Thursday, July 19, 2012

"Instinctual Self-Defense Class for College-Bound Females." A Thirsty Article from Vicki in Van Nuys.

Some sobering statistics about the number of rapes on college campuses and the fact that Leslie Maltz’s daughter was heading to one, prompted her to start a self-defense workshop for college-bound high school girls at her Tarzana gym.

On Sunday, Maltz will hold a 2-hour workshop to empower young women with techniques to protect themselves from becoming a rape statistic.

She uses the Krav Maga self-defense techniques and common sense awareness drills to drive home the message that today is a different world than years ago and college is a petri dish of potential rape scenarios.

FULL ARTICLE from the Encino/Tarzana Patch.


Q: I remember being a naive and careless young woman in my college "daze." It never occurred to me that there was the threat of rape or assault on a large campus. What are your own thoughts about the safety of female students on our campuses?


  1. On one hand I look at awareness workshops and the like as something good. Everyone (men included) should learn about what flags a situation as leading toward rape, ways to extricate oneself from the situations, etc. It should be mandatory that whatever orientation incoming students go through cover this material.

    On the other hand I feel like pushing our focus to how we can recognize and try to avoid rape, making the emphasis on how the potential rape victim can protect hirself, is putting responsibility on the victim. Responsibility does not lie with the victim. It lies with the rapist.

    And it dismays me that putting society's focus on the idea of "Don't rape" is seen as an inferior way of addressing the problem to "Don't get raped." People already know "Don't get raped." The fact that it happens despite that does not mean society is failing in the "Don't get raped" department. It means that society is failing as making people understand that you don't rape.

    I'm not sure if I'll be able to bring this to a coherent point. The subject gets me out of sorts and I wish the best to all young women entering college. I know what the numbers say and I hope that these young women can beat the numbers, but beating the numbers only ever offers cold comfort because there are still numbers.

    This world drives me to drink.

    1. I think the emphasis on "don't get raped" is simply a utilitarian solution to the problem. "Don't kill somebody" and "don't rob people" are not part of public service campaigns because we don't really understand how to keep people from doing those things. Rape is the same way. The easiest solution is to avoid situations that lead to murder, robbery and rape.

      On the other hand, drunk driving is preventable most easily by preventing people from drinking too much and then driving. A person hit by a drunk driver isn't any more responsible than a rape victim but it's really hard for the dd victim to prevent that (apart from not driving in the evening). Therefore, the emphasis of awareness campaigns is on how to avoid being the perpetrator.

    2. Ben,

      Rape is most easily preventable by getting the message across that it's not OK to rape...and then by NOT RAPING. This PSA sums it up quite nicely:

      Google "rape culture" and you'll hear from people far more eloquent than I about how some bodies are constructed as inherently rapeable, and all the ways slut shaming, victim blaming, and interlocking systems of oppression combine to send the message that it's OK to rape.

      In terms of avoiding situations that lead to rape? That would look something like this:

      1. Don't be born a woman.(Because over 80% of sex crime victims are women.) If you have to be born a woman, age as quickly as possible. (Because 60% of assault/abuse victims are under 17.)

      2. Stay outside at all times. (Because 80% of sexual assault incidents occur in the home).

      3. Trust no one, ever. (Because 80% of assailants are friends and family.)

      4. Never go on a date. (Because about 50% of sexual assaults occur on dates.)

      5. Don't be born Aboriginal, or have a disability. (Because 57% of Aboriginal women and 83% of women with a disability will be assaulted during their lifetimes.)

      (stats here:

  2. Meh. I hope they are teaching these young women how to not go to frat parties and how to calculate their alcohol limit given their body weight. It's true that nobody who parties deserves to get raped; it's also true that karate moves or keying someone's face don't work all that well in intimate situations that get out of control.

    Can you tell I don't trust frat boys? Let's just say I speak from experience.

    1. Ouch. Well, we weren't all like that. I was in a fraternity at a SLAC and when I went to grad school at a big state school it was a revelation, and no in a positive way!

      As for the classes, that reminds me, I should tell my nieces that are about to finish high school and start colelge to take them. I had a friend "date-raped" (i.e. raped) in college and I remember how shocked and in pain my friend was...

    2. F&T has it right. Because girls are still "things" and we are still not teaching our sons how to treat women. Not all men treat women as objects to be manipulated for their own selfish ends, but enough do that date rapes involving alcohol consumption are more common than most places will admit.

      Being "date-raped" while drunk is probably the number one way it happens, and why the rape stats have to allow for the number of rapes that go un-reported. Rape victims (especially ones who were intoxicated at the time of the assault) feel ashamed and guilty (because they "should have known better"?), and more often than not will just bury it.

      And before anyone jumps on me for making assumptions, please understand that I speak from direct and unhappy experience. And I hope to help my son and daughter avoid it, though the stats would seem to suggest that it's not entirely likely.

