The post disgusts me for several reasons, so let me walk you through them.
1. The picture depicts a black man’s hands covering a terrified white woman’s mouth, with the other hand clamped down on her shoulder. This is extremely problematic not just because it depicts violence against women, but also because it shows the aggressor as a person of color and the victim as white, therefore serving to not only be triggering as fuck but also to reinforce racist assumptions on top of that.
2. The post, in its ‘explanations’ of how rapists apparently think, sends a very strong message that if you follow its advice, it will protect you from rape, the implicit flipside being that if you don’t follow these careful guidelines, that you on some level earned the assault against you because you could have prevented it. THIS IS NEVER, NEVER, NEVER true. If a rapist is looking to attack someone, do you honestly think they’ll give two shits about whether their victim’s hair is a certain length? Think again. People get attacked and raped every single day, regardless of how they’re dressed or how long their fucking hair is.
3. It says a group of rapists were interviewed to get this advice. Did you catch that? A GROUP. Not all rapists ever. Even if you were to try to use this post as some form of protection, you would be generalizing information received from a small sample group to an entire category of criminal.
4. Some of the language in this fucking post. “Convince them you’re not worth it”? Is that implying that some people are? Get the fuck out forever. In number 2 under POINTS: “Again, they are looking for an EASY target.” Fuck off, that did not need to be said. Also, what connotation of easy are we using here, O Wise Writer of Rape Prevention Posts?
5. The ‘striking up a conversation’ tactic listed first under POINTS can land you into a corner almost as fast as rummaging in your purse or otherwise not being observant can. Don’t believe me? In that case, take a personal account from me. When I was 17, a middle-aged creep tried to first get my number, then (when that didn’t work) convince me out of a bookstore in Albuquerque because he said something to me and I replied, ‘turning it into a conversation’ somehow. It took my mother intervening to get him to back off. You want to get their appearance down? Glare at them—it allows you to take in their appearance and sends as clear of a ‘back the fuck off’ signal as possible, thus leaving less room for conversational bargaining. They still might attack you if that was their plan, though.
6. Attackers know that pepper spray is painful. You know what else they know? How to wrench pepper spray cans or purses out of potential victims’ hands. If someone’s about to attack you, DON’T FUCKING WARN THEM. Warning an attacker about a weapon you’re about to use is practically self-disarmament. If you were in a fistfight out on the street, would you tell your opponent, “HEY, UPPERCUT HEADED YOUR WAY”?! NO. They’re attacking you—you attack them right back! Go for the face! One thing about pepper spray, though—know the wind pattern when you spray it.
7. RE: “Start causing trouble and he’s out of there”… many rapists carry weapons. This is addressed only once in the post (if they pull a gun, run.)
8. Guess what, concerning stairwells and elevators? You can get trapped in an elevator just as easily, if not more so because you are in a tiny box with another person, and there is one way out instead of two. If you see someone sketchy in the elevator, don’t take it. If you’re in the elevator and someone sketchy gets on, get off at that or the next floor. So no, elevators are not the safe alternative to stairs.
9. RE: ‘Women, stop being so sympathetic, that’s so wrong and will get you raped’: Fuck that noise forever. You can be helpful to other people; you still need to be careful, since our society is so content to say you deserved it if you were attacked while helping someone, but if someone genuinely looks like they need help, at least call someone who can help them. Way to shame people (oh, excuse me; women) with a tendency to be concerned.
10. “Send this to any women in your life who need to be reminded that there are a lot of crazies in the world”: Ooh, nice! You managed to insinuate that women are completely unaware of dangers AND equate violent criminals and people who have neurodivergencies, all in one sentence! No, fuck off. There are a lot of violent people in the world, the grand majority of whom are neurotypical. Stop it with the term ‘crazies’. Just. Fucking. Stop.
TL;DR: I do agree that people need to take special precautions, such as traveling with trusted friends, being aware of your surroundings, and taking self-defense classes. But I do not want that shitty post on my dash ever again. Tag it “#through a rapist’s eyes” from now on. Or hell, just tag it ‘#victim-blaming advice post’ or ‘#bullshit that mayra doesn’t want on her dash’. Just let me know what you decide.