Target: University of Colorado at Colorado Springs
Goal: Apologize for telling women to deter rape by urinating or vomiting
The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs recently provided a list of ten tips to deter rape including vomiting, urinating and telling the attacker you have a disease or are menstruating. Rather than emphasize more active ways to defend oneself, this pamphlet pushed passive ways of supposedly defending against an attack. While the University has defended the list by stating it was part of supplemental information for women who had completed the University’s self defense class, the broader issue is women are not comprehensively taught how to defend themselves from rape.
Rape victims are often framed in a way that suggests the victim’s responsibility in the matter. What the victim was wearing, her state of mind at the time, the location the rape took place, even the time of day come into question during rape investigations. While determining a credible source is important in a rape case, all the other questions are irrelevant; what is important is that a rape occurred.
While the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs does not condone rape with distribution of the list, what should be discussed is preventing rape, including informing women proper defense. Urination and vomiting is not defense. Telling a rapist you are menstruating or have a disease is not insurance for safety.
The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs needs to publicly apologize for this brutal failure in information. Victim blaming rape discourse needs to be abolished starting in Colorado’s university system at Colorado Springs. Sign the petition below to urge the university system to publicly apologize and take action by empowering its students with proper defense strategies.
Dear University of Colorado at Colorado Springs,
Recently a list of tips to deter rape was distributed on your campus. This list included tips such as vomiting or urinating and telling the attacker you are menstruating or have a disease. Not only is this a poor excuse for defense but this list puts the act of rape as the victim’s responsibility. Rather than calling for help, running, or fighting back, this list suggests passive reactions are preferred as defense.
Victims of rape are too often forced to shoulder the responsibility of the attack. The location the rape took place and the victim’s clothes or state of mind should be irrelevant. Because rape is an act to dominate, the victim’s defense strategy needs to defy domination not enable it. Instructing women to defend themselves by use of bodily functions is as passive as telling a woman to simply lie there and wait until it’s over so not to provoke the rapist to violence. Rape is not about sex, it is about violence and power and cannot by deterred with passivity.
The women of University of Colorado deserve an education in proper defense. Empowering women and educating men is the only way to truly deter rape from occurring. I urge you to consider this before other hapless ‘tips’ to deter rape get introduced into your school’s curriculum, and I ask you to publicly apologize for the previous insulting list. The women of your school deserve better.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Cloud A Day Stock via DeviantArt