If you are a woman, you have most likely grown up hearing people give you a long, long, list of things that you should/should not do in order not to get yourself raped. This list includes:
1) Not wearing a short skirt.
2) Not taking walks without a male friend with you.
3) Taking self defense classes.
4) Not drinking alcohol or doing drugs (not because of the health risks, JUST so you don't get yourself raped)
5) Not leaving your drink alone.
6) Avoiding certain hairstyles.
7) Avoiding wearing heels.
8) Not wearing a low cut blouse.
9) Carrying pepper spray with you.
10) Not living by yourself.
11) Refraining from passing out during a party.
12) Not flirting with a person who you aren't willing to have sex with.
13) Not dancing with a person who you aren't willing to have sex with.
14) Maintaining your virginity.
15) Not walking in certain ways.
and if you don't follow that list, well then, it's your fault anyway! You didn't get raped, you got yourself raped!
A lot of the people who tell women how to not get raped claim that they aren't blaming the victims. They claim that, even though it's not technically the victim's fault if she didn't follow all of the rules as to how not to get raped, it's still a woman's responsibility to learn all of these rules in order to prevent her own rape. A lot of them may not straight out blame the victim for her own rape, but will do so indirectly by putting the responsibility of preventing rape on her shoulders, as opposed to rapists' shoulders.
Aside from rape and some other hate crimes, like the assault and murder of trans people, I am not aware of any other crimes that people try to end by giving the responsibility of ending it to the victims. We don't tell people that they shouldn't drive in order to avoid getting hit by drunk drivers. We tell people not to drive while drunk. We don't tell people not to dress like they're rich in order to avoid getting robbed. We tell people not to steal. It's that simple. The responsibility of preventing rape should be completely focused on teaching people, men and women alike, to respect each others bodily autonomy and on teaching people the meaning of consent. Consent is not silence or a "well.. I guess". Consent is an enthusiastic YES! Consent doesn't mean that one person is just laying there, staring at the wall blankly. Consent is when both partners are very much engaged. Our society has this idea that, unless a woman is screaming for the other person to stop and is using a lot of physical force, that she has consented and it's okay for the man to go on. That is not what consent is.
It's obvious that we have a major problem on our hands, when it comes to rape and assault. One of the biggest problems is that we're attempting to prevent rape in the wrong way. We're taking a bad approach. Instead of giving women a long set of rules on how to not get rape, I propose that we ditch those rules and give people a long set of rules on how to prevent rape. Here's my list.
How to prevent rape
1) When your partner says no, s/he means no. S/he does not mean "wait a few minutes, then try again".
2) When your partner says no, don't say "aww, why? It's not that bad, I promise! I'll go easy on you!" Instead, say something like "Okay. Maybe we should cuddle instead!"
3) Understand that, if you are not 100% sure that your partner wants to have sex, that you need to stop and ask hir* if s/he is okay with it. If s/he says anything but a very confident "yes", then STOP.
4) Refrain putting drugs in people's drinks that will make them pass out so you can rape them.
5) Understand that, if a person is unable to consent (underage, asleep, passed out, drunk) that, if you have sex with hir, it is rape.
6) When your friend says "Hey, there's some passed out chick upstairs. I had my turn with her, go have fun!" do not rape the girl who is passed out. Instead, CALL THE POLICE.
7) Refrain from intentionally getting someone drunk so you can take advantage of hir.
8) Do not use language that objectifies and dehumanizes women. Doing this sets up a climate in which rape may be seen as "okay".
9) Do not blame people for being raped. Ever. Understand that it is ALWAYS 100% the rapist's fault, and that .
10) Understand that, if a person is a sex worker, then it's not okay to rape hir.
11) Understand that, if a person is walking alone at night, then it's not okay to rape hir.
12) Understand that, despite the clothing that a person is wearing, it's not okay to rape hir.
13) If your partner changes hir mind in the middle of any sex act, do not continue!
14) If your friends are rape apologists, try to educate them. If they still insist on defending rape, ditch the friendship.
15) If your so-called "friend" tells you that s/he raped someone, call the police.
16) Ditch the standard rules on how to prevent rape, because they are misdirected. Teach your friends and family rules that work.
If you have any other ideas, feel free to post them in the comments! :)
*gender neutral pronoun