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Please stop telling me how not to get raped

On Tuesday, the South African Police Service sent a series of tweets detailing safety tips to avoid rape. In an extraordinarily ill-considered turn of phrase, they tweeted that SAPS Northwest “are concerned about escalating contact crimes due to victims who roam the streets late at night”.

Just let that sink in for a minute. “Due to”. In other words, because of.

I responded to the tweet, explaining that rape doesn’t happen because of victims walking alone at night, but because (some) men choose to rape, and that rapists are usually known to their victims — something, incidentally, I would expect the police to know. I then suggested they police the behaviour of perpetrators rather than victims.

SAPS has since withdrawn the tweet and apologised “unreservedly” for their choice of words, which is a relief. But the problem does not just lie with the phrasing; it’s with the very idea of “tips to avoid rape”.

Whenever anything is written about victim-blaming, someone will leave a comment explaining that there are ways to reduce your chances of being raped — don’t drink too much, don’t walk alone, and so forth. Why not do what you can? It’s not blaming, it’s risk mitigation!

Here’s the thing: The vast majority of South African women are very well aware that we are at risk of being raped every damn day of our lives. This is not our fault. It is the fault of people who see us as chattel and who actively decide to take away our bodily autonomy.

We already do things to “minimise the risk”. We avoid dark streets. We keep an eye on our drinks. We walk to our cars with our keys between the knuckles of our index and middle fingers, in case we need to stab.

This has not protected a large number of women I know from being raped.

Do you think this is fair?

The problem with risk mitigation advice is that when someone did not follow one of these rules and does, by chance, get raped, the implication is that it was her fault for being careless. It was not. It was the fault of the man who chose to rape. It also ignores the fact that many women (and men) are raped or otherwise assaulted in other circumstances, such as in their own homes, sometimes by people they care about.

The next tweet from SAPS stated that “[a] number of cases were recently reported whereby victims were allegedly raped while walking alone during the night”. It would have been perfectly fine to state that there has been an increase in reported rapes in particular areas, as a general warning to the public. Of course, we would then also expect increased police patrols in these areas, to catch the alleged rapists.

Not only does the initial tweet place the blame squarely on the shoulders of the victims (“You shouldn’t have been walking there!”), there is a big problem with that one little word, “roam”, which carries the suggestion of “roam free”. How dare we as women walk freely on the streets of our own country?

We do not need any more advice on how not to get raped. We need the people who have been tasked with protecting us to do their job.


  • Louise is a freelance journalist and writer living in Johannesburg. She is particularly interested in topics surrounding social justice and gender rights. She's on Twitter as @frrlou.


  1. Stella Stella 20 August 2014

    Poor choice of words by SAPS, certainly.

    That said, it’s clear that some women simply aren’t minimizing the risk as you are. And SAPS is then right to advise them to minimize the risk.
    Is it your fault if you are the victim of a smash and grab because your handbag is visible on your passenger seat? No.
    Should you put your handbag on your passenger seat? No.

    Yes, victim-blaming is unhelpful and should be called out, but this is semantics. Any strategy that lessens the chance of a woman being raped should be employed. If this means warning us about venturing out alone at night, so be it. That way, we have the opportunity to empower ourselves and to reduce the risk.

    It just should have been better expressed.

  2. GrahamJ GrahamJ 20 August 2014

    Actually, we need the parents of boy and girl children to teach them that boys and girls are equal, women and men are equal. This may sound obvious, but in my experience, boys are taught from day one that they are superior to girls and that a man will one day have his own girl. It leads to a view that girls are there for chasing, not treating withy equality.

  3. Bruce Bruce 20 August 2014

    The issue with crime is a social problem and the police are in a position where they are simply the cure, not the prevention. Rape can only be blamed on rapists – that is a given, not police and definitely not the victims. With the high degree of rape by men known to the victim, it is impossible to police preventatively.

    The people who need to act to change rape culture (and therefore prevent rape) are parents (in particular fathers), teachers and the men who associate with misogynists. Regrettably until society reaches a point where people who partake of rape culture are ostracised safety tips are needed, even if only for the young women who are starting to test their freedom. Having said that I cannot accept the wording of these warnings as quoted or the victim blaming that is perpetrated by the police and the courts – I would describe this more as victim violation than blaming.

