Monday, 17 September 2012

But I'm just trying to be helpful!

Do you remember when you were little and you were so eager to help out your parent(s)/ caregivers with chores? Do you remember that your very good, and kind-hearted intentions weren't always terribly productive?


The thing is, sometimes we try to help with things that we're not entirely qualified to help with. Sometimes the results are good, and sometimes notsogood.


It's not that we don't mean well, but if we don't have the proper knowledge and experience to draw from, then it's possible to do more harm than good.



This is definitely the case when it comes to rape prevention advice. Often people with the best of intentions will perpetuate harmful, victim-blaming rape myths that do nothing to actively protect anyone and just create a more toxic environment for survivors of sexual violence.

When advice such as "don't dress like sluts if you don't want to get raped" gets passed on, the advice-giver may very well have good intentions. They may believe what they are saying, because so many other people are saying it, and because of the way our media portrays victims of sexual violence. Or, they may not entirely believe it, but they really don't like sluts and so even if their advice isn't sound, they can at least say they weren't supporting people being "slutty" (in whatever form that happens to take).

The problem is, passing on these myths prevents rape survivors from accessing justice and let rapists walk. That is not hyperbole, that is demonstrable fact. Passing on rape myths harms rape victims and helps rapists.

If you are sincere about wanting to help reduce instances of rape and reduce the risk of rape in your community, please be more picky about the advice you pass on. Here are some tangible, practical tips you can put into practice yourself and pass along that will make a positive difference.

Now, please go forth with actual safety advice that helps.


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