My heart feels weary today. The Brazilian government recently conducted a survey (The Institute of Applied Economic Research survey) which found that 65% of respondents believed that if a women wears revealing clothes, rape can be justified. What makes this worse is that over two thirds of the participants are WOMEN. We literally have a situation here where women are justifying the rape and violent attacks carried out on other women.
Victim blaming is something I have written a lot about on here as it is something I am so angry about. I hate that we treat the victims of rape and sexual assault more harshly at times than we do the attackers. I hate that the majority of victims feel too ashamed, or embarrassed to even report what has happened. Case studies show us that some women feel that they would be blamed, others say that they know nothing will happen to the attacker so why go through the trauma of reliving it to the police and courts?
I don’t want to get too personal but I have experience of feeling guilty and ashamed for the actions of someone who should have known better, and who took advantage of me. I am so much more confident now and know that it was not my fault, but still. Whenever I think about it, I wish I had acted differently in the aftermath and not given in to the societal standard of blaming myself and not him. Perhaps that’s why I get so angry about the way in which rape and victims are dealt with. At the time, I blamed myself for getting drunk, for wearing a low cut top and for not saying ‘no’ enough but honestly? He was a fucking dickhead who knew what he was doing, and who still did it anyway. I have gone over, and over what happened in my head a thousand times and it’s only recently that I’ve been able to forgive myself for not doing something about it.
When someone attacks or rapes another person, it is rarely about wanting sex – it’s driven by a desire to feel in control. We could have a field day with profiling here and say that it’s the result of deep seated insecurities, a feeling of impotence in other areas of the attacker’s life, a need to feel powerful but to me, those just sound like more excuses and we definitely don’t need any of those.
You know what causes rape? It is NOT drinking. It is NOT wearing something revealing. It is NOT a woman leading a man on and ‘asking for it.’ It is NOT because a woman ‘deserved it’ or ‘is frigid’ or ‘should give it up for her partner.’ No, rape and sexual assault are caused by one thing – rapists and attackers. We all have choices. I will never believe that rape is justified and it breaks my heart to think that some people do.
Statistically, 1 in 4 women will be the victim of sexual assault at some point in their lives. This is too high a number. But instead of tackling the problem, we dress up support in the form of posters telling us how to ‘avoid getting raped.’ We get told not to venture out alone, not to walk through parks at night, not to leave our drinks unattended, not to leave our friends, not to wear high heels, not to wear ‘slutty’ clothes, not to dance provocatively in case we lead a man on… Enough. Teach men not to rape. Teach men not to sexually assault women. Stop objectifying women to such an extent that we all seem like fair game. Stop blaming us, start fixing this.
I like drinking with my friends, wearing clothes that show off my boobs ( they are great, why not?) and I like dancing. I shouldn’t be afraid to do those things. My friends shouldn’t have to plan a route home that takes twice as long and costs a fortune just to avoid a dimly lit road. My 15 year old sister shouldn’t be saying things like ‘sex is the only way to keep a man interested so sometimes you have to do it.’ I am so done with this bullshit, and you should be too.