    The police, the judiciary and the legal fraternity need to sort out this blame culture that to be blunt is a subset of the rape culture. Guess these are all male dominated areas of society – no wonder they need education on the right of women to freely participate in society, whether going for a stroll alone under a starry sky on a dark night or through getting drunk, with alcohol consumption being the danger not the guys with you.

  4. zoo keeper zoo keeper 20 August 2014

    The Police’s job is not to protect you. it is to investigate the crime. If they see the crime in progress they can step in. But proactive crime prevention, arresting “suspicious” people because a policeman may be “suspicious” is begging for a return to the police state we fought and died for just 20 years ago.

    If you want a police state then go out and say it. Allow the police unlimited rights of arrest and detention, reverse the onus of proof etc.

    The police cannot protect you every day. Self defense and personal security is not a spectator sport.

    Consider the following study results (From Michael Z Williamson)

    – Victims crying or pleading were raped 96% of the time

    – Victims who loudly screamed were raped between 44% and 50% of the time

    – Victims who ran were raped 15% of the time

    – Victims who forcefully resisted (without a weapon) were raped 14% of the time

    – Women who resisted with knives or guns were raped less than 1% of the time

    Protecting yourself from a rapist or a gang is something only you can do when it counts. That is the real issue here, women being taught someone else must protect them when the chips are down. It should be painfully obvious in South Africa that this is a doomed strategy.

  5. J.J. J.J. 20 August 2014

    @ Bruce #

    “Regrettably until society reaches a point where people who partake of rape culture are ostracised safety tips are needed, even if only for the young women who are starting to test their freedom.”

    Very well said. Now, the BIG question here is: “Why indeed are people who partake of rape culture NOT ostracised?”

    I brought this point up in a previous debate and it was not universally well received
    ( ), although no other solutions were offered either.

    The police can only do so much. It IS up to everyone, men and women to deal with this issue on a community level, but if no one cares about or even know their neighbours, well then no one will care… That’s the nature of individualistic society. Also the days of chivalry are over – women are as responsible for themselves as men are (responsible for themselves). It happens to be that women are more often victims of rape in particular. Men are victims more often of other types of crimes.

    Pointing out the responsibility each and every person has to avoid becoming a victim is not victim blaming – it is a reminder of each person’s personal responsibility, for staying safe and keeping themselves safe. I agree that the wording of the SMS was unfortunate, but sending it was a proactive approach by the SAPS.

    We live in a violent society – this is a fact of life – as unfortunate as it is.

  6. Marieke Marieke 20 August 2014

    Thank you very much for this much needed article!

  7. hippiegoth hippiegoth 20 August 2014

    In response to the comment about “proactive crime prevention:”

    I agree: we don’t want a police state. I do think, however, that proactive crime prevention could more effectively take the forms of raising children to respect their own and others’ bodies, questioning and dismantling patriarchal social structures (including those that imply to males that their worth is measured by their sexual conquests) and generally discouraging rape culture.

    I’d like to see – hopefully in my lifetime – that people don’t need to be protected from rape nearly as often as is currently the case (nevermind by whom they should be protected). I’d like to see our legal system improved, so that more rape cases actually follow a path of justice (rather than getting botched up by missing files, etc.). I don’t think those who are falsely accused should be punished, and I’m willing to agree that at least some people are falsely accused – but the proportion of rape cases that lead to convictions are ridiculous.

    The statistics about victims and/or survivors are interesting. However, again, there are complications: you can’t know how you will react under stress. What about those of us who freeze as a defensive reaction? What about the confusion of not wanting to hurt the rapist, because it’s someone you know and thought you could trust? After the fact, it doesn’t seem rational, but shock does strange things. I’ve often heard the question, “What if a weapon I carry is used…

  8. Haiwa Tigere Haiwa Tigere 21 August 2014

    @louise, who is “We do not need any more advice on how not to get raped” you are speaking for. There are thousands upon thousands of women without your weapon of choice car keys where ever they are. There are thousands and millions of women without the said car keys.

