Woman, protect thyself

In my most recent article, “What third-wave feminism is fighting for,” I made the point that women need to protect themselves from rape instead of expecting men to do it for them. I think it’s a point worth delving into fully here.

It used to be that society protected women. Back in the days of wolves lurking outside and barbarians marauding, protecting women was key to a society’s survival. Basically, one man could impregnate multiple women in a short amount of time, women who normally bore one child at a time, every nine months. It was a numbers game. But we, in modern Western society, don’t live in that kind of world anymore and have not for a while. Feminism came along and demanded the dismantling of those old systems of female protection, which they saw as the patriarchal oppression of women. Society listened and they were dismantled.

But then feminists discovered something that most people already knew: the world is a dark and scary place with mean people who will hurt you. And in 2014, feminism, which used to have the slogan “I am woman, hear me roar,” has now digressed into “I am woman, hear me whine.” The movement that used to be about “female empowerment” now wants those old systems back, and they’re starting with sexual assault. For example, It’s On Us is really “it’s on men to protect women from sexual assault.” Affirmative consent is really old-school female protection with a modern veneer.

But feminists, I’ve got something to tell you. You cannot count on men to be solely the ones to protect you from sexual assault. No, you have to protect yourself as much as you can. “It’s on us” should really be “it’s on you.” “But that’s victim-blaming,” you say. That may be, but if feminism is the radical notion that women are human, then you better be expected to be treated like one.

Let’s suppose I walked down the street in the most crime-ridden neighborhood in the most crime-ridden city in the country flashing large amounts of cash and then I get mugged and shot. When I wake in the hospital, do you think I’m going to be told, “Poor baby, we need to teach people not to mug”? Of course I won’t. I’ll be told that maybe I shouldn’t have walked down the street in the most crime-ridden neighborhood in the most crime-ridden city in the country flashing large amounts of cash. But suddenly when it comes to women and sexual assault, logic and common sense fly out the window, and its victim-blaming to say maybe you shouldn’t have gotten yourself passed-out drunk at that party.

Feminists, you cannot have it both ways. You cannot sit there and demand to be treated as equals while expecting men to come running at your beck and call to protect you from things that go bump in the night. You created this by demanding that the old systems be dismantled. The genie is out of the bottle, and now you have to live with it. It’s time you act like the humans you want to be and protect yourselves from the mean people who seek to hurt you. It’s time you take steps to prevent your own rape. Take a women’s self-defense course. Buy a rape whistle and a can of pepper spray. Watch the videos on this AVfM page. Or just practice common sense, like don’t get passed-out drunk, don’t date creeps, and keep to well-lit, high-traffic areas when walking alone if you can.

The bottom line is that sticking your fingers in your ears and crying, “Teach men not to rape” only makes you more unsafe. While even with self-defense you cannot prevent every rape, you can prevent enough, and that’s what matters. Telling men not to rape is not the answer, and never will be because one day the wolves will be at your door and there will be no one there to save you. Will you be wolf-chow or live to see another day? The choice is yours.

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