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Playing it Safe

This piece has been cross-posted at the Guys’ Guide to Feminism .

I sat in silence at the New York LGBTQ Center, hands sweating, and listened to a woman named Tami tell her story of survival. Unfortunately, thanks to the rape culture we live in, these stories are far too common–though both the circumstances and the aftermath of this particular woman’s rape are highly unusual. The purpose of this article is not to suggest that rape, like a hurricane , is more likely to affect those who live in disaster-prone communities and don’t put up shutters–or to imply that it’s your job to prevent someone from raping you. Like a self defense class, this article will give you another tool in your arsenal for protecting yourself by explaining what a safecall is, why safecalls are important for the mainstream dating community, and how safecalls can potentially help you detect red flags when interacting with someone.

Several years ago, a man who identified himself as a Dominant raped a woman who identified as a consensual “slave”; they met at a hotel after several months of online and phone conversation. Rather than enact the Dominant/submissive scene they had planned, this man put something in the woman’s drink, moved her to an unknown location, tied her up, and beat her so thoroughly that she became ...