    Unless its a royal “We” you speak only for yourself and a lot of people will appreciate that and your right to say it. A friendly reminder from the police does no harm. ignore it or chuck it into the bin but dont pretend to speak for the myriads of women out there.
    As zookeeper above says its not the polices job to prevent crime but to catch and. prosecute. They have acknowledged the seriousness of rape by making an effort to prevent it in whatever simple way which could be understood by ALL not just the high and mighty and their car keys..
    Think what you like but if you leave $100 note on the shop bench somebody will steal it.And a drunk woman walking alone in the dark will be like a 100 bill to a less self controlled man.
    Good luck with trying to stop rape cases by education. Really good luck with that.There will always be bad men and they will always rape.
    What really is wrong in the police trying to stop the 1% rapes by opportunistic men who see a woman flailing in the alley as easy prey.Polices hearts are in the right place I think.
    Here you are police trying to do the right thing and you slag them. Please look at the bigger picture. Police are not just talking to you but to…

  9. The Praetor The Praetor 21 August 2014

    As far as I am concerned, the police were providing a public service, by advising women not to place themselves at risk, and anyone reading their tweets should have gotten the ‘gist’; of the message, instead of playing the semantics game and saying they should have said this or that.

    It is just common sense for people to take care of themselves, whether male or female. Even males get warned not to walk down lonely alleys, and if anyone is gonna have the attitude…I have the right to walk alone late at night, from a bar and under the influence, they have nobody to blame but themselves, when they get into trouble.
    To say the police should police the perpetrators of these crimes is absurd, the police can only arrest someone after the fact, and the woman would have been raped already.
    Further to state that people should educate their children about not raping, is silly, as most parents naturally would do this, but the sexual urge transcends these basics of upbringing in certain people

    There is no better substitute for caution and common sense in protecting yourself.

    The Praetor

  10. Anna Anna 21 August 2014

    Poor choice of words by police. However we do not live in an ideal world/country and women do need more advice on how not to get raped. In fact what about teaching basic self defence for girls and boys in schools? And I am sick of this emphasis on WOMEN – sit in the children’s sexual abuses court in Durban, for example, and listen to the cases of one little boy after another who has been raped/sodomised.
    And this may cause a storm of comment but why have women no pride and walk about in a state of undress, skirts so short that when they sit down their underwear is showing, when they bend forward very little is covered? Many rapist are under the influence of something, they aren’t going to reason, oh well she has every right to be in public like that. They will pick on that girl as opposed to the one who is decently dressed.

  11. Johan Johan 21 August 2014

    As zoo keeper said, the best defence against rape is to empower women to arm themselves and fight back.

    The police may catch your rapist, but only you can stop him/her.

  12. Gideon Joubert Gideon Joubert 21 August 2014

    Indeed, I share Zookeeper’s sentiments. An armed woman is far more dangerous to a potential rapist than the threat of arrest.

  13. SteveT SteveT 21 August 2014

    There are 2 main ways that people interact and transact, namely through reason or through force. In civilized society, we prefer to transact through reason. Rape is a transaction of force. The rapist wants the victim and takes it by force. The victim cannot “reason” their way out of it and the only defence is equal or greater force. Whether that force originates from a policeman/security guard or indeed from the victim him/herself is the only question. Who are the only 2 parties guaranteed to be at the scene of the crime? The victim and the perpetrator of course! Therefore it stands to reason that having the ability to deploy sufficient force to defend yourself is the solution. Once the threat of force is neutralized by equal or greater force, all that remains is reason.

    As the stats above show, those that resist forcefully with weapons (weapons compensate for physical weakness and lesser numbers), have the best outcomes. We are all responsible for our own safety. Get over your fear, get armed, get trained, dont be a victim be the victor.

  14. SteveT SteveT 21 August 2014

    To add to my previous comments: Victim blaming is pointless and only makes them feel more guilt. Teaching kids from an early age the proper respect for others is the ideal, but we must be aware that there will always be those that were not taught and then there will also those that were taught but revert to the evil they are. Ultimately, regardless of what Utopia we imagine, rapists and murderers will stalk the planet and no amount of hand wringing will change that. Be prepared to deal with evil when it comes around.

