A Miami University Women’s Resource Center newsletter from September 1978 discusses the prevalence of rape on the Oxford campus. The document stresses the importance of being informed about sexual violence and how to “protect” yourself from a potential attack. To better educate people, the WRC hosted a special program, titled “Self Defense Against Rape.” The event promised to teach attendees “techniques for defen[se]…against a potential attacker.” At the end of the blurb is a reminder to report any kind of sexual attack.

This type of program is beneficial because it raises awareness on campus and teaches self-defense techniques, but it is by no means a comprehensive response or solution to sexual violence.

To suggest that a person (typically, a woman) is solely responsible for preventing their own rape is offensive and contributes to rape culture. Also, how is an unconscious or otherwise incapacitated person supposed to “fight back”? Self defense techniques will only be useful in a specific type of situation. And since a majority of victims know their perpetrators, how will these techniques be truly beneficial? Self defense seems helpful if a stranger is jumping out of the bushes and attacking you, but that isn’t a likely scenario. In fact, most sexual assaults occur in the victim’s own home.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016