Five Reasons Why "Teach Women Self-Defense" Isn't a Comprehensive Solution to Rape

Before I start this post in earnest, I want to make it clear that I am not suggesting that women should not take self-defense courses, that women should not get involved in martial arts, or that there's no such thing as a woman who has successfully defended herself against assault, sexual or otherwise. What this post is intended to address is the exceedingly common recommendation in rape threads that women should "learn how to protect themselves" as the (one-and-only) solution to rape, and the equally frequent comment that people have enrolled their daughters in martial arts classes so they "will know how to take care of themselves."

Self-protection is, at best, one part of a comprehensive solution to rape--and it's not even as straightforward as it may seem. Looking at the complex and practical realities of what teaching women self-defense in regard to rape prevention really means is the focus of this post.

Its raison d'être is the progressively frequent references to rape's inevitability and women's need to learn self-defense as the only surefire way to prevent rape. (See An Angry Old Broad's comment here, in the Bob Herbert thread, as an example of how this meme is disseminated in the media.)


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