During Sunday’s interview portion of Miss USA, Miss Nevada, Nia Sanchez was asked about the issue of sexual assault on college campuses from celebrity judge Rumor Willis.
Sanchez, who was eventually crowned Miss USA, accentuated the importance of raising awareness to ensure women know how to protect themselves in dangerous situations.
"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," she 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 has sparked some criticism, however. Amanda Marcotte from Slate.com notes that self defense does not guarantee protection against rape. One reason she points out is “most rapists don't use violent force and instead prey on women who are too drunk to fight back, black belt or not.”
Although it was not Sanchez’s intention to do so, her response indicated, “women who do suffer rape are not confident and are insufficiently interested in their own safety,” says Marcotte.
Marcotte goes on to say that while practicing self defense may be enjoyable and provide a great way to stay in shape, there are some circumstances where victims of rape do not use violence against their attackers.
"Some freeze up. Some are afraid the rapist will become violent, or more violent, if they resist. It really shouldn't matter. What makes a rape a rape is not what the victim does, but what the rapist does,” says Marcotte.