This made me shake badly, but it speaks the absolute truth about why women are completely hosed when it comes to dealing with and trying to avoid rape. (Trigger warning, natch.)
This applies to "lesser" assaults - the kind women hear about every day, the kind that many people don't believe is that big a deal because they don't experience it themselves - as well. Following the rules of "feminine" behaviour means we're attacked from both ends. And why is it categorized as "not a big deal"? Because we're supposed to be nice, not make waves, not stir up shit, and be good little girls who don't cause a scene.
You know, if I'm going to be attacked either way, I would rather be attacked because I'm being "mean", rather than be blamed after I'm violated. So I'm letting all of you know that I'm done being polite. Next time a man demands my attention despite my clear disinterest, I'm going to ignore him. If he pushes it, I'm going to tell him what I think. If I'm a bitch for demanding equal consideration for my desires, then so be it. I am old enough that I simply don't care what strangers think of me.
The risk that all women face is that a man who is refused sometimes feels he has the right to force a woman to do what he wants. If he gets violent, I have... options. I'm not going into greater detail.
This applies to interactions in the SCA, too - anyone who touches me without my permission is going to get an earful. Tell you what - if I'm at an event you're attending, and some man (or woman) won't leave you alone, or is making you uncomfortable, come to me, and I'll be your voice, your safe space, and the words you can't make yourself say because your training is too strong. Like I said, I have options, and resources that you may not have. I pledge to do my utmost to make you safe.
Because I'm done. If you can't get someone to stop, I'll take care of it. I can live with being called a bitch - I've been through much, much worse.
No more Ms. Nice Laurel.
Some useful posts:
Rape Resistance, Not Rape Prevention (Hoyden About Town)
It's Not the Empty Street That Causes Rape (Hoyden About Town)
And, as an addition, here's something everyone should read:
Commentary from women about all the ways they curtail their lives just to feel safe (Shakesville)
And another: We live in a culture that condones abuse