Before anyone freaks out, that is in no way my personal stance on the subject. However, it is part of the idea presented in a graphic that I saw on FaceBook, which prompted me to write this post.
The graphic states:
“Men should be offended when someone claims that women should prevent rape by not wearing certain things or not going certain places or not acting a certain way. That line of thinking presumes that you are incapable of control. That you are so base and uncivilized that it takes extraordinary effort for you to walk down the street without raping someone. That you require certain dress code be maintained, that certain behaviors be employed so that maybe today, just maybe, you won’t rape someone. It presumes that your natural state is rapist.”
A conversation started and while we all seemed to agree that a woman’s manner of dress should have no bearing and that men should have control, it seemed to veer off a bit when I injected that the real problem is in people not knowing how to think about and treat each other. I think in the end we were all agreeing that blaming rape on a woman when the man could have not done it is wrong, but it does make one think.
More and more the responsibility for rape and avoiding rape is being pinned squarely on the chests of women. We have to watch what we say, how we act, how we dress, where we go, how much we drink and men can do whatever the hell they please. If we get raped, it’s our own damn fault. It’s a sick turn in society and it needs to be seriously addressed.
I do firmly believe that women should respect themselves enough to wear appropriate clothing when they go out. They should avoid getting inebriated in the presence of people they don’t trust. They should be careful without being paranoid. However, rape is the fault of the person who commits the crime, not the victim. Even if a woman is wearing a short skirt and no bra and is drunk, no one has the right to rape her. She’s behaving in a self-endangering manner, that’s true, but that doesn’t make it her fault alone.
I think we need to teach men and women to respect themselves and each other. People need to know how to treat one another and that sexual assault is never okay. If people had respect and knew to think with their heads rather than their genitals, the issue of how a person is dressed would be, well, not an issue. It all comes down to how we’re taught to see and treat each other. In truth, if we don’t change how we think, rape would happen even if everyone dressed in floor-length burlap sacks.