I thought Friday’s discussion; about how to balance physical and emotional needs, particularly in relationship to sex, was important and productive. However, the brainstorming about how we can protect ourselves from sexual assault left me profoundly disturbed. The suggestion that rape is an inherent risk of certain behaviors is highly problematic. The idea that not going home with someone that I do not know or trust, or not getting too drunk, or not walking alone at night, or not wearing revealing clothing is an effective deterrent of sexual assault, is just totally false. Women can be raped in the safety of their own homes, by their own husbands. It happens all the time. The idea that there is something that I can and should be doing to prevent sexual assault is a form of victim blaming, and it was really disheartening to find this attitude within the body positivity group. I can respect myself through my growing thigh love and my vocal affirmation of all that is beautiful in me, and I can try to establish trust and communication before physical intimacy, but that offers no guarantee that I will not be harmed. Bad things happen to everyone. And if I decide, one night, that I want to drink five beers and wear a miniskirt, and even follow someone up the stairs into his apartment, I am in no way asking to be treated as less than human; I am not inviting, and should not have to expect criminal behavior. It makes me really sad that we live in a world where a group of empowered women can sit in a room and discuss the ways that we can avoid sexual assault; that we come to expect, and in a way accept, the reality of rape; that we change the standards of our own behavior and limit our own freedom rather than holding perpetrators wholly accountable for their crimes.