How Not To Get Raped

how_not_to_get_raped“How not to get raped” is a satirical video by Cat Del Buono. It’s inspired by college website pointers like these: 

  • Wear clothing that’s hard to remove. (Jumpsuits? Overalls?)
  • Wear a hairstyle that’s hard to grab. (So cut off your hair?)
  • Wear footwear that can help you get away. (Sneakers?)

After all that, women could end up looking not so attractive. Yet they’re also told that they’re supposed to be attractive. So it’s confusing.

And then there’s this:

  • Beware of bathrooms. (Just hold it?)

Or this:

  • Make eye contact with a potential attacker.
  • Don’t make eye contact with a potential attacker.

It could be subtitled, “The double bind: damned if you do, damned if you don’t.”

And if she’s attacked, will she be blamed for not doing these things?

And what about rapists? Should they change anything they do?

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Does Provocative Dress Ever Cause Rape?

About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych, women's psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State University. And I have blogged for Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos.

Posted on February 19, 2014, in feminism, rape and sexual assault, sexism, violence against women, women and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 39 Comments.

  1. So funny with a serious message. I’m surprised that he didn’t mention the wearing of a suit of armour ;)

  2. Yeah… that basically sums it up.

    The thing that gets me most about rape is that a drunk girl at the bar is not the typical rape victim.

  3. This video made my stomach churn. Shows how humor can be a powerful way to get important points across when done well. Really drums home that as women in America we may on a certain level be more free than women in other countries- but in some ways we are still not.. it’s just more covert in the US. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Wow, we ladies have a lot to remember if we are to avoid rape right! I can’t believe the ‘beware of bathrooms’ warning. Seeing as a lot of rapes are committed by someone the person knows or is dating, I’d say the best way to avoid rape is just ,y’know, avoid people all together.

  5. Awhile back there was a hashtag trending on Twitter called #safetytipsforladies. Some of those were hilarious. “Most rapes are committed by men. Consider not knowing any men.” And covering yourself with frogs, or learning to shapeshift.

  6. This is great! It translates a serious, and sometimes difficult to talk about, subject with ease – and humour! I’ll have to remember never to look people in the eye again. . . lol x

  7. I believe you can never completely tell if a person is planning to rape you. Most of the time things happen when you least expect it to happen. For example it could be the closest people in your life at the time. Therefore as a weman we should aways be protective, especial if you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time. So always look at the satiation you’re in first.

  8. The video makes a great point about the lack of reinforcements to teach men to NOT rape, rather than tell girls to learn how to “help themselves”. I like how the end of the video, the narrator says “don’t give guys blue balls” (if you don’t want to get raped). It must be understood that the MEN are the ones GETTING the blue balls, and it’s not somebody else’s responsibility if THEY are the ones experiencing this. It’s unfortunate that our culture is still deep seated in blaming women for what happens to them, but because of these satirical videos, and more women and victims speaking up for themselves, more voices are being heard–and this will ultimately lead to a revolution.

  9. I am not sure how I feel about this video. In some ways it is giving good advice, like not accepting drinks from strangers, not walking alone in places you would be more vulnerable to attack, and especially telling the people you are with where you are going (like to the bathroom). But in other ways this video seems to be making rape a joke. I am a victim of rape and sexual abuse as a child and too often I hear people making light of rape. People often use “rape” in such casual ways like it is no big deal. There should be more informational videos trying to get the message across that rape is not a joke. And it is not the victims fault, it is the rapists’. I think that there be more messages about self-control and not about how victims of assault were dressed too provocatively.

  10. Hey ladies? What to be super duper safe from rape? Don’t leave your house! Ever! Oh and make sure the curtains are drawn too! And you better make sure all 6 dead bolts locked!

    Is this what women are suppose to become? Prisoners? The gal in the video sure looked like one. Because it’s always the women’s fault, right? We ask for it. By the way we dress and look. How are men suppose to control themselves? Makes me sick. If I can control myself around chocolate, then guys can control themselves around women.

