Colorado State Representative Joe Salazar, a Democrat, caused a media stir after suggesting that women shouldn’t carry guns to protect themselves against sexual assault because they are liable to shoot somebody simply because they “feel like [they’re] going to be raped.”
The lawmaker was arguing in favor of State legislation that would ban the carry of concealed firearms in Colorado college campus buildings.
“It’s why we have call boxes. It’s why we have safe zones. That’s why we have the whistles, because you just don’t know who you’re going to be shooting at,” he said. “And you don’t know if you feel like you’re going to be raped, or if you feel like someone’s been following you around or if you feel like you’re in trouble when you may actually not be, that you pop out that gun and you pop… pop a round at somebody.”
After being criticized by conservatives and by women who do not indeed feel they are jittery, scared little things that would fire at random at anything that moved in the dark, Salazar issued an apology.
“We were having a public policy debate on whether or not guns make people safer on campus. I don’t believe they do. That was the point I was trying to make. If anyone thinks I’m not sensitive to the dangers women face, they’re wrong,” he said. “I am a husband and father of two beautiful girls, and I’ve spent the last decade defending women’s rights as a civil rights attorney.”
In the wake of Salazar’s remarks and apology, National Review Online dug up a list of “last resort” tips from the University of Colorado Colorado Springs for young women who are both unarmed and certain they will be raped:
- Be realistic about your ability to protect yourself.
- Your instinct may be to scream, go ahead! It may startle your attacker and give you an opportunity to run away.
- Kick off your shoes if you have time and can’t run in them.
- Don’t take time to look back; just get away.
- If your life is in danger, passive resistance may be your best defense.
- Tell your attacker that you have a disease or are menstruating.
- Vomiting or urinating may also convince the attacker to leave you alone.
- Yelling, hitting or biting may give you a chance to escape, do it!
- Understand that some actions on your part might lead to more harm.
- Remember, every emergency situation is different. Only you can decide which action is most appropriate.
The University has since removed the information from its site after being ridiculed online for the “assume the victim’s position” advice with the following message:
Update – February 19, 2013
- The recent circulation of this web page containing information about rape prevention at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs was taken out of context on popular social media sites.
- No policy was changed by the university and no advisories were sent to students.
- This page is not related to the gun control discussions now taking place in the Colorado General Assembly.
- This page was created in 2006 as supplemental material for women who had completed an internationally recognized Rape Aggression Defense course offered free of charge to UCCS students.
- The 10 tips were considered last resort options when all other defense methods have been exhausted.
- This site was intended as a reminder for graduates of the RAD program, an intensive self defense program, and part of a larger discussion of last-resort tactics.
- As a response to recent interest in the page, the Department of Public Safety has updated this page to provide additional context and information about crime prevention and the opportunity to enroll in the RAD class.
According to the FBI’s statistics, there were an estimated 83,425 forcible rapes reported to law enforcement in 2011. Females age 16 to 24 have the highest likelihood of becoming the victim of rape — two to three times higher. And the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence reports only 14,675 people wounded by accidental shootings in the same year.
The FBI does not specify the number of rapes where the victim was subsequently murdered, but Brady contends that a little more than 600 accidental shootings were fatal.
Rape is a nasty, despicable and depraved act carried out by predatory individuals who have an obvious disregard for consequence. Teaching people to be better victims, many people would argue, is far less effective than being properly trained to carry and defend oneself with a firearm.