This has been floating around the internet for a few weeks- I’ve received links to at least 5 different sites posting it. But I still want to post it here becuse I think it’s that important.
When discussing tips for preventing sexual assault, almost all of the ideas are about changing people’s behavior so they won’t get attacked. Don’t walk home alone. Make sure you keep an eye on your drink to make sure nobody puts drugs in it. And those sorts of tips, while helpful at reducing risk, don’t place any responsibility on the people who are committing sexual assault, which really limits how effective they are on a larger scale.
So I’m really glad that somebody has put together a list of suggestions that are guaranteed to end sexual assault, if we can all stick to them. Here they are:
1. Don’t put drugs in people’s drinks in order to control their behavior.
2. When you see someone walking by themselves, leave them alone!
3. If you pull over to help someone with car problems, remember not to assault them!
4. NEVER open an unlocked door or window uninvited.
5. If you are in an elevator and someone else gets in, DON’T ASSAULT THEM!
6. Remember, people go to laundry to do their laundry, do not attempt to molest someone who is alone in a laundry room.
7. USE THE BUDDY SYSTEM! If you are not able to stop yourself from assaulting people, ask a friend to stay with you while you are in public.
8. Always be honest with people! Don’t pretend to be a caring friend in order to gain the trust of someone you want to assault. Consider telling them you plan to assault them. If you don’t communicate your intentions, the other person may take that as a sign that you do not plan to rape them.
9. Don’t forget: you can’t have sex with someone unless they are awake!
10. Carry a whistle! If you are worried you might assault someone “on accident” you can hand it to the person you are with, so they can blow it if you do.
And, ALWAYS REMEMBER: if you didn’t ask permission and then respect the answer the first time, you are committing a crime–no matter how “into it” others appear to be.
Part of why I like this list is that it’s entirely gender-neutral. Sexual assault is committed by people of all genders, although it’s much, much more common for men to be the perpetrators. But even so, there are a few that I’d add:
Don’t give someone alcohol, pot or other drugs to try to control their behavior.
Don’t threaten someone by telling them that you’ll tell other people a secret or a lie about them in order to get them to have sex. Don’t threaten someone with loss of a job, housing, or anything else in order to force them to have sex.
If you want to have rough sex or if you want to explore someone’s sexual edges, talk about it with them before you get started. Once you start having sex, stay within the boundaries that you have already discussed. Use a safeword.
If you’re not100% sure that what you’re doing is OK, stop and ask.
Together, we can stop sexual assault.
But until we do, it’s a good thing that there are places to go if you need resources or support around sexual assault. Whether you’re a survivor or a significant other of a survivor (or both), I strongly recommend the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. You can call them or find a local agency through their site.
Many agencies will help you file a police report or get medical attention, if that’s what you choose to do. They’ll also give you support, offer information and help you figure out what to do, whether it just happened or if it happened a long time ago.
And if you want to get an incredible experience, volunteer at your local rape crisis center. They always need the help and you will learn a lot. Some of it’s scary, some of it’s hard, some of it is inspiring, and all of it is important.