In the past, it was not uncommon to hear statements like, “If you don’t want to be sexually assaulted, make sure you dress well. Don’t wear short skirts or dresses with plunging necklines and don’t flirt with men,” etcetera.
Two things happened, however, to put paid to that line of reasoning. First, research based on available data revealed that sexual assault was not limited to women who dressed provocatively or engaged in flirtatious behaviour. Conservative women also reported cases of sexual assault.
Second, women’s rights groups insisted on the right of women to dress as they pleased without fear of molestation, and the onus fell on men to keep their hands,[if not their eyes] to themselves.
This point has been a bone of contention in many sexual assault cases. Does a woman’s choice of outfit or social behaviour determine if she gets assaulted or not? Assuming it does, why are there cases of sexual assault even in places where women wear burqas?
In this guidebook, C.J discusses myths and facts about sexual assault and describes the types of predators. She also highlights five possible responses to sexual assault; Freeze, Fawn, Comply, Flee or Fight and is careful to point out how each can be used to advantage.
Reading this book for me was like inhaling fresh air; in fact at a point I found myself exhaling. At last! Here’s someone who is real and not idealistic. No locker room advice is given here [‘carry pepper spray in your bag at all times’], rather, readers are treated to sound advice such as the role of intuition and situational awareness in preventing sexual assault, as well as tips for outsmarting a would-be predator.
I recommend this book to all women; it is worth having and worth keeping.