  11. This video provoked couple of eye-rolls and it managed to be funny and irritating all at once. Though it was a satirical piece I don’t think some of the comments she mentioned from certain sources were unfounded. Regardless if you were a man or a woman, why wouldn’t you avoid going out by yourself late at night to protect yourself from not only rape but other unsavory consequences like getting mugged? Or when at a party, why not keep an eye on your drink? I would try to avoid that regardless of getting raped or not. Of course, these things will not guarantee your safety but they are pretty legitimate countermeasures nonetheless. In my opinion, Buono set out to make these college web pointers look so foolish that Buono’s argument ended up looking pretty foolish in itself. I found it to be sort of 50/50( some of the cited suggestions were stupid and some weren’t) and I feel like how Buono represented these college sites was misinterpreted as How not to be raped but instead on What you can do to avoid or prevent it since some of the points as I said, were legitimate. If it’s a college site wouldn’t they have a basis for giving a couple of reasons for women to avoid being victimized. Maybe their campus had a few incidents, and of course men should be held accountable but they would want to prevent it. . Though I don’t agree with how the information was presented There was a really good message that I got out of this anyways, that many people need to understand which is regardless of how a woman is dressed, or what environment or situation she finds herself in does not warrant her getting raped. Rape is not and cannot be justified under any circumstances.

    • The problem is more that rape is the only crime where we tend to blame the victim. And these sorts of messages tend to reinforce the idea that the crime is the victim’s fault. We need to focus on blaming the criminals, instead.

  12. I think many suggestions in this video could be a helpful advice, however, it is very confusing for me. They might be true but… I always have to say, “but how?” Can’t we just have fun like boys? Of course, I understand it is always a good idea to be aware everyone could be a victim at anytime and anywhere. I believe there should be more information that explains how to not to be a rapist. Why always should girls learn how to protect themselves from rapists? Many people know how hard for the rape victim to fight against the rapist. I don’t think many people know how to teach guys not to become a rapist. I believe we should always teach ourselves more in both ways not to harm people, and to protect ourselves.

  13. I hate how rapists try and justified themselves, saying how they want it or her body is asking for it, so they did a favor for everyone aka mankind. I have heard from somewhere or I might have read this but I’m not sure where but it says that females with ponytails tends to get rape easily or that rapists are attracted to those who has a ponytail. But I’m not sure how accurate that is.

  14. I love satire, and hate rape and victim blaming, so pretty much, I enjoyed the video. The best way to prevent rape is to not rape, and not protect the rapist and blame the victim. Victims shouldn’t need to take precautions. How much I drink, what I’m wearing, what time I’m out, my previous sexual history, none of this should matter. Sure, some of the suggestions in the video could be helpful precautions for your safety, such as protecting your drink, but if you don’t take them, rape is still not your fault. If you don’t have consent to touch someone’s body, don’t. Also, educate yourself on what can and can’t be considered consent. It’s really that simple. A victim shouldn’t have to worry about having their reputation torn to shreds just to prosecute their rapist. Flat out: It’s never the victims fault. Ever.

  15. I have very mixed views on this video. First of all, following these tips may help you avoid getting raped, although wearing a jumpsuit for example is ridiculous. I do understand that they are trying to say not to wear clothes that expose your body, but wearing clothes that are a little showy, does not mean you are getting raped. I definitely agree that women need to be aware of their surroundings and be cautious when out alone. This does not mean that following all the tips demonstrated in this video can keep you from being a victim of rape one hundred percent. The humor in this video also bothered me in some ways. Rape is not something to be joked about. This video made it seem like it is the woman’s fault for being a victim of rape when in reality many innocent women are often victims. I believe that knowing everyone you are out with and staying with a trusted group of people, while being safe but also having fun, is a a good way to go out. Women can enjoy alcohol as long as they do it responsibly and try bringing a friend to the bathroom when needed.

