The University of Colorado Department of Public Safety had a list of 10 ‘last resort’ behaviors they recommended women turn to in order to evade an attacker during a rape.
This list, combined with statements from Colorado lawmaker Joe Salazar started a media firestorm. Salazar is in the process of trying to change gun laws in Colorado. In his controversial statements, he mentioned women turn to ‘rape whistles’ not guns in order to evade a rape incident.
College women reacted, especially since his suggestion directly impacted them. College campus throughout the United States have call boxes and rape whistles as a means of safety precautions for women.
Salazar’s comments coupled with the ‘last resort’ suggestions from the University of Colorado suggesting women urinate or say they have a disease outraged women. He stated:
“It’s why we have call boxes, it’s why we have safe zones, it’s why we have the whistles. Because you just don’t know who you’re gonna be shooting at,”
“And you don’t know if you feel like you’re going to be raped, or if you feel like someone’s been following you around or if you feel like you’re in trouble when you may actually not be, that you pop out that gun and you pop … pop a round at somebody.”
Here is the complete list of suggestions from their department of public safety document titled “What To Do If You’re Attacked”, a list meant to help women prevent sexual assault:
1. Be realistic about your ability to protect yourself.
2. Your instinct may be to scream, go ahead! It may startle your attacker and give you an opportunity to run away.
3. Kick off your shoes if you have time and can’t run in them.
4. Don’t take time to look back; just get away.
5. If your life is in danger, passive resistance may be your best defense.
6. Tell your attacker that you have a disease or are menstruating.
7. Vomiting or urinating may also convince the attacker to leave you alone.
8. Yelling, hitting or biting may give you a chance to escape, do it!
9. Understand that some actions on your part might lead to more harm.
10. Remember, every emergency situation is different. Only you can decide which action is most appropriate.
The list has since been removed by the the University of Colorado. Apologies were extended. In their statements, they mention the suggestions from the department of public safely were merely last resort and may have been misinterpreted in the social media world.
Salazar has also since gone on record, apologizing for his statements:
“The words I said near the end of a 12-hour debate are not reflective of the point I was trying to make,”
“I am a husband and father of two girls. I care deeply about their safety, and I would never question a woman’s ability to discern a threat. My larger point was about how more guns on campus don’t mean you’re more safe. I used a bad example. Again, I’m sorry.”
What are your thoughts on the list of suggestions for avoiding a sexual assault? How does Colorado lawmaker Joe Salazar’s statements suggesting women use a rape whistle instead of turning to guns make you think of how women are expected to handle themselves in a violent attack?
Sources: ABC News, The Washington Times, USSC Public Safety Department