Today, Joanna Lumley has managed to royally piss off everyone by succumbing to the horrific trend of victim blaming. She made the following statements;
‘Don’t look like trash, don’t get drunk, don’t be sick down your front, don’t break your heels and stagger about in the wrong clothes at midnight. This is bad.’
What’s bad actually, is this attitude. I absolutely hate the concept of victim blaming. Stories like this normalise it and re allocate blame. Short skirts don’t rape people. High heels don’t rape women. Getting drunk doesn’t rape women. Rapists rape women. I could be walking down the street in my fucking underwear and it still would never give a man the right to touch me without my permission. What Joanna has done here, in her typical brash and self righteous way, is place the blame solely on the choices women make when they are out. We need to be targeting the attackers, not the victims. Victims of sexual abuse are never ‘asking for it,’ a short skirt is not an invitation to sex. What I put on, what I do with my time and how I behave are choices I make for myself. They are not invitations to my vagina.
Lumley goes on to say,
‘I promise you it is better to look after yourself properly, which means behave properly, be polite, be on time, dress properly – I don’t mean dully – but don’t be sick in the gutter at midnight in a silly dress with no money to get a taxi home, because somebody will take advantage of you, either they’ll rape you, or they’ll knock you on the head or they’ll rob you.’
This comments makes me so angry that I could cry with the thought of it. We are living in a fucked up society where girls are taught that to get attention they need to shake their ass in a mini skirt and grind their way around the dance floor and then we get idiots like Lumley coming along to tell them all that they are asking to be robbed or raped because of it. Let’s not forget that less than 10% of women are raped by strangers. The old age fear of being grabbed down a dark alley doesn’t correlate with the statistics that show us that the majority of victims are abused by someone they already know. Comments like Lumley’s imply that we somehow have the power to stop rape by simply slipping on a polo neck which is total bollocks. Women who are raped deserve compassion and support not accusations and questions over a fucked up version of morality. I hate that these ideas exist; that victim blaming is so rife and apparent in society, the media. Stories about rape victims come tinged with words like ‘allegedly’ and give us a run down of the victim’s drinking habits. Trying hard to get us to think that hideous phrase – ‘she deserved it.’ No, she fucking didn’t.