Today in Rape Culture

[Content Note: Discussion of rape culture]

I recently came across this posting on the Virginia Tech police department's website which details a class offered to Virginia Tech students called "Rape Aggression Defense". From the description:
The Rape Aggression Defense System is a program of realistic, self-defense tactics and techniques. The RAD System is a comprehensive course for women that begins with awareness, prevention, risk reduction and avoidance, while progressing on to the basics of hands-on defense training. RAD is not a Martial Arts program. Our course is taught by certified RAD Instructors and provides you with a workbook/reference manual. This manual outlines the entire Physical Defense Program for reference and continuous personal growth. The RAD System of Physical Defense is currently being taught at many Colleges and Universities. The growing, wide spread acceptance of this system is primarily due to the ease, simplicity and effectiveness of our tactics, solid research, legal defensibility and unique teaching methodology. The Rape Aggression Defense System is dedicated to teaching women defensive concepts and techniques against various type of assault, by utilizing easy, effective and proven self-defense/martial arts tactics. Our system of realistic defense will provide a woman with the knowledge to make an educated decision about resistance.
This class is for women only. I looked around the police site and there is nothing specifically targeted to men regarding rape and assault prevention.

And THEN I came across this (which is from late last month):
(CNN) -- The University of Colorado-Colorado Springs was roundly criticized and ridiculed last week by victims' rights groups, gun advocates and others skeptical of tips on the school's website for deterring rapists, which included urinating and vomiting as potential ways of repulsing assailants.


In the wake of last week's controversy, UCCS removed the tips, which were intended as "last resort options when all other defense methods have been exhausted," the school said in a statement explaining its decision.

The tips were taken out of their original context as supplemental material for a self-defense course for students known as Rape Aggression Defense Systems, or R.A.D., Jim Spice, the college's executive director of public safety and chief of police, said in an e-mail.
As noted in both the CNN article and the R.A.D. description on the Virginia Tech website: "The RAD System of Physical Defense is currently being taught at many Colleges and Universities".

Anyone wonder what "rape culture" looks like? It looks like that: "prevention" being the responsibility of the victim and that being the normal, accepted way we as a society talk about prevention of rape and assault.

There is a bit of good news in that Congress finally reauthorized the Violence Against Women Act and, as The Center for Public Integrity notes:
In a vote of 286 to 138, House members approved a reauthorization of VAWA that incorporates, as Section 304, the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act, known as Campus SaVE.[...]


The legislation, first filed in the fall of 2010, will expand required campus education programs to include prevention awareness and bystander intervention strategies for students, meant to stop sexual assaults from occurring. The measure aims to improve victim protections by guaranteeing counseling, legal assistance, and medical care on campus, among other accommodations. It also will establish minimum, national standards for all schools to follow in responding to allegations of sexual assault and sexual violence. For instance, the act makes explicit that schools must afford both the alleged perpetrator and the alleged victim the same rights — access to advisers, written notifications, as well as appeals processes — during campus disciplinary proceedings.
Unfortunately: the sequester. The sequester will gut VAWA funding, including programs like those to improve campus education and safety.
“They’re out there meeting people, giving their trust, instead of making people earn their trust,” said University of Georgia Police Chief Jimmy Williamson, whose school reported five rapes last year. [ed. that year would be 2011]

Most assaults on campus are by acquaintances, he said, and new students haven’t had time to assess their new friends.

“We make ourselves vulnerable to other people who have the wrong intention," Williamson said.

rape prevention image detailing ways to prevent rape that are about NOT RAPING SOMEONE
image from Rape Crisis Scotland


[Commenting Guidelines: This post is not about the merits of individual people choosing to take self-defense classes. Judging other people for doing so or not doing so is not on-topic and would be Missing The Point. So let's avoid that in the comments thread, mmmkay?]

[Related Reading: Five Reasons Why "Teach Women Self-Defense" Isn't a Comprehensive Solution to Rape, Rape Culture and Campus In-Security]

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