Tag Archives: word choice

Don’t Get Raped

11 Apr

It seems like a simple enough phrase: “Don’t get raped.”

Really, though. It is quite the opposite.

Those 3 words conjure up feelings of spite toward rape culture, of dark alleys filled with men waiting for a girl to unknowingly walk through, of the act itself. The only time I’ve found myself saying this phrase to anyone, whether male or female, is when I’m being facetious. This comes from the same place that causes me to both be very aware of my surroundings, but also not fear them. My choice of advice when a friend is leaving is actually “don’t get murdered.”

Same amount of usefulness, but it suits my style a little better.

You see, saying don’t get raped isn’t very useful on the surface, and people get all up in arms about this phrase because we shouldn’t be advocating don’t get raped we should be advocating don’t rape. Saying don’t get raped somehow puts the blame on the victim of such a crime making it somehow his/her fault, which is obviously untrue.

Just like saying don’t get murdered saying don’t get raped is actually a much more loaded phrase than we think it is. It means “watch your surroundings”, “make good choices”, “don’t get into a windowless van with a stranger”. It embodies all of those things in just 3 words, because if it was as easy as teaching people to not rape, rape wouldn’t be a thing anyway. The kicker is that people who rape, or murder, or commit serial crimes have problems that extend beyond the simply telling them to not rape. They don’t care about consent because they crave the power that comes without it. I’d love if someone could post some statistics in the comments (that’s what you get when you blog with a poor internet connection), but I feel like rape and murder have to be statistically similar.

I also want to point out that because of the mentality that is commonly associated with rape and murder and such crimes, telling someone before they go out on the town “don’t rape anyone” automatically casts blame onto the recipient. They go from feeling like a normal person to feeling as though the person giving such advice truly feels that they are capable of such a crime. I know that “no means no” and if a friend of mine told me in all seriousness to not rape someone, I would be extremely offended. The phrase don’t rape assumes the worst in someone, and that isn’t okay either.

My advice is to use better word choice when teaching young people about consent, such as “no means no” and that coercion isn’t okay and that you are never entitled to someone else’s body, regardless of your relationship to them.  We should also gravitate toward using phrases such as “make good choices” because even if rape disappeared entirely, you can still have a lot of bad things happen to you from point A to point B. 

“Make good choices” is also an empowering phrase, that brings us out of this vicious cycle of rape culture. Because really, while I have a very unpopular opinion of rape and sexual assault, I’ve never met a single soul who really thinks that rape is caused by the victim.

Make good choices, folks.

Do you agree that “don’t get raped” is a much more loaded statement that just being about rape? Do you agree that “don’t rape” is assumptive and negative? How do you think we should teach kids about sex, consent, and relationships? Does “make good choices” perpetuate rape culture, too, and if so, how do we not perpetuate rape culture?