13 Aug 2014

Wear running shoes, carry a whistle

9:54 am on 13 August 2014

Massey University is under fire for advising students to evade rapists by carrying a whistle and wearing running shoes after a rape was reported near its Mt Cook campus.

A young woman told police she was raped by a stranger in Buckle St about ten days ago.

The Dominion Post has reported an email was student to students last Friday night that advised them not to wear headphones, to walk confidently, to carry a whistle and a torch, and to wear running shoes as the university took steps to improve security in the area.

Student Hannah Beattie said placing the onus on victims’ actions was unhelpful, and contributed to a wider rape culture:

“I don’t think we should have to dress thinking ‘I could be raped’,” she told the Dominion Post. “There’s a potential for people to read that and think that [the victim] must have been dressed wrong, maybe she didn’t carry a whistle – when it wasn’t that; it was that someone chose to attack her.”

READ: What is rape culture?

Massey University has assured students an extra security guard would be patrolling the old Museum Building and Industrial Design department, and that the Buckle St incident did not appear to be at all connected to university students or staff.

University spokesman James Gardiner said staff decided an advisory would be appropriate to remind all students about their personal safety after hearing of the incident.

In May Victoria University students marched in protest of rape culture in the wake of two attacks on women in the space of 24 hours over Easter weekend. The Wireless’ Elle Hunt asked how we can prevent sexual assault without putting the onus on victims in a feature for the site last month.

READ: Recruiting to the fight against rape culture