Don't Want To Get Raped? Don't Take A Taxi.
In a recent report by CJAD News, 17 women have reported being sexually assaulted by a cab driver in the Montreal area, 4 of which are reported to have taken place in NDG, over the course of the last year. Although the news is tragic and heartbreaking, it’s unfortunately anything but shocking. According to York University 1 in 4 Canadian women will be assaulted over the course of their lifetime, while RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network) claim that every 2 minutes an American is sexually assaulted. RAINN also claims that 60% of these attacks will go unreported to police, and that out of 100 cases of sexual assault only 3 of the 100 offenders will ever spend a day in jail.
Meaning that, statistically, there were likely more that just these 17 women to have been assaulted by a possible cab driver (according to the report put out by CJAD, "Montreal police commander, Lafreniere says they're saying "possible" taxi drivers because they have 'all the indications it could be, but none of them have been apprehended.'") and then chances of him serving any jail time are slim to none.
To make matters all the more infuriating, it's taken 17 reports of sexual assault to be made this year for a serious investigation to be opened and brought to public attention, because it would seem that anything under 16 cases wasn't even worth looking into or warning people about. The Montreal Police Department also released a description of the driver who they claim is,
...5 feet 8 inches tall, white, speaks French with a strong Arabic accent, and who drives a 4-door grey car.
Which basically means that women should be wary of roughly 80% of the cab drivers in the Montreal area.
If this isn't bad enough, the article explains that there were 29 reported cases of cab drivers assaulting inebriated female passengers last year, for which no assailants have been caught. And this is just the greater Montreal area. Add these numbers to others from around the country, plus the instances that have gone unreported, and we're likely to have hundreds of cases of assault on the go.
Perhaps the most infuriating part of all of this is the advice given to women on how to, essentially, avoid being raped by an "alleged" taxi driver,
Montreal police spokesperson Laurent Gingras also suggests that women only get into cabs they hail by phone, not to take cabs alone when under the influence, and to take a picture of the driver's badge by phone and send it to a friend via text message.
Not to be overly harsh with the Montreal Police Department, but how about releasing some genuinely useful tips? Telling women not to go home alone, drunk, in a taxi (which is supposed to be the safe alternative to walking at night, taking public transit, or driving drunk) is ridiculous. The supposed advice they've provided to women is riddled with holes and flawed logic.
First of all, there aren't always people around to take a cab with. Even if there was, one of the passengers is bound to be left alone with a potential attacker. Secondly, if a woman is drunk out of her mind, do you really think she's going to remember to take a picture of the cabby's ID and text it to a friend? If people who've had one too many drinks were capable of making good choices and coherent typing, then drunk texts wouldn't exist or be half as funny.
This advice is a "useful" as tips like:
- Don't wear skirts above your ankles.
- Don't leave your house without a male relative to escort you.
- Don't flirt with men, because it leads them on and makes them unable help themselves.
- Don't leave the house because staying in the kitchen is safer.
By giving women a checklist of things to do to avoid being raped (as if it's something so casual), you're basically giving men the green light to assault women who don't comply with these safety standards. Because, after all, they're asking for it, right? ...Or at least that's what this bit of stupidity suggests, while also being deeply problematic on every other level.
Don't worry, Montreal PD, we don't mean to bust your chops. As a personal apology to you, from us at IX Daily, we'll do you a favor. Say, for instance, giving people some actual tips on how to prevent rape and thereby, doing your job for you:
- Teach people at an early age that women are their equals, not sexual objects.
- Teach people that expressing masculinity isn't synonymous with sexually dominating women.
- When teaching sex-ed in schools, clearly explain what consent is and isn't, rather than glancing over it. Consider providing dictionaries if people need help better understanding the word 'no.'
- Teach people that preventing, and ending, sexual assault is everyone's responsibility. If you see it, or suspect it, and do nothing about it then you're accountable for perpetrating it too.
- When an individual says they've been sexually assaulted, no matter who they are, it's your obligation to believe them.
- Victim blaming is wrong, and assigning any responsibility to a survivor is harmful to both men and women. It teaches victims that they're to blame for someone else's actions, and teaches perpetrators that their actions are excusable.
We also have some advice for any fake, or real, cab drivers out there who can't seem to keep themselves from assaulting intoxicated passengers looking to get a ride home. So don't think we've forgotten about you. Here are five quick steps you can follow to stop yourself from raping passengers:
- *Consider chemical castration.
- *Consider surgical castration.
- *If you can't afford options 1 or 2, then consider renting a wood chipper or handheld saw. We hear you can rent either for an affordable price at Home Depot.
- *Given that you're already a societal bottom feeder, perhaps consider driving your car into the ocean.
- Turn yourself in, you disgusting piece of human refuse.
(*We at IX Daily don't actually condone options 1 to 4, as fun as it is may be to dream.)
All jokes (halfheartedly) aside, we shouldn't be focusing on how women should "behave better" to avoid being assaulted. The Montreal Police Department, the Quebec education system, and society at large should be preventing rape through educating younger generations on the equality of all sexes and genders. We should be teaching empathy and humanity, not objectification and sexualization.
Sexual assault isn't something you can prevent with a checklist, and the Montreal PD should be ashamed for making it sound like it is. Maybe next time (because there's bound to be a next time) consider taking action after someone says they've been assaulted, rather than waiting for it to happen to 16 other women (or men).