Friday, September 18, 2009

Stats on the Diag

Last week as I was walking across the Diag, I noticed some chalk scribbled on the ground that immediately caught my attention. "1 in 4 women" followed by "No More Victims." My immediate reaction: frustration.

Why, you ask, was I perturbed? I am well aware that between 20 and 25% of college women will experience an attempted or completed sexual assault (according to the Department of Justice), and I believe that this kind of statistic should be advertised to both men and women of U of M's community. I do not, however, believe that the (non-student) self-defense organization who is responsible for plastering these statements on the Diag has any business to do so in a way that implies that being trained in self-defense will keep a person from being sexually assaulted.

For some reason, many people in our society believe that knowing how to beat someone up is going to keep them from being raped. Well, I'm here to tell you that this notion is completely false. To quickly cite some statistics, 90% of survivors were assaulted by someone who they know, and 60% of assaults take place in a survivor's home. Is knowing how to throw a punch going to safeguard you from your study buddy? What about your partner? Maybe yes. Probably not.

Choosing to train in self-defense or to fight back against an assailant should be left up to the survivor, not the greater public. No one knows what he or she would do in the situation until it happens, so it's not anyone's place to pass judgment on what a survivor "should have done." As a Department of Justice survey shows, of survivors who fought back against their perpetrator, only 50% said it helped; the other half said that fighting back actually made the violence worse. This shows that in some instances, fighting back may not be the smartest, or safest, thing to do.

So, to the (non-student) self-defense organization: your messages aren't helping the movement to end sexual violence; they are actually perpetuating society's idea that women must be proactive and do whatever they can to not make themselves a victim of sexual assault. However, we must recognize that it is not a woman's responsibility to learn self-defense in order to protect herself from any possible assaults. Rather, it is a perpetrator's responsibility to not assault someone.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Sexual Assault Prevention Tips That Are Guaranteed to Work!

This is a great (and entertaining) article that does a good job of highlighting some of the issues with current prevention techniques.

There was recently an article on Jezebel ( about such prevention efforts, and what is the most effective way to teach sexual assault prevention. So many times, we hear things like "cover your drink" or "don't walk alone at night" or "use the buddy system." The article at the link does a really great job at turning the table on these prevention methods. It is almost so absurd that it makes you laugh, but at the same time, it says exactly the right things. It is not the survivor's responsibility to protect themselves, rather it is the perpetrator's responsibility not to assault.

Come to our mass meeting on Wednesday, September 23rd, at 7pm or 8:30pm in the SAPAC office to talk more about this, and similar topics!

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SAPAC All Over Campus!

Yes, it is true. The NPAs (Networking, Publicity, & Activism volunteers) have been all over campus tabling at practically every single welcoming event this University had to offer. From Escapade, to Festifall, to Rackham Graduate Welcome Fair, we were there!

Here we are at Gayz Craze! (Alayna Schreier & Kristin Lakatos)

If for some reason you missed our table, it's not too late! We will be at Northfest this Thursday, September 17 from 11-3 pm on North Campus in the Duderstadt Courtyard. We will also be at the InBalance Community Wellness Fair from 2-5 pm on Saturday, 9/19. This event is at 1000 McIntyre (near the Northwood Apartments on North Campus).

Some other reminders:

**SAPAC is currently accepting volunteer applications for our fall training session. These can be found at

**SAPAC's MASS MEETINGS will be on Wednesday, 9/23 at 7 and 8:30 pm in the SAPAC Office (located at 715 N. University above This meeting is open to ANYONE interested in SAPAC! Please come and check us out!

If you have any questions, please email