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Rape 'safety' debate: top five comments

Last updated 14:15 13/08/2014
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BRUCE MERCER/Fairfax NZ

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Wear runners and carry a whistle and torch. That's the safety advice Massey University is giving students after a reported rape in the area 10 days ago, and it's sparked a very heated debate in today's top comments.

5. Lots of female students are unimpressed with the advice and GaryC says they're not the only ones: 

"Two men walking in bear country. One wears running shoes. The other says "You'll never outrun a bear!" The first says "I only need to outrun you." That was a joke. So is Massey's advice. They missed out a few steps though; >Try not to be provocative >Alter your walk so as to hide your femininity >Wear baggy clothing >Talk to yourself in a deep masculine voice >Smear yourself in faeces to dissuade attackers >And if all else fails, just don't go out... yeah right."

4. Cheezy is infuriated by people's negative reactions and says it's time for everyone to get a grip:

"Are you actually serious?! I got that email, it said it wasn't even a student involved but Massey took the time to email students and inform them anyway. The advice they gave was helpful not victim blaming, it made me aware and gave me advice on how to protect myself better, it didn't say anything like "if you wear running shoes you won't get raped". I am a girl and those girls make me want to scream, get over yourself and focus on your studies"

3. Meanwhile, Tomofnz's more concerned with some wider issues the story raises: 

"I don't know if the university can address the cause of the problem, but they could make a perhaps symbolic effort. We live in a society where a few spoil it for the rest of us, and rarely do these few get advised what they do is wrong. We have laws that punish after the fact, but I don't think they do much at all for prevention. We are told to lockup or lose it, but not don't steal. We are told watch your bag, thieves operate in this area, not don't steal. I don't know if it'd achieve much but saying "don't hurt other people", should be something the university, the police, the education system, everyone should be saying, it's worth saying first, before victim blaming. It comes back to the golden rule, we need to have this embedded in all our collective psyche from day 1!"

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2. Some female undergrads have said they feel weaker after receiving the university's advice and that it's unhelpful to place the onus on the victims.

For GingerMenace, it's less about blaming victims and more about being aware of potential risks: 

"Let me start by saying that there are never any grounds for blaming the victim EVER... But life has taught me (and my adult daughers) that getting educated myself means I can make better choices for me. While we should be able to walk anywhere, anytime wearing what we want ...the truth is there are bad bad people out there who will prey on you no matter what and others who will look to making excuses for them. Having personal safety tips (and that's all these are) has its merits and I suspect they were made with good intentions but have been delivered clumsily. If we could educate everyone into not becoming an Offender that would be the best possible outcome ... but it's never going to happen. So do what you need to do to reduce the chance of this happening to you."

1. And finally, if all else fails, Quimby has some safety advice of their own to share: 

"You can't take off your running shoe and stab someone in the eye with it. But a 6" stiletto, now that does some damage." 

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