Evidence Based Truths about Women's Resistance to Sexual Violence

The very idea of resistance is fraught with victim blaming nonsense. No "hot tip" is going to protect you more than "Let's stop raising boys to be rapists." 97% of the people who commit sexual assault are men. Most are young and most are straight. They're the problem.

An emphasis on "Hold your keys in your hand. Take martial arts. Never wear heels." blah blah puts our attention in the wrong place & boils down to "Don't rape me. Rape the other woman instead." So, first of all - Let's stop putting girls & women in rooms with rapists. Period.

And let's talk about what resistance looks like. We live in a culture that puts the onus on women to protect themselves from rape but doesn't even give accurate or helpful information on how to do that. Let's change that.

You can have a black belt in karate & lose all your teachings in a situation of violence because 80-95% of people are assaulted by someone they know & so their brain is trying to process what's happening because "This can't possibly be happening. I must be misunderstanding." Teaching women & girls that acquaintances (ie: partners, family members, colleagues, teammates, roommates, etc) are more likely to assault us than a rando on the street doesn't = making women more afraid.

It means women are less likely to hesitate when a situation escalates. Resistance tactics include:

- Yelling at someone
- Walking away from a situation (& not giving a damn how it's perceived by others)
- Traditional methods of physical resistance
Pop culture depictions of violence show women resisting to no avail. 

Bullshit. 

Women who use at least 1 method of self-defense (including yelling) have a 60-65% chance of escape.

2 methods? Odds jump to 80%.

But if you don't resist, your odds of escaping are at 20%.
 
I was taught that fighting back increases my chances of being hurt.

If you resist (again, that can be yelling, kicking, scratching, slapping, etc.) you have the same or REDUCED chance of being injured as someone who does not resist.
The advantages of using at least one method of resistance include the obvious ability to get away, but also your own self-assurance that you did absolutely everything you could to get away so evidence shows you are less likely to blame yourself or internalize shame. (Technically, resisting also increases your chance of collecting his DNA but frankly, so few people report to police and so few women are assaulted by a stranger, that DNA collection isn't as helpful as Law & Order SVU wants you to believe.)
 
Oh and remember: Don't punch your rapist.

Punch THROUGH your rapist.

If you stop when you make contact, you're not giving the full force. Punch the fucker like your goal is the wall behind them and you'll maximize your strength.
 
Every time I was assaulted, I froze. And then I hated myself for it.

But it's because we talk about "Fight or flight" but we don't talk about the third F which is "Freeze". Freezing happens, especially to women who've been socialized to be passive, but you CAN OVERCOME IT.
 
Adrenaline needs oxygen to propel you from freezing to action.

Teach every girl & woman in your life to yell (from the diaphragm) & the deep breath they took to give that yell will put oxygen in their blood & their adrenaline will kick in & keep them alert.
 
Again: The only 100% guarantee against being raped is not being in the same space as a rapist.

Only men can change that.

It's never a victim's fault. 

Even if they froze.
Even if they "knew better".
Even. Even. Even.

It's never a victim's fault.
 
Another common myth is that begging & pleading with an abuser will make them stop.

NOPE.

There is ZERO evidence that begging & pleading will stop an assault. And I mean, it makes sense. Your helplessness is the point. He wants to feel more powerful than you. 
 
Let's talk about the big cliche: Appearance.

Again, there is ZERO evidence that a rapist was enticed to assault someone based on appearance. In fact, some research done with convicted rapists has shown they literally could not remember what their victims were wearing. Media loves to play up the "He had a type" myth & sure, there are some high profile cases where a serial rapist had a "type". But those "types" included: Being blonde, being a redhead, single, skinny, fat, etc. Shit that is literally so arbitrary, it can't be combated directly.
 
Another damaging myth is about acquaintance rape vs. stranger rape. 

Women & girls are AS LIKELY to be injured during a "date rape" than they are an attack from a stranger.

Yes. Read that again.

There's no such thing as "non-violent rape".
 
The last thing that I desperately wish we told women & girls is about booze. 

I have never been drunk in my life & a huge reason I never drank was because I was so afraid of "losing control" & being raped. I've always been sober & I've been raped.

So, live your life, ladies.
 
Don't drink/get high if being in control is important to you. Absolutely.

And alcohol is present in MANY, MANY cases of sexual assault in Canada. 

But a dude with an intention to rape showed up to the bar/party with that intention, long before you took a sip.

It's on him.
 
I know lots of feminists will be itchy with this conversation. The very concept of resistance is controversial in feminist circles because it too often leads to victim blaming. I get that. But we can control the narrative & ensure it doesn't go down that road. So why don't we?
 
There is plenty of evidence that sharing our stories of successful resistance helps embolden other women to fight back, too. There is plenty of evidence that we need to start sharing our stories of what "didn't happen" because an assault wasn't completed because WE RESISTED! But because we don't talk about "what didn't happen", we assume it was just a fluke or "we got lucky".

Nope.

We either did something to resist OR a bystander intervened.  It wasn't magic or a miracle. It was something WE did (Or an ally did) & we need to celebrate that!
 
In conclusion, I love women & girls so much. I have spent my entire adult life dedicated to addressing violence against us. I care so deeply about this stuff.

And I care so deeply for my younger self who got all the wrong messages & deserved better. 

Let's do better.