How do YOU avoid assault?


First up: If you have been threatened or assaulted contact police on 000. If you want to talk about experiencing physical or sexual assault contact 1800RESPECT.

So, we ask our Facebook community to send us questions. Then we ask that same community to answer those questions... Yeah, well, why make work for ourselves?!

The question: As a GUY or GIRL what actions do YOU take in everyday life to avoid assault?

We need to point out firstly that the responsibility to stop assault lies 100% with the perpetrator of the assault. Too often we hear instances of someone being assaulted and questions are asked around what the victim was wearing, whether they were drunk, what time it was and other ways to understand how the assault could’ve been avoided – but no matter what the intention of these types of question are, this is victim-blaming. The way to stop assault is to stop the people who commit assault.

Secondly, we recognise that the bulk of the responses in this article use heteronormative language and focus on the experiences of those represented within the gender binary. We still believe that the discussion below is relevant to the experiences of people of all genders and we welcome your feedback and insight into your own experiences, if you would like to share these with us.

This question was posed to us by a user and we think the responses give good insight into how different people perceive the threat of assault…

  • Caitlin Calling parents all the time about where I am. Staying in a group of people I trust. Keys in between my fingers when I walk to my car. Lock the car as soon as I get in. Always looking around when I walk in daylight and nighttime. Don't drink alcohol and always got a hold of my water or soft drink. Go to the bathroom with a friend. Always texting people when I arrive somewhere or when I get home... I hate having to do this all the time.
  • Melanie Can't go for a run past 7pm, can't do the loop that includes going under a bridge on my morning run, can't go for a trail run by myself, very careful getting in and out of car, always aware of surroundings etc. etc.
  • Jake As a guy I keep my keys in my hand at all times when walking in a dodgy situation
  • Brittany I've taken to learning how to fight as in the past I have received unwanted attention. I'm also conscious of how I dress if I'm going out with girlfriends and tend to be the one to stay sober so I can also watch out for them. I still remember one time at a nightclub I nearly got knocked out by a big bloke because I told him to leave my friend alone as she wasn't interested. If the security guard wasn't nearby and quick at thinking, I would've been king hit
  • Julia Call someone when I'm walking somewhere late at night, second-guess clothing choices, second-guess going out at all
  • James I don't think I have ever taken action to avoid sexual assault. However, I'm always ready to get assaulted, or picked for a fight or robbed. In the city where I live we have a high violence rate especially with coward punches/sucker punches. As a bigger guy, when I go out I will have multiple people attempt to start fights with me. I personally don't think my worry for a fight is anything close to the injustice that is women being afraid of sexual assault, the statistics are disgusting and the fact that it still happens to this day is horrible. I'm not sure as to why, we could blame it on porn or rape culture, video games or music. All I know is that it's a problem and needs to be stopped. Women shouldn't have to feel worried about sexual assault.
Submit a question

It's always interesting to see the ways people tend to answer this question. Notice that all the responses related to the threat of assault by a stranger – even though so many assaults are perpetrated by a family member of someone known to the victim.

Some people (of all genders) say they do nothing, while others are hyper-aware of their surroundings and potential threats. A lot of guys say sexual assault isn't something they think about, or that they only worry about non-sexual assault.

Some people are just plain offended by the question, saying they feel men are being targeted, ignored or made to feel bad because of their gender.

The question is asked not to pit men against everyone else, or to suggest that one gender has it worse than another, but to highlight the different ways people think about their safety because of their gender, sexuality, ethnicity, disability or any other thing they might be singled out for.

Overall, men are much more likely to worry about getting beaten up or in a fight. Whereas women and people who identify as non-binary, on the other hand will generally be concerned about the possibility of sexual assault, or what that group of men in the car are going to say or do as it slows down.

It is another example of how our gender affects our outlook on the world around us.

You may also like...

Loading next article