A ranty, funny, dead-serious intersectional feminist blog.

Always Aware

AlwaysAwareV4I have been aware of predators since childhood. Since I was four or five years old and first had a man’s penis in my mouth. Contrary to some knee-jerks here and elsewhere, the fact that I’m aware of predators in my environment does not mean that I think all men are predators. It’s one of those double-edged swords women so often find themselves at the wrong end of: If we get raped, we should have been more careful. If we’re careful, we’re alarmists (worse, we’re FEMINISTS) who believe all men are out to rape us. There’s no winning with some people.

But those are not the ones we seek to reach this month. Over the next few weeks, while the Steubenville wound is still open and oozing, it’s our job to appeal to those people who are not yet aware (or not yet aware that they’re aware) but are ready for awareness. We’re not preaching to the choir or trying to make the blind see–we just need to be vocal enough and authentic enough to reach those who are out there listening, absorbing, and becoming warriors in their own time, at their own pace.

I’ve seen it happen. I know how powerful our stories can be. Share yours. The world needs your voice.


Note: Lest anyone think that the point of #AlwaysAware is to put the onus of rape prevention on potential victims, it is not. The point is that (most) women are always aware of potential of violence. We are taught to be afraid and trained to be vigilant. Sexual Assault Awareness Month is not for us–it’s for people who don’t spend every day of their lives alert and aware and looking for ways to keep something like this from happening to them. It’s for people who don’t understand how often women experience assault. It’s for those who believe that women, not men, should be responsible for preventing male-on-female rape. Until we’re all #AlwaysAware of the problem of rape culture, women will continue to bear the weight of that awareness all 365 days of the year.

I’m adding new posters as often as I have time to make them. I’ll replace the one at the top now and then, and add alternate ones here.





A Brief History (the Bad Parts version)
I Am Jane Doe
10 Things Rape Is Not
Letter From Another Jane Doe
Bree’s Story

The idea for “Always Aware” started with a Twitter chat with the Sin City Siren and was further inspired by the above illustration by Laura Boyea (used with permission).
Respectful discussion is welcome and encouraged. When in doubt, see the Comment Policy.

11 responses

  1. Broken

    I nid help. who can i talk to. Its been 5yrs and i find it difficult to move on from my pain. I think my innability to fight when i got raped conditioned me to kip mute n scared wen men assault me. I only pray in my heart it never happens again while enduring roving fingers or grasponv hands. help me. A broken sail.

    October 1, 2016 at 4:49 am

  2. Pingback: Always Aware: Keeping our eye on the meaning of SAAM | The Sin City Siren

  3. Jeff

    Yeah…it becomes second nature really, pretty early on I think. I’ve been in over a dozen scuffles (two life threatening – for the other guy) and I’m sure it is just lizard brain functionality (in my case at least – can’t claim a much higher level than lizard brain anyway). I don’t recall being “taught” this awareness by my Dad…maybe just a hint of it…and much may be learned from friends through discussion and trying to analyze the “whys” of it. That is the part that bothers me most I think, that females and males, even have to worry about these issues. What that has always led me to is the understanding that we are all animals first, “people” second. And there you go…a topic for your next post!

    April 3, 2013 at 11:57 am

  4. Jeff

    Just a brief comment from one guy’s perspective…I’m always aware too (as are any of my male friends I’ve had this type of discussion with). Might seem a bit odd coming from a guy who is 6’5″, 255lbs with long hair…but I am always on alert in social situations and gatherings…sizing up every possible scenario I can quickly read…who’s who, what is their attitude/demeanor, are they carrying? What if? Exits? Who is a bit far gone and may need some help?..etc…

    Just thought I’d share that perspective…in part I guess in solidarity, and in part because I’m not sure many women are aware of the male perspective on issues of safety and protection.

    April 3, 2013 at 11:29 am

    • Thank you! It’s good to know that you can relate. Whether you’re looking at it from a “will there be conflict” perspective or a “will I have to defend myself from sexual assault” perspective, that level of awareness is exhausting.

      April 3, 2013 at 11:33 am

  5. I actually read this from my fb newsfeed and thought of your recent blog post and thought you would be interested in reading:

    April 3, 2013 at 8:12 am

    • Very, thank you!

      April 3, 2013 at 10:38 am

  6. Diane U

    Bree, there is a reason girls grow long nails It’s tempting to just give the stones a good smash and twist and then tell them they should be more careful, more alert, wear a nut-cup. But I am known to be cranky.

    April 2, 2013 at 9:17 pm

  7. I brought this point to someones attention yesterday actually, about always having to be alert and how we shouldn’t have to be…the response I got was “The world doesn’t cater to you, rape victim or not, no one is going to change how they act because of you”
    Not sure where to start tearing that one apart.

    April 2, 2013 at 6:11 pm

  8. I’m always aware.

    April 2, 2013 at 12:07 pm

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