Sunday, May 07, 2006

No Screaming Allowed

From an article on the myth of false rape allegations (via Trish Wilson):

But 'unfounded' does not mean lying. Let's see what is means: 200 of the 250 were simple administrative errors. They should never have been called rapes in the first place; for example, a woman phones the station and yells rape. The police car goes out and there's no one home. The next day a detective goes to follow the incident up and the woman says "Oh yes, my boyfriend and I had a fight last night and I yelled "rape"." Why did you yell rape? "Because if I had yelled disorderly conduct, nobody is going to come, but if I yell rape I know damn sure that a cop is going to come in a hurry." That kind of thing is not a false rape charge, but a mild inconvenience to the police.
My sophmore year of college my friends and I took a self-defense class as part of our PE requirement. (Yes, I had a PE requirement in college. It makes more sense than it first appears to.) During our training, our awesomely frightening, petite, female instructor informed us that if we were attacked, we should not only yell - rather than scream - but that we should yell "Rape!" as much as possible rather than just "No!" and "Stop!" and never just "Help!" The yelling was because it sets up a better breathing pattern for fighting back than a scream would - the yells were supposed to serve the same function that the "hi-ya!"s in martial arts do. We were to yell "Rape!" however, because was more likely to bring people running than a simple "No!" or "Stop!" would.

I'm all out of deep thoughts an insights at the moment, but I would like to note that this is a wonderfully vicious cycle: women are taught (both explicitly and by experience) that their pain only matters if it's titilating to others, we consequently learn to use this to make our pain visible to others, the public then turns around and uses this as "proof" that we lie and that we aren't really in pain at all.


belledame222 said...

See, I remember *my* self-defense teacher saying that you should *not* yell "Rape!" even when being attacked by a rapist; but rather, "FIRE!"--because more people were likely to come.

Mickle said...


I wonder why the difference.

It may have something to do with context and what the instructor imagines the "typical" rape scenario to be.

But, then, my instructor could have given us "fire!' as an option as well, and I just don't remember. It was a decade ago, after all.

Either way, the point of both instructions is that people may not come running to help you just because you say you need it. You should give them a personal reason to come help you to be on the safe side.

Which is really very sad.