Reducing Sexual Assaults: Self Defense Works Best

In a study surprising only in that it comes from Canada, researchers found that women taught to defend themselves suffer fewer sexual assaults.
The four-year study tracked nearly 900 women at three Canadian universities, randomly selecting half to take the 12-hour “resistance” program, and compared them to a second group who received only brochures, similar to those available at a health clinic. One year later, the incidence of reported rape among women who took the program was 5.2 per cent, compared to 9.8 per cent in the control group; the gap in incidents of attempted rape was even wider.

The discomfiting part: Potential victims are still shouldering the burden for their own safety.
I don't see why that should be "discomfiting." I've spent a great deal of my life learning to defend myself, my family, and those around me. I make it a point to always be armed, though often only with a knife, to help ensure that I am always capable of rendering an effective defense. I regard it as a source of pride that I am strong and capable in these areas, and that those I love are safer with me around.

I would regard it as shameful to depend entirely on others for my defense. I would regard it as slavish to accept that my only proper defense was to trust that others wouldn't hurt me.

Far from being discomfited by the thought that I should have a hand in my own defense, I think that taking charge of your own defense is virtuous and ennobling. If I had a daughter, I would hope that I could teach her to do the same.


Ymar Sakar said...

Only free men and women have the power to defend themselves. Slaves are not expected to defend anybody, even their masters. If they tried in 1830s slave plantations, they would be executed, for slaves bearing weapons is not allowed under certain societies.

The US Army could have promoted individual ability to kill rapists in various bases, but their power point slides had a different goal behind it.

raven said...

I did not read the article, but the 5-10% rape figures seem awfully high. I wonder what definition of rape was used? 10% of the women raped in a one year time frame? That sounds very unlikely if the traditional definition of an unwilling victim is used. Or are they talking about someone being drunk and willing, and later regretting it?

Grim said...

You can read the real journal article here, if you want. They say that they used the Sexual Experiences Survey - Short Form Victimization (SES-SFV). "Its strength is that it does not require correct labeling of sexual assault by participants but assesses how often particular experiences that legally constitute sexual assault (in Canada) and rape (in the United States) have occurred."

So I looked up that form, and if I'm reading it and its accompanying scoring sheet correctly it considers rape anything that involves (1) any form of sex when the woman was too drunk or 'out of it' to consent, (2) any form of sex when there was a threat of physical harm, or (3) any sort of physical force being used to compel any sort of sex.

That's not an unreasonable definition, although we get into grey areas where both parties were really drunk.

Texan99 said...

"Potential victims are still shouldering the burden for their own safety." The horror! All burdens, like all stress, must be eliminated.