|Don't get Raped (source)|
Don't be anywhere. 100% of rapes happen in places and locations. #safetytipsforladies
— Conna Stevenson (@1000DaysOfRain) March 25, 2013
Others suggest simply not being a woman, not ever drinking anything, not ever wearing anything (but not being naked either), not ever leaving the house (or since many rapes happen inside the house, not ever being home). And so forth.
The main point is that it's absurd to tell women to not get raped. Rape by definition is NOT under the victim's control.
Yet people still tend to blame the victim in rape cases. An interesting study was published in 2011 showing that people were more likely to blame the victim in a rape case than in a robbery case. The authors gave people short vignettes describing either a rape or a robbery, and had these participants fill out a perpetrator blame scale and a victim blame scale.
|Bienek and Krahe 2011 Figure 4|
Now some people say 'hey, I'm just trying to keep women safe by telling them to avoid dark places, and not take drinks from strangers.' But here's the thing, maybe the mere suggestion that women can do something to avoid being raped is enough to subtly nudge one's opinion toward thinking that if a woman got raped, she should have done something to avoid it and is therefore somewhat to blame.
So I propose the following study:
Have one group of people read a short article on tips for women to avoid being raped (a serious and well meaning one), and one group of people read some unrelated article. Then have both groups read rape vignettes similar to the ones described in the Bienek and Krahe study and fill out the victim and perpetrator blame scales. They would also fill out a scale for how much punishment the perpetrator should get in a court of law.
I hypothesize that simply reading a list of well meant tips for how women can avoid being raped would increase victim blame and would make people more lenient in their prescribed punishment for the perpetrator.
Somebody please do this experiment!
Bieneck S, & Krahé B (2011). Blaming the victim and exonerating the perpetrator in cases of rape and robbery: is there a double standard? Journal of interpersonal violence, 26 (9), 1785-97 PMID: 20587449