I woke up today remembering one class back in high school, I was senior sitting on my seat and we were discussing feminism during the lecture. For some strange reason, the topic of rape decided to come up and our teacher asked us, “Will it ever be a woman’s fault for being raped for what she is wearing?” Our class of course disagreed with this especially since we were part of an all-girls high school and, as women, we knew how wrong rape was. The one thing I’ll never forget is what my teacher said after, “Personally, I think sometimes it is the woman’s fault.” My entire class became quiet as she tried to explain how she was unhappy with what people were wearing nowadays and that maybe that was a reason women were raped. I even recall her bringing up Miley Cyrus’ latest outfit that she wore just few days before then.
Being a student and hearing this from a teacher I really respected, I actually questioned my original opinion. I thought that maybe she was right, what we wear does matter especially in a society where women get raped. For long time, I believed her because she was my teacher.
Now that I am more exposed to this issue, to my teacher back in high school I just want to tell you this:
I think it is never the victim’s fault if they get raped, it is always the rapist. When a woman gets raped for what she is wearing it not because she was unknowingly tempting men to fawn over her gorgeous skin. It is because of a rapists’ mentality.
When a person falls into the temptation of raping someone, he forgets who his victim is. Rapists forget that their victims have family, friends, lovers, a past, a future or even a story. Simply put, they forget that their victims are people too. The moment they rape someone they act as if their victim is an object. To a rapist, a victim is an object for pleasure, a mere plaything that they are free to do anything with. The most selfish mentality a person can have is to believe someone belongs to them. They forget no one can own anyone and that we are all born free. Rapists forget that their victims aren’t just “things” they can get when they want.
I don’t believe that it is what we wear that can get us raped. In actuality, a lot of people who get raped don’t wear “skimpy” clothing or reveal a lot of skin. In fact, a lot of rapes that do occur are by rapists who knew their victim. In countries where women are required to cover up most of their skin, rape still occurs. Even children as young as six or seven or even younger can get raped. How can they be instigating anyone to rape them? Anyone can get raped no matter what they’re wearing or what shape or size or even age they are.
I don’t believe that even if someone was walking around half-naked around the block, he or she was “asking for it.” Rape culture is essentially giving permission to people to rape. It is making light of a serious problem. It allows the dehumanizing of a person. Rape is not only a sexual act but it is also a violent one merely because rapists force themselves on their victims without their consent. Rape culture is blaming the victim instead of the rapist, the doer of the crime. Rape is the worst thing anyone can do to someone, it is also one of the worst things anyone can experience. Why make matters worse by blaming the victim?
I know that maybe some of us grew up in a conservative kind of environment. We were taught that we should show less skin and pile on layers of clothing because it is shameful not to do so. We were taught that if we did show “too much skin” we would get raped. We forget that this is where rape culture stems from; the mere belief that a woman’s actions are the reason she will get raped. Why are we treating the naked body as some kind of sex symbol? That if we see breasts or a large butt it is already a sign that a woman is “asking for it?” We were born without clothes on our back, so why are we sexualizing the naked body?
However, I do understand people who argue that some victims lie about being raped. We shouldn’t be quick to judge who the actual victim of the crime is. At the same time, many people make light of this issue. We have media that almost in a sense glorify rape culture. We have men who catcall girls, making them feel unsafe. We have a people drugging drinks or taking advantage of unconscious people and simultaneously we have people blaming victims for not being careful enough. It’s funny because even in situations where the act of rape is proven, we still blame the victim.
When someone gets raped it is never their fault mainly because rapists have forgotten that victims are people too. Rapists forget that people aren’t objects for pleasure. People who blame the victim forget that they too are sexualizing the naked body and are objectifying victims in the process. We forget that rape is essentially dehumanizing people and forgetting that it is wrong mentality that gets people raped.
So to my teacher, I understand where you are coming from. I get your point, maybe to some people, we lose respect for wearing the wrong clothes. However, I hope that maybe you understand my point too; that even if we lose respect for what we are wearing, no one deserves to get raped.