  15. Baz Baz 21 August 2014

    Lack of a doctor presence close by should a rape case be reported for medical exmination at the ploice station.
    Also counselling should be given to victim on how to deal with the stigma attached to beeing raped. People in general are not educated enough in this regard and its left in the hands of the actual person to do their own research before it actualy happens.
    For the record: rape & murder statistics are never given correctly in South Africa.

  16. Louwrens Marais Louwrens Marais 21 August 2014

    Louise, thanks for a thought-inspiring article. Your premise, that this problem needs to be addressed at the source, is of course 100% correct. However, we should also face the reality that there will not be an overnight change. In our lifetimes, mitigation strategies against all forms of crime WILL REMAIN A REQUIREMENT in our day to day lives.

    Your article shows that you take your risk-mitigation strategies seriously. Please read Zoo Keeper’s response again: fight back, tooth and nail, with everything you have. The better prepared to fight back you are, the bigger your chance is to escape unharmed.

    A nefarious message – that it is somehow wrong to defend yourself against a crime against your person, using force that may include lethal force – has been perpetuated by some organisations that put up a thin veneer of “public safety considerations”. It is very easy to paint these things in an emotional light (because they are highly emotional issues) but we really need to look at it from an objective viewpoint: when seconds matter, help (like the police) is generally only minutes away. We need to accept and take, responsibility for our own immediate safety. This includes mitigation strategies such as not being in high-risk areas, arming yourself, and developing a good shouting voice!

    In the mean time, we can but hope that the actions to address the problem at the source are also successful, leading to a safer country for our daughters and sons.

  17. SteveT SteveT 21 August 2014

    Freezing under stress is you body’s adrenal response, or at least one of them (the others being flight and fight). It is trying to access some short term memory of how to deal with the threat but it is coming up empty. This can easily be solved by proper training, where the short term memory is filled with conditioned responses. Under stress, your brain searches for the right response, finds it and actions it in split seconds. as an example: when driving in traffic a taxi suddenly stops in front of you. You dont freeze and crash into him (ok some do), you step on the brake or swerve. You dont think, you act. This is sometimes known as “muscle memory”. A woman with the right training and the right mindset is a fierce creature, usually left in peace by predators. Why are they left in peace? The ooze self confidence and dont look like victims.

  18. zoo keeper zoo keeper 21 August 2014


    For an example of defending yourself.

    In 1966 in Orlando Florida following a spate of rape crimes a highly publicized firearm self defense programme for women was undertaken. About 2500 women were trained with firearms for self defense.

    In 1967 the rape crime rate dropped 88% whilst the rest of the State remained constant. In Kansas City around the same time a similar programme was held to deal with business robberies, and a similar result recorded.

    We need to stop depending on police to protect us 24/7. It is neither their job nor a task any police service in the world could possibly live up to.

    You are the first responder to your own crime scene.

    You mention you know a number of rape victims, would they prefer learning real self defense techniques including tools such as firearms or lobbying the State to pass another law? Remembering of course that their rapist knowingly broke the law in raping them in the first place.

    It would be great if you could canvas their views and let us know.

    Personally, I like my women strong and in a position to be able to deal with a threat on their own. I hope you do too.

  19. Perry Perry 21 August 2014

    First (and most obviously) that police tweet was awful and I’m pleasantly surprised that they responded the way they did.
    Secondly, I’d like to think there are methods of risk minimisation that are totally distinct from victim-blaming. When I teach my self-defense students what to look for WRT potential muggings and ways to react if the mugging does occur, I’m not placing any blame on the victims (we use a lot of CCTV footage as case studies). Similarly, everything we can and should be doing to raise ethical young men who respect the autonomy of others (in all ways, not just sexually) can completely co-exist with providing women with the tools (mental and mechanical) to manage those cases (which I hope will shrink massively, but I doubt we will ever reduce to zero) where all our attempts fail AND the justified confidence that society will back them when a violent response is necessary.

  20. Perry Perry 21 August 2014

    I’m afraid you’re way off the mark. Firstly, the best evidence from rape cases is that the way the victim is dressed has zero influence on the decision making of the rapist.
    Using that, or anything else, as an excuse for the decisions and actions of a rapist is just offers them an excuse to avoid culpability; we need to teach boys that there is NO excuse.

