Rape is Not ‘Invited’
There are few times in life I’m ever ashamed of being Canadian, but when I heard recently of a rape case over there where the Judge gave the attacker a two year conditional sentence (rather than the suggested three year jail term normally doled out in these cases) because the victim, as the Judge put it, ‘invited’ her rape, well, I would have happily handed over my Canadian passport that day. Victim blaming is hardly new but it seems to be on the rise and women now can’t even rely on the very resources that were supposedly put in place to protect us.
You see, it wasn’t the attackers fault, according to this Judge. He was just a ‘clumsy Don Juan’ apparently and what with the victim wearing a tube top with no bra, high heels and lots of makeup, ‘sex was in the air’. How on earth was the attacker supposed to resist violently assaulting this woman and ruining her life? Poor guy. Must have been awful for him. It was simply a ‘case of misunderstood signals and inconsiderate behaviour’ said the Judge. I’m sure the victim understood that she didn’t want to be raped because she was wearing a tube top, but yes, rape does fall into the realm of ‘inconsiderate behaviour’ Judge Idiot.
Then there was the case of the Toronto Police officer who, while giving a talk about staying safe on campus at a University recently advised girls to ‘not dress like sluts’ if they don’t want to get raped. How kind, Officer.
Why is this myth that being raped comes down to your chosen attire continue to be perpetrated? Rape is not about that, it’s not even about sex, it’s about power. So however a man wants to exert that over you, I doubt he’ll really give a crap if you’re wearing a skirt, a pant suit or a burka, if he’s so inclined, he’ll do it.
I’m just so sick and tired of it. As women, we get this our whole lives. From a young age we’re told not to go out by ourselves at night, to cover up, to do this, to do that, all in the name of avoiding a sexual assault. And if the worst does happen? God forbid you were out after dark by yourself, you had one too many drinks, you were wearing a short skirt or you allowed yourself to be chatted up – you were asking for it. Is it any wonder that the majority of rapes go unreported?
Rape has been happening since the beginning of time and I don’t know what the current statistics on it are now (it’s hard to find accurate ones), but I can’t help but feel that the over-sexualisation of our society contributes to it in so many ways. The trend of female pop starlets making music videos that show them in a constant state of sexual readiness, combined with ever-increasingly sexual lyrics – it is crazy to put forth the idea that this does affect how women are treated in real life? From ‘casual’ street harassment to rape, these outside forces must be playing some sort of part.
Here’s a crazy idea: how about rather than telling women what to wear to avoid being raped, WE TELL MEN NOT TO RAPE? It’s a mind-blowing concept, I know. NO woman asks to be raped and she certainly doesn’t ‘invite’ it because she was wearing a tube top. So can we start educating men on how to treat women properly rather than constantly blaming women for being attacked? Please? Pretty please?