Wednesday, May 26, 2010


My taekwondo dojang has devoted the last couple of classes to a self-defense seminar. They had a couple of handouts especially for us ladies, and I thought this one in particular was worth sharing on the blog. It's as relevant for men to read this as women, particularly the intro and the last paragraph. After all, the best way to prevent assault is for it perpetrators to not try in the first place.

The Little Rapes

The "little rapes" of life are perpetrated by men with basically the same mentality and social attitudes as the men who commit the actual rapes. Little rapes are not social compliments as most women have been led to believe, but rather are committed with the same emotional intent as actual rapes:

  1. to deny the moral integrity and/or self-image of the woman;
  2. to verbally, or with eye contact, use and/or abuse the woman;
  3. to deny the position of that woman as a peer human being.

Little rapes include such situations as (1) the man who comments about your breasts, rear-end, or some other part of your body; (2) the man who stares at you as though he were undressing you; (3) the man who touches your breast. your rear-end, or some part of your body as he speaks to you; (4) the men who make comments about your body, your sexual prowess, your social character, or your plans for the evening as you pass them on the street.

These little rapes should be handled in much the same way as actual rapes, that is, with assertiveness, aggressiveness and emotional control of the situation. Some examples:

  1. To the man who is staring at you: stare at him until he lowers his eyes, or say something like, "Did you lose something?", "Are you writing a book?", "Stop staring at me, you freak".
  2. To the man who touches you as he speaks: forcefully remove his hand, or say something like, "Get your hands off my body" (as loudly as you can), or "When I want you to touch my body, I'll invite you".
  3. To the men who make comments as you pass by on the street: "You should be ashamed of yourself, I'm old enough to be your mother", or "Are you kidding", or "Bug off" (or some curse words of your choice), or sometimes, a very angry look is enough to calm a situation.
  4. To an exhibitionist: "You're disgusting, you filthy pervert", or "Oh, how interesting, you're showing me your penis". Simply acknowledging his display (rather than a response of fear and/or trauma) may avert a prolonged situation.

Males comprise one-half of the human race and many of them are victims of their own environments and social upbringing. Most men, particularly the ones who are involved in our lives can be re-educated to realize the extent and dangers inherent in social rapes. And indeed, these men deserve the process of re-education, for only when that process is complete will our society be a better place in which to live: a place where both men and women have equal standing, as human beings.

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