  21. nguni nguni 21 August 2014

    I find the quote “escalating contact crimes due to victims who roam the streets late at night” quite shocking.
    Re women arming themselves: pepper spray is also good unless its a gang.
    If you have to shoot, remember to aim for the part of their body that would be doing the raping, that way you spare other women rapes in the future AND it’s not a homicide with all the extra paperwork..

  22. Louwrens Marais Louwrens Marais 21 August 2014

    @nguni: “If you have to shoot, remember to aim for the part of their body that would be doing the raping, that way you spare other women rapes in the future AND it’s not a homicide with all the extra paperwork”

    This is exceptionally bad advice. The plain fact of the matter is that, in using potentially lethal force to stop an attack on your person, you are completely justified in using all the force necessary to do that. If the perpetrator / aggressor / rapist is killed as a result, then so be it. Do not fall for the perpetuated fallacy that you should not defend yourself with lethal force, should the need arise; your life is far more worth than the time spent in doing the paperwork!

  23. Momma Cyndi Momma Cyndi 21 August 2014

    Echoes of the origins of ‘Slut Walk’.
    It also puts me in mind of those ‘Danger: Hijacking Hotspot’ signs. What must the sign do? Unless you give said sign a gun and powers to arrest, it is pretty damn useless.

    Saying that police are not there to protect is not quite true. The police are not supposed to sit and watch a crime take place and THEN investigate it. They are supposed to, where possible, prevent any crime from taking place. It is no coincidence that a higher, visible, police presence has a direct influence on the amount of crime. With a 1% conviction rape on rapists, the rapists aren’t that scared of the investigation either.

    As for fighting or screaming – some rapists want that. Rape seldom has anything to do with sex, it has to do with overpowering, subjugating and ‘feeling powerful’. Just look at Anene. She fought like a wildcat – bless her – but that didn’t save her. If people did something about screaming, that may work but, people tend to be too afraid to go out to see what is happening, these days.

    Rather than making women prisoners for the crime of being women, we need to make the entire country sit up and decide to not put up with it

  24. DavyH DavyH 22 August 2014

    We’ve had a spate of smash and grabs and armed hold-ups around our office; the company’s security office has sent out a number of notices on how to minimise the risks. I don’t see this as being victimised because I drive a car, although I, too, would like to see a wider police presence around the building and main thoroughfares. Nevertheless, if a single staff member avoids a confrontation with an armed assailant as a result of these notices, then they have worked. Posiibly the police’s approach could have been better phrased, but if just one woman avoids being raped as a result, was it in fact the correct approach?

  25. Julian Frost Julian Frost 22 August 2014

    You make a valid point. However…
    There is the world as it should be, and the world as it is. The SAP advice is what I call “world as it is” advice. I frequently need to walk around with a laptop in a bag. I know that makes me a target, so I take steps to mitigate the risks, like carrying a collapsible baton and pepper spray, avoiding certain areas and keeping an eye out. That won’t guarantee I’ll never have my laptop stolen in a mugging, but it lowers the odds.

  26. Perry Perry 22 August 2014

    @nguni. I think you’re way off base here. Neither rape nor self-defense are matters to be laughed about, but the former to be approached with appropriate horror and support and the latter with a sober understanding of necessity of vigorous, legal responses. While I’m sure you mean well, jokes only confuse the issue for people who might not understand our rights and responsibilities in self-defense.

  27. J.J. J.J. 22 August 2014

    @ Momma Cyndi #

    Where do rapes take place? In broad daylight or outside in public where the police can “observe” before taking action? No. These crimes take place exactly where there are no cops around. Would you prefer the police patrol toilets, bedrooms, back alleys, fields, cars parked in isolated places, etc? Be realistic. Extra patrolling and more presence is indeed required, but that’s more likely to reduce burglaries, muggings and robberies and potentially hijacking (if you have more traffic police on the roads).

    “If people did something about screaming, that may work but, people tend to be too afraid to go out to see what is happening, these days.”

