Rape commentary has been blowing up the Twitterverse, and as per the usual, not for reasons we should be too thrilled about. When I logged in yesterday, I was disturbed to find that “#LiberalTips2AvoidRape” was a trending hashtag, with gems such as these:
— AdolfJoeBiden™ (@Bidenshairplugs) February 19, 2013
#LiberalTips2AvoidRape Bring a whistle or other wind instrument and soothe the savage beast with music.
— Smitty (@smitty_one_each) February 19, 2013
The tweets are in response to comments by Colorado State Rep. Joe Salazar and new guidelines at the University of Colorado.
Salazar’s comments during Friday’s discussion of a bill that would ban concealed weapons permit holders from college campuses in the state that students who fear rape should rely on self-defense options other than guns because they’re too emotional and paranoid to identify sexual violence:
“It’s why we have call boxes, it’s why we have safe zones, it’s why we have the whistles,” Salazar said. “Because you just don’t know who you’re gonna be shooting at. And you don’t know if you feel like you’re gonna 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 around at somebody.”
Salazar’s comments combined with the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs’ newly published guidelines of what to do if you’re attacked have many pundits up in arms (no pun intended), particularly this one: vomiting or urinating may also convince the attacker to leave you alone. That suggestion is the one that sparked the fad of the oh-so-delightful hashtag and impeccably tasteful tweets.
This whole incident should remind all of us that we need to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act as soon as possible. The law provides $1.6 billion toward investigation and prosecution of violent crimes against both male and female victims of violent acts, impose automatic and mandatory restitution on those convicted, and established an Office on Violence Against Women. I don’t need to puke on my attacker’s shoes, buy a gun to protect myself, change the way I dress, think, act, or walk down the street, and I particularly don’t need snarky rape joke hash tags tweeted out on the internet. I need the law to stand by my side.