Do people understand the significance of this? We have internalized the idea that we are in danger. And, well, we ARE!

Let’s statistic it up for a second:

1 in 6 women will be sexually assaulted.

Approximately 73% of victims know their rapists.

(Thanks to RAINN for the stats.)

We are assaulted. And apparently, many of us know the people who assault! And we learn to schedule our lives around them. We learn to schedule our lives around a constant threat, one that isn’t verbalized, one that most men and many women aren’t conscious of, because it is so deeply ingrained in our everyday life. Like my roommate.

How sad is that?

What we do and how we do it is limited because of violence directed AT US. This isn’t a random theft or something, people. This is something that happens because we’re women.

We’ll talk next about how a rape schedule, when not followed, becomes a tool to use against rape victims.

If this post upset you or inspired you, let’s talk about it.

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2 Responses to "Rape Schedule"

I’ve never been able to pinpoint exactly why it bothers me so much when people tell me not to walk home at night or hang out with a large group of guys. I should be able walk down inner city streets at night NAKED and not get raped. But no, if i walked down a street at night, completely naked, people wouldn’t say “that horrible pig who raped her” but they’d say “you shouldn’t have been naked, you were putting yourself out there!”

“This is something that happens because we’re women.” -especially good point. I don’t get told not to walk home alone at night because there are demented criminals out there, but because I’m a pretty GIRL. Like, even if the person (with good intentions, I know) says I shouldn’t walk home because of demented people, they don’t stop at the criminal, they go on to basically say that because I’m a girl, I’m going to get targeted. it’s so lame, because my GENDER is barring me from enjoying a nice summer night by myself. Same thing happens even worse with refugees in and around Sudan, where the girl will go out to get fire wood from the fields and get raped… she can’t go get wood because she’s at danger. People talking about it don’t say “we need to find those men and stop them so the girls can go out without being danger,” but rather “we need to find a way to where the girl doesn’t have to go to the field as often, so she can stay at her refugee camp.” Ok, so rather than stop the criminals and ensure freedom for the girls, you want to keep the girls safe in their camp. I know that scenario is much more complicated than that, but the basic point is that the woman takes the brunt of any sexual crime.

it’s an injustice to men, too, because the view paints men as having uncontrollable sex drives, they can’t help it if they rape someone because, hey, guys are sex-driven, so it’s the girls fault for tempting him. No, they’re not just sex animals, they are moral human beings too who can have self-control. There are plenty of sensible, respectable men who wouldn’t rape someone.

grrarafjnbjbs it’s almost as bad as places where girls are legally punished for being raped. Like, seriously, people, SHE SAID NO. why is it her fault the man didn’t listen?

[…] this day in age, what with women living by what feminist activist Jessica Valenti would call a rape schedule, it is important to be able to defend yourself against the lurking predators. And also, if you know […]

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