    You see, everything has a price and there is cause and effect to everything. We as a society (especially city dwellers, not so much rural people, but even in small towns you find this nowadays) have rejected (the concept of) community and “looking out for each other”. The reason for that is that what it basically comes down to is that people do not want to (have to) care… and that is the truth. This is the nature of the selfish capitalist(ic) lifestyles that the vast majority of people who consider themselves as modern, embrace.

    Just look at when anyone suggests a return to mutual respect or values or heaven forbid, that dirty word: “morals”… There are simply no takers.

    We need a complete overhaul of society and this is a general Western problem.

  28. J.J. J.J. 22 August 2014

    @ Momma Cindy

    …it reminds me of those ‘Danger: Hijacking Hotspot’ signs. What must the sign do?

    The sign is to alert you that you should ensure that all your doors are locked and that your windows are completely wound up and that you should be as alert as possible to anyone approaching you (as opposed to be distorted by daydreaming or whatever) and if you don’t have vehicles in front or behind you can can pull off quickly (if you were at a stop) and or you can avoid stopping in that area at all costs.

    These warning and signs help you to be more careful and responsible when called for – it assist you an that endeavour – ultimately to stay safe/r.

    Two words: Personal Responsibility.

    If/when the tourism board and or SAPS (for example) warn hikers that there has been a spate of muggings on Table Mountain and or recently (as happens every now and again in Cape Town) and that hikers should be aware of that, do we call that “victim blaming”?

    Do hikers instead say: “Please stop telling me how not to get mugged” ?

    What we you do in such a case when you still want to go for a hike? You would usually do some or all of the following: You don’t take your smart phone with you, you take an el-cheapo. You don’t carry your wallet, only enough cash (not much). You don’t wear expensive jewellery. You hike with other people. You don’t hike after dark. You choose more popular routes. If you could take mace or a firearm.

  29. Momma Cyndi Momma Cyndi 22 August 2014


    Really? So all those rapes that occur in broad daylight are a figment of our imaginations? You will be surprised at the places (and times of day) that rape occurs.

    I am in no way saying that everyone (especially women) must ignore potential dangers, I just don’t think that living in a permanent state of complete fear is reasonable. I am not the criminal and I resent having to live in a prison! I resent my sisters being blamed for being raped because of what they were wearing or where they were walking. You have nuns, burka’d women, grannies and babies being raped so, blaming us for where we were or what we were wearing is obviously just a poor attempt to excuse the rapists.

    Having traveled quite a bit, I have realised that we are like the frog in the boiling water. The water keeps getting gradually hotter and we just keep thinking it is normal – it isn’t! It is a sad fact that I feel safer walking in Ethiopia or Afghanistan than I do walking in my own neighbourhood! That isn’t right.

    If women are being raped in area X or cars are being hijacked under bridge Y, I expect the police to DO SOMETHING. If there is a drug den in house Z, I expect them to DO SOMETHING. It is what they are paid to do! Either they must do their job or they must step aside and allow us to all go vigilante. Those are the current options and I don’t think any of us want the second option.

  30. Momma Cyndi Momma Cyndi 22 August 2014


    Just to add : I live in a great neighbourhood. If there is the slightest sign of trouble, the whole neighbourhood comes out. That doesn’t mean that I am safe. We have a very low crime rate but, that still doesn’t mean that I don’t circle the block three times before stopping at my gate late at night.

    If I (who does full contact marshal arts, live in a safe neighbourhood own a gun and a car) feel vulnerable, what of the women who work at restaurants and have no option but to walk in the dark? Do we ‘blame’ them for not taking enough notice of a damn sign?

  31. zoo keeper zoo keeper 23 August 2014

    I guess the most frustrating part of the advice from the SAPS is that it tells how to behave / not to behave. It is the tone of the message – you are not free to walk where you like, when you like or dress how you like.

    However, to add to what I have posted above, it is your response that is misdirected. You plead for the police to protect you and do something, anything.

    But the police’s message is acknowledgement of the fact that they cannot be everywhere all the time. Its just life in a high violent crime society like ours.

    What is missing from the police’s message is strong advocacy of self-defense and a robust view of one’s rights to self-defense. Police should be encouraging self-defense and taking whatever action is required to protect oneself.

