Women, Rape And Self Defense

Photo courtesy of WeNews


You are a young woman walking home from your off-campus job late one evening when you hear footsteps behind you. As the footsteps get closer, you spin around to see a man lunging toward you. What should you do? Pee your pants. Seriously. Or vomit, if you can manage to vomit on command. That’s right, expelling your body fluids may be your best bet for fending off a rapist according to some college officials.

The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs released a ten-point list of ways for women to try and avoid being sexually assaulted. Items on the list, taken from the university’s website, are shown below:

This list was removed from the website a few days ago and replaced with an apology message, but many were still disappointed with the original message. In a country where we are told women should have choices, one choice was left off the list–the choice to use force. In fact, women are advised to “be realistic” about how well they can really protect themselves. Silly girls. Your best hope is to resist passively, which I would imagine means something like lying there letting yourself be assaulted while silently objecting. Wow.

Photo courtesy of Rennett Stowe

Call boxes. Rapists love to hang out by them.


Sadly, at least one Colorado lawmaker agrees. Democrat and Colorado Rep. Joe Salazar participated in hearings last week arguing that college students should not be allowed to carry weapons. Despite statistics showing that one in five women is raped during her time in college, Salazar argued that use of force to protect oneself should not be an option. Instead, he argued, “It’s why we have call boxes, it’s why we have safe zones, it’s why we have the whistles. Because you just don’t know who you’re gonna be shooting at. And you don’t know if you feel like you’re gonna be raped, or if you feel like someone’s been following you around or if you feel like you’re in trouble when you may actually not be, that you pop out that gun and you pop … pop around at somebody.” (Salazar later apologized for his comments, claiming that he “did not mean to hurt anybody”.)


Photo courtesy of Fidelio


Really? Those silly girls don’t really know if they are about to be raped or if they just “feel” like they might be raped. Because, you know, young women are emotional and stuff and can’t accurately assess the possible danger of the situations in which they find themselves. Here I thought Republicans were considered the go-to party for insensitivity, since that one lawmaker said women can “shut the whole thing down.” Nope, Democrats can be just as ignorant. A woman can’t possibly hope to stop her attacker if she can’t trust her instincts that she is about to be assaulted. As for “safe zones” and “call boxes,” do you think potential rapists are going to chase down a woman who is within easy reach of a call box? Not likely. But hey, I am sure the rapists out there appreciate women being told to rely on safe zones, screaming, urinating and remaining passive when they are assaulted.


Fox News screen shot.


Finally, Fox News’ television panel “The Five” discussed the stories coming out of Colorado during their panel on Tuesday. Many on the panel felt that college students, and women in particular, had the right to use a gun to defend themselves from assault. As panelist Greg Gutfeld remarked, “It is the rapist who should be crapping, not the victim, and that means being armed.” Bob Beckel, the panel’s lone Democrat, who served in Jimmy Carter's State Department and later ran Walter Mondale's presidential campaign, disagreed. After airing his chief concern that drunken frat boys would be running around packing heat, Beckel was asked whether having a gun could help a woman avoid being raped. Beckel’s response? “When was the last time you heard about a rape on campus?” Yes, folks, he was serious. Beckel thinks that rapes rarely happen on campuses these days. When female panelist Dana Perino pointed out that rape, including date rape, happens frequently, Beckel added insult to injury by remarking “Well, date rape’s one thing, but what are you going to do, take out your gun and shoot your date?” Panelist Kimberly Guilfoyle retorted that “if your date is a rapist” you absolutely should have that option.

That’s the point. Choice. We are told that women have the right to choose. Women should not be denied the right to choose their birth control method, the right to choose their career path–screw the glass ceiling!–the right to control their own bodies in any way they choose. Since when does the right to choose exclude the right to choose a means of self-defense? Not all women want to own and operate a firearm, and not all women have to do so. That’s the beauty of choice. Denying a woman the right to choose to defend herself with a weapon because she may not be able to trust her “feelings” because she may not be “realistic” about her ability to defend herself, and because she can always grab one of those convenient call boxes to ask someone to come save her? That is at best ignorant, at worst, condescending and offensive. The more options a woman has in her self-defense arsenal, the better.