How to prevent being raped series 9 of 10 - Effectively Arming Women

Trauma, abuse and bereavement / Category / Emile Du Toit / October 19th 2014

This 9th blog in the series of 10 discusses effectively arming women. This blog begins by reiterating that women are under no obligation to carry weapons in case they are attacked by an assailant! With that out the way we consider the effectiveness of both armed and unarmed victims fighting back against an armed rapist. We also consider reasons why currently many women choose not to carry weapons with them, before concluding with 7 tips that will help us to purchase the most appropriate weapons for our unique situation.

Effectively arming women

Women do not have to carry weapons – it merely a choice

Let’s get this clear from the outset. There is no earthly reason whatsoever why a woman should feel compelled to carry a weapon around with her. It is entirely a choice that she alone gets to make around what she feels is most appropriate for herself. Exactly the same decision needs to be made by all of us in terms our risk of being robbed, assaulted or raped. We make a very personal decision on how much freedom we take away from ourselves in order to be safe. 

Nobody invites rape by not being armed to the teeth!

In fact, women SHOULD be able to be safe wherever they go. Humanity SHOULD have embraced a whole different level of consciousness and morality to what it has. But she isn’t safe, and humanity isn’t! And being armed with a weapon is definitely an effective resistance technique against rape.

Fighting back when unarmed against an armed rapist.

Only 11% of rapes involve weapons

This demonstrates a high level of arrogance and overconfidence on the part of the assailants. They believe that women will just give in to them, and some even (extremely inaccurately) convince themselves that women actually want to be raped. It also demonstrates that (for the large majority of rapists) sexual assault and humiliation are the goal as opposed to physical violence itself.

Research on the effectiveness of resistance against armed assailants is mixed. Some shows that (unarmed) resistance strategies against unarmed assailants are equally effective for avoiding rape by armed assailants, 3. whilst some show that (unarmed) resistance against armed assailants is not effective. 1.

Fighting back when armed against an armed rapist.

When faced by an armed assailant women who have a weapon themselves are less likely to suffer completed rape. 2. 3. 5.

I assume that this is partly because men are expecting a soft target. Partly though this might also be because (in many cases) the weapon is there to force the victim into not resisting, rather than to do physical damage to the victim. Put differently, the mind-set of the assailant is often geared not towards physical assault but rather towards sexual assault. Obviously there are some atrocities committed that fall outside this generalisation!

But what about rapist personality types like the sadist?

One of the concerns expressed in terms of women resisting rape is that despite the fact that on average women are less likely to suffer increased physical harm, there might be a particular rapist personality type (e.g. potentially the sadist) where increased resistance is met by increased violence. However, current research using a valid classification of different types of rapists has not shown this to be the case. 4. More research needs to be conducted on this topic. 

Either way though more violent rapists begin their assault with higher levels of violence, and most rape victims tend to respond to more violent rape attempts with more physically forceful resistance.

So basically women being subjected to higher levels of physical violence tend to defend themselves more physically anyway!

6 Reasons why many women choose not to carry weapons with them:

  1. They can be an effort to transport around and look after
  2. Weapons can be costly, particularly for a student
  3. Women are afraid they may be used by their assailant against them
  4. Women do not believe that they will be able to access them or use them effectively if attacked
  5. They are afraid that it may lead to embarrassment and judgement, particularly in cases of acquaintance rape. For example she might be afraid that her new partner might judge her if she has a pepper spray on her key chain whilst talking to him at the end of a date, or think her weird if she has a Taser in her the bedroom
  6. Women also tend to be in denial about the level of risk of ever being attacked, particularly in the case of an acquaintance

Only have weapons that can be easily accessed in the situation for which they were purchased

Although some women carry some sort of weapon with them in their car, bag or keychain, they are seldom actually able to bring it to bear when they are attacked. They are neither mentally nor strategically prepared enough to use them.

Tips on buying weapons

  1. Research potential weapons before purchasing so you know what is available and what they are capable of
  2. Weigh up the strengths and weaknesses of each weapon. For example a large knife will have a great scare value and potential striking power, though it might be illegal and/or hard to carry, and your attacker might be able to take it off you and use it against you.
  3. Consider your lifestyle and the locations in which you operate to see which weapons will suit you best. In the image you will see that you can now buy smart phone cases double as a taser. These are not dummy phones, but rather genuine smartphone cases that double as tasers or indeed pepper sprays!
  4. Consider your particular personality type as well as physical strengths and weaknesses. There is little point in carrying a gun around if you know you would never use it.
  5. Buy particular weapons for particular situations or scenarios. Make sure that you can realistically be able to reach them in a rape situation. So you might have a huge can of pepper spray with a diffuse spray that you keep in your flat, whilst buying a tiny yet potent pepper spray to go with the rape whistle on your key chain.
  6. Then speak to the experts who sell the products. Take your time understanding the products, inhaling the advice and trying out the array of weapons to make sure they are practical for the situation they are meant.
  7. Practise with them. There is no substitute for practise! Get used to the feel of them and become aware of each weapon’s strengths and limitations. But most importantly you need to be able to operate each one swiftly and automatically under any conditions.

This series on How to prevent being raped will conclude next week with part 10 of 10 when we sum up all the skills necessary to defend oneself against rape as we look Towards a comprehensive rape prevention program.

References

  1. Clay-Warner, J. (2002). Avoiding rape: The effects of protective actions and situational factors on rape outcome. Violence and Victims, 17, 691-705.
  2. Kleck, G., & Sayles, S. (1990). Rape and resistance. Social Problems, 37, 149-162.
  3. Ullman, S. E. (1997). Review and critique of empirical studies of rape avoidance. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 24, 177-204.
  4. Ullman, S. E., & Knight, R. A. (1995). Women’s resistance strategies to different rapist types. Criminal Justice and Behavior,22, 263-283.

Like what you read? Why not share it with your friends

Follow Us
rss
pinterest
Like Us
pinterest