    That is the flaw in the police’s message – where is the message on self-defense? Why do our police (as opposed to US police) always shy away from giving us encouragement to defend ourselves in our times of need?

    Perhaps the police should explain why they never come out in strong support of self-defense? A community which believes in self-defense is a difficult target. The more difficult the target, the less likely it will be attacked. Sure the criminal could win if the brought more with him, but that means more sharing, and less return for higher risk – the economics of crime will take care of things.

    Violent crime can only be combated with deterrence. We need our women strong.

  32. hippiegoth hippiegoth 24 August 2014


    I completely agree with your comments about the potential value of training in case of emergencies. I’m in support of people learning martial arts or other techniques for self-defence. I’m wary, however, of advice that people should “just protect themselves” without having undergone training – thus, my (cut-off) comment about people carrying weapons that are too easily turned against them. I think it’s important that such training be both mental and physical, and physical training is essential before arming oneself.

    As for the matter of confidence… I still have my doubts about cases where rape is coercive – where the rapist is a loved one, relative, etc. I’ve known women who were otherwise confident, and who I suspect would have fought off a stranger, but who froze or went numb when violated by those they’d thought they could trust. This, I think, points to a need for better communication and education. I’ve been shocked when working with high school pupils to discover that their understanding of the definition of rape is very limited: that it necessarily happens between strangers, canot occur within a relationship or marriage, that only women can be raped (and only by men), etc.

  33. zoo keeper zoo keeper 25 August 2014


    Training for self-defense is of course important.

    We mustn’t take our cue from Hollywood and believe that some training in martial arts will allow a petite lady to fight off a motivated gang of 5 or 6 armed with weapons themselves. As my sensei always used to say, “The only way to ensure you win the fight is to run away.” Fighting hurts, a lot.

    Carrying a weapon such as a firearm may allow a petite lady to stave off an attack from a group of men and to do this by simply showing them it. No martial art can equalize a bad situation like a firearm.

    As for being used against you, if they were such a liability then criminals wouldn’t use it “What if their victim took it and used it against them?” If you were more likely to be killed by your own criminals would be going extinct. Those kinds of arguments don’t hold water logically and are also contradicted by statistical evidence – see the Orlando Florida example above.

    We live in a violent crime-ridden society. The price we pay is eternal vigilance and to train ourselves to defend ourselves and our loved ones with a tool of our choice. Importantly, we should have the choice of tool we wish to use, be it a set of car keys, mace or firearm. And of course whatever you choose you should practice with it – but that is a choice and discipline of the individual.

    And I agree, educating our kids is vital. They are our future.

  34. ProudlyFemale ProudlyFemale 21 December 2015

    Since the beginning of time there has been the misconception by some men that women are just weak little things that do the washing and clean the house. Attitudes towards women really haven’t changed much. From a very young age my girls were taught that they are potential victims of rape. I explained that my perception is that men are and always have been, scared of women being better than them because rape is a form of power over a woman or man. Unfortunately there are men who think with a certain part of their anatomy and that part is actually stronger than their brain. Women have been fighting for equality for more years than we can count and most women STILL don’t earn the same as men even if they do the same job. I’ve never been raped. I don’t feel blessed about that – it should be the norm. I cannot think how it would feel for anyone to be a victim of rape – its wrong in all forms and I completely understand how it totally ruins lives.

  35. Earlymorrningcoffee Earlymorrningcoffee 6 January 2016

    The tweet is poorly worded although considering the status of the SAPS it was at least error free.
    On the subject itself, you have to ask yourself: do you want to be warned by the police that an area has a spike in crimes or not. If you prefer the latter then rather watch SABC, no rapes there.

  36. emelda emelda 9 March 2016

    There’s a programme on DSTV Channel 131/132 am not sure, its bait cars, the police are serting traps for the criminals, because there’s high rate of stolen cars in that area, what they do they leave their car with keys,at times with a door not toaly closed or they create a scene whereby someone comes to pick you up quickly you even forgot to close the door. That for me is very brilliant, and they catch a lot of crimnals, instead of teaching the society to be vigilant only, without them taking a step futher to combat crime. Deal more with the pepertrators.

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