Self-Defense Doesn’t Perpetuate ‘Rape Culture’

by Gabriella Hoffman

Last week at the Miss USA pageant, newly-crowned winner Nia Sanchez was accused of promoting “rape culture” after answering a question about sexual assault on college campuses.

Sanchez responded with the following:

I believe that some colleges may potentially be afraid of having a bad reputation and that would be a reason it could be swept under the rug, because they don’t want that to come out into the public,” Nia Sanchez said. “But I think more awareness is very important so women can learn how to protect themselves. Myself, as a fourth-degree black belt, I learned from a young age that you need to be confident and be able to defend yourself. And I think that’s something that we should start to really implement for a lot of women.

Her response angered radical feminists.

Twitter user @hayleethikeo tweeted, “sorry miss Nevada. we do not need to teach women how to better defend ourselves. We need to teach men not to feel entitled to rape #missusa.”

Elissa Benson of Cosmopolitan tweeted, “I get that the college sexual assault problem can’t be solved in 30 secs but still icky to pretend like self defense is the answer. #MissUSA

Despite negative backlash, Nia Sanchez stood by her response. She went on HuffPoLive to reaffirm her answer about women taking up self-defense:

We have 30 seconds to answer a question. I feel like all you can do up on that stage on national television is answer the best you personally know how, so I answered with something that I know. I always believe in women empowerment and women’s encouragement and for me, in my life, that’s self-defense,” she explained. “Maybe for somebody else it’s a Taser or something else, but that’s the way I could relate to it personally.

The question beckons: What is “rape culture” and what does it consist of?

An article titled “The Rape Culture” by Dianne F. Herman, cited in Santa Monica College professor Guido Davis Del Piccolo’s Sociology 1 course, claims our society encourages all men to be violent and always rape women.

Herman writes:

American culture produces rapists when it encourages the socialization of men to subscribe to values of control and dominance, callousness and competitiveness, and anger and aggression, and when it discourages the expression by of men vulnerability, sharing, and cooperation.

Our society is a rape culture because it fosters and encourages rape by teaching males and females that it is natural and normal for sexual relations to involve aggressive behavior on the part of males

The “rape culture” theory, just like the “white privilege” theory, castigates and blames an entire sector of society–in this case, men–for all instances of rape. Just as adherents of “white privilege” theory blame white people for economic inequality spawned by big government policies, adherents of “rape culture” theory blame all men for rape committed by some evil individuals.

Want to talk about so-called “rape culture?” Look no further than radical feminism–a movement that touts promiscuity as “liberation,” condones BDSM for teenagers, and encourages men to support abortion in exchange for sex.

Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues contains a chapter condoning female-on-female rape as “good rape,” as I pointed out in my February 2011 article on the book in Washington Times Communities:

In “The Little Coochi Snorcher That Could,” a 16-year-old girl is seduced by a 24-year old woman with vodka and is later raped. The original text states that the victim is a 13-year-old girl who venerates rape: “If it was rape, it was a good rape.”

In the name of “safe-sex education,” groups like Planned Parenthood encourage young girls to experiment with sadism, masochism, and bondage. LiveAction recently exposed a Planned Parenthood counselor in Indianapolis for soliciting BDSM to teenagers.

With respect to “bro-choice,” these dudes declare their support for abortion so they can enjoy more casual sex. Infamous “bro-choicer” Ben Sherman warned Texan guys to not support the HB2 law (now law) because it allegedly prevents them from having sex:

Your sex life is at stake. Can you think of anything that kills the vibe faster than a woman fearing a back-alley abortion? Making abortion essentially inaccessible in Texas will add an anxiety to sex that will drastically undercut its joys. And don’t be surprised if casual sex outside of relationships becomes far more difficult to come by.

If masculine men and gender roles are inherently “rapey,” how come radical feminists excuse women who assault others, organizations that promote violent sex, and piggish guys who regard women as nothing more than sexual vessels? Hypocrisy abounds.

Learning self-defense teaches women–and men–to protect themselves from attack. Taking martial arts classes or having a concealed carry permit doesn’t embolden attackers. They are effective deterrents.

The rhetoric behind “rape culture” theory is dangerous and leaves women more vulnerable to attack. The female establishment doesn’t have a solution to countering sexual assault apart from singing kumbaya, talking about the problem, or neutering all males. In fact, they want us females to be goose-stomping victims empowered by birth control and abortion to get validation in society.


Self-defense IS empowering. As a young woman who’s petite, I don’t want to be defenseless. If some creep ever threatened me, I’d rather have a glock or karate moves in tow than vomit, blow a rape whistle, piss myself, or scream. If someone ever dared to attack me, I hope the sound of me cocking a gun scares them and makes them flee.

I applaud Miss USA Nia Sanchez for promoting self-defense. Her message is empowering and inspiring. Self-defense doesn’t leave women feeling helpless; complacency and inaction do. This kind of rhetoric is toxic, harmful, and insulting to women (and men) who’ve been attacked.

Don’t become another statistic, ladies. Take up self-defense and shoot down victimhood.

This blog post was originally published on: Counter Cultured’s “Lady’s Nook”: column.: 

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