  16. The information in this video made me feel conflicted. I understand that this video is satirical but I cant believe that this sort of information is even out there and being spread. However, some of the advice might actually have some validity. The information basically told women they needed to be dependent hermits and that if they were raped it was because they didn’t take the proper precautions. It is insinuating that its a woman’s own fault if she gets raped. But if a woman does follow some of the guidelines in theory it could decrease her chances of being attacked my a predator.
    This sort of discussion needs to be brought up more often and people need to be educated on this. These websites who post these sort of comments may seem like they are being helpful but in reality they are only perpetuating the myth that rape can be prevented and blamed on the victim. Most rape is not about sex but about power. Men who rape usually have a much deeper reason for doing then seeing a girl they think is “asking for it”. Although I am a supporter of educating people, especially women about being aware of your surrounding, the sort of information they provide shows that they dont really understand rape. Further more this information is targeted towards women, when in reality a victim can be anybody. In my opinion there needs to more information on being aware of your surroundings, what rape actually is and more support in helping to report rape.

  17. This video cracked me up. It is so true. How ridiculously careful do us women have to be in order to go out and have a good time? Men don’t have to think about these things when they go out. I remember when I was younger, and living in San Francisco, my husband was extremely worried about me leaving the house at night to go out to a club or to see some music. It was really frustrating and disappointing. At first, I did not have the awareness I should have about how dangerous it was for me to go alone to certain parts of the city. I just wanted to have a fun night out–is that so wrong? Should I sit in the house and knit for the rest of my life for fear that I will be attacked if I try to go out and have any fun? After I while, I could see his point, and became more aware of the dangers of being a woman alone in the city at night. A good friend of mine was mugged–shoved violently to the ground and robbed in LA, even though she was not alone, but with a friend. Although she was not raped or beaten, she was severely affected psychologically after that for quite some time. She was afraid for her safety in ways and in places that she never felt threatened at all before.

    It is really sad to think of how many precautions women must take, when they should be able to feel safe doing normal things. We should be able to walk alone, dress however we want to, and drink and dance the night away without fear of being attacked.

    Even in the smaller town of Santa Cruz where we live in now, my husband worries about me going from the door of an establishment to the parking lot alone, and vice versa. This kind of anxiety, while at times it feels overbearing to me, is a commentary on the true risk every woman must take, just by being born into this world as a woman. Unless we decide to live in a box under lock and key, we are prone to this risk, due to the violent nature of many men, and their all too prevalent penchant for taking advantage of us.

  18. This is a funny video, but it’s almost realistic… I remember watching movies just like this in school. They made girls so scared to do anything. It’s disgusting that women, or anyone, should feel unsafe based on what they wear, or where they go.

    We see ridiculous tips like these all over the internet, and even on the news. “Don’t wear revealing clothing,” “don’t go out at night,” “don’t go on dark streets”. The sad truth is that it can happen anywhere, to anyone, for any reason. A rapist can have a “type” they are looking for, or may be more concerned with “convenience”.

    It’s a disease that’s so difficult to detect, psychology is just too new.

  19. My initial thoughts on this video as a women I find kind of insulting. The fact that I have to give up my rights, my independents, and my identity as a women is appalling. I think common sense and knowing your surroundings is the only way to really prevent an attack. I did take a few good things from this video such as: staying in well lit areas upon walking at night,and making sure you have a buddy upon attending large social events. But saying that there’s really no way to prevent such an event from happening. As a college student, rape is a defiant nightmare that someone thinks that will never happen to them, but in reality it can be lurking around the corner.

  20. I think this video means well with using humor to focus on the issue at hand, but I believe they should done it a bit differently. Maybe they could have made it more focused on the male counterpart who does the raping. Like “hey how about trying to actually talking to her and getting her number, instead of giving her that roofie!” The reason I think it should be more focused on males is because when I see this video the focus is on what women need to avoid to get raped. Like you said the video makes it seem like we as women are damned if we do or if we don’t, and that the best way to be safe is to never leave your house or trust anyone.