  3. Our Uni has had a tradition of keeping sexual assault reports under wraps -- which caused it some embarrassment a few months ago when one victim went to the press. Since then, we have had two attacks close to campus which the Uni publicized, along with photos of the alleged attacker (security cam shots). A student recognized the attacker as her husband and reported him to police.

    I agree with F&T and M-AZ&M: I would like to see more done to help our students deal with the attacks that *don't* fit the random stranger model.

  4. As a (still) young woman, I've always been aware that there's a potential threat of rape at the schools I've attended. I do take certain precautions (always carry a whistle, don't go to fratty parties, park under streetlights, trust my instincts about people who seem "sketchy", etc etc). But I took these same precautions even for the few years that I wasn't in school. Unfortunately, the world is a place where rape happens every day, and I see it as my responsibility to myself to minimize the risk that it will happen to me. Note: I do *not* intend to imply that rape survivors should carry any blame for their experiences. Even if they did everything in their power to minimize their own risks, nobody can eliminate the threat of rape. Nobody. That's a sad and scary thought, but true.

    Also, I heartily agree with what's said above about the fact that many/most rapes do not fit the random-stranger model, and I wish that more young college-age women were aware of this. Most of the rape victims whom I know personally were attacked by acquaintances, friends, coaches, etc.

    A good friend and classmate of mine is from a country outside the US and was somewhat naive about rape; when she told me that she had started to experiment with online dating, I had a long talk with her and laid out stats on rape in the US and guidelines on how to guide against it (Rule #1: never get in a strange guy's car. Ever.) She was horrified, but also grateful to hear what I had to say. I shudder to think what might have happened to her without that conversation.

  5. Rape isn't just confined to residential unis. In the many years I've been at Large Urban Community College, we've had a few rapes on campus as well. The admins' solution has been to implement general personal safety classes for everyone as we also get the occasional assault, robbery, car theft, and indecent exposure, all of which are equally likely to affect males.

  6. Back in the Stone Age, I attended an all male college. This wasn't an issue.

    On the other hand, those were the days of the original streaking craze. There isn't anything much stupider than streaking at an all male school. And, yes, guys did it.

  7. Every university I've been affiliated with save one has had multiple rapes in the stacks and bathrooms of libraries while I was there and the student body was not well aware of it. One because the university violated the Clery Act by not informing anyone ("because the suspect was already captured and the victim wasn't a student").

    I've never been in a frat house, but I've been in many libraries and I'm always careful in isolated stacks.

    1. Our library facilities have many hidden surveillance cameras. However, real-time monitoring is not done (for a variety of reasons, not just the expense). It's ironic that these places that so many of us grew up thinking of as sanctuaries, are places where too many people remember being violated (i.e., raped, laptop stolen, etc).

    2. Good heavens...There were persistent rumors of consensual nookie taking place in certain isolated corners of the library stacks at Eastern State U where I did my grad work, but nothing about any kind of assault. That's terrifying!

      To the larger point, as an undergrad (at a tiny, very rural SLAC) I was involved with a campus feminist group whose leader made it her sworn mission to convince administration to install an emergency alert system across campus in the name of rape and assault prevention. Her heart was in the right place, but spending more energy on "date rape" prevention would have been far more effective for a tight-knit campus in a very sleepy town with a vanishingly small history of any kind of random assault. As others have pointed out, this kind of education needs to target men and women alike.

  8. The statistic in this article is 1 in 8. When I was an undergraduate in 1978, I was told it was 1 in 3. I am not cheered by the "progress," because it's still far too high. Zero would be acceptable.

    Student safety issues vary greatly from campus to campus. So does student awareness of them, and so does what campus security does about them.

    I was an undergraduate at an urban campus, where they did a pretty good job of making us aware that this was the big city: be aware of your surroundings whenever outside, avoid walking alone at night, and if you leave a bicycle unlocked outside overnight, the chance it will still be there in the morning will be nearly zero. Nevertheless, cases in which undergraduate women were raped by strangers very sadly still did happen, about once a year or so, for cases that were reported to the police and made public, although they would withhold the names of the victims.

    Much more common, though, were date or acquaintance rapes, particularly where alcohol was involved. Far too often, an undergraduate woman would go to a party, get drunk, pass out, and wake up to find some guy on top of her. Most of these crimes went unreported. Some frats had very nasty reputations for this.

    All students need to be warned clearly about this. The guys especially need to be told that this is called "Rape of a victim incapable of giving consent," and it's a felony. It ought to land a perpetrator on the same cell block as the child molesters. Too many guys pretend they don't know it's wrong. I never believed that, even though it's treated as a joke in the movie "Animal House."

    On some campuses, campus security is part of the problem. A rural college where I went to grad school was remarkably free of stranger-on-student crime of any kind, but they were unconscionably lax about prosecuting date or acquaintance rape, which was shamefully common. They took an attitude of "boys will be boys," and gave perpetrators a stern talking-to, not even a slap on the wrist. I hope this has changed since then, but I still wouldn't send a daughter there, even though it was an Ivy League college.

    Yale may have a similar problem. Look up what Naomi Wolf has written about Harold Bloom.


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