Wednesday, November 4, 2009

There's Reason to Stay Informed

When I learned the details of the recent gang rape of a high school student in Richmond, California, I felt nauseous. The victim is only 15 years old, the attack happened on school property, she knew some of her attackers, and people actually watched it happen but did nothing to help. The feelings of anger I feel help me make sense of senseless acts human beings inflict on one another. This particular case also re-affirms my belief that women and young girls must be more vigilant about their protection. Here are some things I’ve done, and will continue to do, to protect myself and others as much as possible.

• In the past when my instincts told me that the place I was in or the people I was with were not right, I immediately took action. If you feel uncomfortable, don’t suffer in silence. Who cares if others think you are being uptight? We as women have to stop being nice all the time in favor of our personal safety.

• Watching out for friends, especially when their judgment is impaired, is an absolute must. I’m proud of the fact that I have prevented certain people (they know who they are) from being in situations where they were unprotected. I wasn’t popular during these incidents, but I have no regrets.

• There is still so much ignorance when it comes to rape and rape prevention, particularly with younger women and girls. Without becoming excessively paranoid, we should discuss these issues with family and friends more often. I was horrified to hear that some students at Richmond High School actually blame the victim for the attack. This tells me that more must be done to dispel these negative and untrue beliefs, and I have done so with my younger relatives as tactfully as possible.

Do you have any further thoughts to share about this extremely important issue?

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