  21. I don’t like the video so much because I feel it implies to a certain extent that rape is not too a big deal, though it is to the point in some ways. I mean this video undermines the cruelty of rape with humors, while it’s important for women to follow the suggestions like not taking drink from somebody and not walking outside alone. I feel it implies that women being raped should more be focused (or blamed) than rapists should be. Though it depends on cultures, but I still can’t believe that some people blame women for being raped while turning a blind eye to the rapists who hurt those women.

  22. Mei Yan Anson Lui

    It is a interesting video that telling the audience, especially females, how to avoid by being rape. Women should dressed in jumpsuits, better not to show their skin; wear sneakers instead of high heels shoes; short hair style; do not make direct eye contact with potential attackers etc. There is no doubts that these are useful not to get raped, however, it is so double- standard. Women are told to be attractive but the fact right now is opposing to this value. I am just wondering why their appearance are restricted instead of punishing those rapists harder? I believe this is unfair and a kind of sexism. I believe having self-discipline is a really huge difference between human and animal.

  23. I used to think that the percentage of getting raped will decrease if they protect themselves by doing certain things. However, after taking courses of women studies, I now recognize how awkward it was to think this way. Women have their own ways of living and acting. Women should not change the way they dress up, if that is her ways of getting beautiful. Women should not avoid smiling at men, if that is the way she treats people. If I put myself in women’s shoes, caring so much about how to not get abused by others and deforming my life will be such a pain. We really need to start thinking about this issue in a serious way, not putting aside by simply using the word “gender differences” or “men dominance”.

  24. Well I think this video is totally being sarcastic. It is showing how ridicules the ways of preventing rape that was taught by the society. So generally speaking, it is asking girls not to look good and avoid being alone or having any contact with the strangers. However, these methods do not make sense at all. It is also ridicules that the society is teaching the girls to do everything to prevent being rape; it made it seems like if a girl was being rape, it is her fault because she did not follow those advices. However, how come no one is teaching the guys that they should learn to control themselves and respect women. Personally, I think it is kind of putting women in a double-bind situation.

  25. Rape is a horrible thing to experience. Once it happens to you, you don’t want to tell anyone, because you are afraid. Or you think people will think less of you after you tell them. While these attacks are not the fault of the victim, you can take some precautionary measures to keep yourself safe. I always take caution when hanging out with friends that never get drunk in the club or in the party, even they are my close male friends; because we don’t know what gonna happen when we are drunk.

  26. Shahin Larhnimi

    People may think that this video is funny. I think that the video is a is done wrong, yes people can get raped very easily. However, do women have to dress in a certain way to prevent herself from getting raped? To get raped should definitely not be a reason why women are afraid to be out at night or to feel unsafe at places. When a woman gets raped it is basically her fault, it is her responsibility to stay away from the places and people that will put her in a dangerous situation. It is insane that he blame is put on a woman when she gets raped, some people will say that “it’s her fault, she should not have been dressed so provocatively,” which is crazy in my opinion. This video gives ideas on how women should dress and behave but they do not talk about men, on reasons why they should respect women etc. Men in this world have to learn how to respect other individuals, but I know that it is impossible for some.

    I agree with what Tara said: the video gives advice about not walking around in vulnerable places because you are most likely to get attracted and not to accept drinks from strangers for example. Anyhow, the way that they are presenting the issue in this video is made out to be like a joke which is making the problem seem insignificant.

  27. Its obnoxious that women always have to be on their guards when they go out. Its not fair we have to consider our clothing, shoes, hair- overall physical appearance in order to “not get raped”. Its not and never is a woman’s fault for being raped. Women dont get dressed up thinking “i want to be taken advantage of tonight”, they do it in order to compete with other women or attract nice men. Women aren’t safe in this world to go on a walk alone at night or go out to a party by herself because there is too much danger, whereas men have total freedom to roam the streets at all hours of the night. The video does happen to make a few good points but the joke is overall just not funny when its reality, society has all these strange ideas about preventing rape that are totally false and this video definitely highlights them.

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