Letter-to-the-Editor: The Risk of Biting an AIDS-Infected Rapist
(ML - I’ve condensed and clarified a lengthy e-mail thread to the following:)
From: "River Valley Women-Safe"
To: michaelloftus @ crime-safety-security.com
Date: Thu Jun 05 12:22:58 2008
Comments: Your article at Ultimate Rape Prevention encourages the biting of a penis or tongue, yet you did not include a caution that this could subject the victim to blood-borne pathogens.
As a law enforcement chaplain who responds to emergency situations, and in my EMS training, this is something we have covered at some length.
Any time a victim fights back against a rapist, she runs the risk of fluid exchange (blood, urine, saliva, semen). Should she have a cut or other open wound that has contact with fluids, she runs an increased risk of infection or disease from either blood-borne or fluid-exchanged contaminants (including HIV/AIDS/STDs). While the risk of exposure to HIV/AIDS is relatively low (only 1% of the general populace is HIV/AIDS positive), exposure to other infectious diseases carries a slightly higher risk. Women who bite in a self defense situation should be aware there is a heightened risk of exposure to infection or disease, but that biting remains an effective, last-resort means to create an opportunity to end a confrontation.
As a women-safe consultant (and martial arts instructor), I concur with your assessment that grabbing and wrenching a rapist’s testicles or penis is a viable (and highly effective) option for a victim. I also remind women of the very real dangers they face from blood-borne pathogens and encourage biting as a last resort.
The article was well written, and you bring up several good points.
Keep up the good work.
River Valley Women-Safe
Thanks to your astute observations and input, John, I’ve retroactively added this addendum to my web pages concerning this subject:
“Any time a victim fights back against a rapist, they may cause each other to bleed, thus she risks exchanging her blood or other bodily fluids with his. But few rapists have HIV/AIDS (less than 1 percent of the general population does). Further, a woman biting a rapist with HIV/AIDS/STDs, or fighting back at all, has no more risk of becoming infected than if she’s raped by him (again, exchanging bodily fluids). Besides, the rapist may decide to murder a passive victim so she can't identify him.”
I really appreciate your help in thinking this through, John. I’d very much appreciate any more suggestions anywhere on my site.