In honour of the Slut Walk happening in parts of Australia at the moment I am re-posting this piece, which orginally appeared here on blue milk.
From Amelia Bentley’s article in the brisbane times (my use of bold in the excerpt below):
A 17-year-old girl’s drunken night out at Brisbane club Friday’s led to her alleged violation and rape by two men, one of whom would later tell police he believed she had consented to sex because “she didn’t say no … she didn’t do anything”.
In the bedroom, the girl had consensual sex with a man and after he left the bedroom she saw three men enter the room, close the door and then some or all of the men engaged in sex acts with her.
Mr McCarthy said in the girl’s own words, at this time she was “really out of it” and “tried to move away but couldn’t” and that she had been in and out of consciousness during the incident.
Well, you get the picture.
Don’t go out and get drunk, it could lead to you getting raped. Also, don’t have sex with someone because it could get you raped by someone they know. Don’t be young, that could definitely get you raped. While we’re at it, especially don’t be a child, that could really get you raped. Don’t be older either, that can get you raped. Don’t be living in a nursing home; women get raped there. In fact, what are you even doing in an establishment like that, are you asking for it? Don’t be single; single girls are sluts. Sluts get themselves raped. Don’t be married either or you could get raped by your husband. Don’t go jogging, that is just irresponsible. Don’t go to carparks, that can get you raped. And really don’t go jogging in a carpark, that is like so going to get you raped. Don’t go to public toilets, that can lead to rape. Don’t be dying; dying women get raped. Don’t ever be unconscious for any reason whatsoever, you’ll get yourself raped. Don’t be injured either. Raped. Avoid being physically disabled. Raped. And particularly avoid being intellectually disabled. You couldn’t get yourself more raped. Don’t go out alone, that is dangerous and you could get raped. But don’t accept lifts either; that is just asking for trouble. Don’t ever be naked, it could get you raped. Don’t wear clothing in which I could imagine you naked, that could get you raped. Don’t wear short skirts, they attract rape. Don’t wear baggy clothing or pyjamas or hospital gowns or a hijab either, women get raped in all those too. Don’t have a father, brother, uncle or grandfather. You could get raped by one of them. And oh my god, don’t even think about having a step-father. So raped. Don’t be ugly or you could deserve rape. Don’t be beautiful, you will be too tempting. Don’t flirt with men, this can get you raped. Don’t be rude to men either – playing with fire. Don’t take public transport. Raped. Don’t drive your own car, what if someone hid in the back seat, you could get raped. Don’t sell sex or anything close to it. Raped, raped, raped. Don’t be mistaken for someone who might sell sex. Obviously, you would get raped. Don’t be a soldier, a waitress, a teacher, a police officer, or a hairdresser. All these women can get raped, sometimes by their professional colleagues. Don’t dance, it could lead to you getting raped. Don’t relax, what if it made you look like you wanted it. Don’t be stupid, that will surely get you raped. Don’t be naive, you’ll deserve what comes to you. Don’t be adventurous, that is being stupid and stupid women get raped. Don’t be silent, who can be expected to know you didn’t want to be raped. Don’t be intimidated, that can signal weakness and will get you raped. Don’t be trusting, don’t be in awe, don’t be flattered by anyone – that could so get you raped. Especially don’t be female, that could really get you raped, although being male could get you raped too, so don’t do that either. And don’t be interesex or trans, people will think rape is for your own good.
Yeah, what leads to rape exactly? Amelia Bentley needs to wipe the misogynist fog off her glasses and get some clarity. Granted we’re still talking allegations here but drunken nights out do not lead to rape. Rapists rape. Rapists raping lead to rape. Victims are never to blame.
Categories: gender & feminism, language, law & order, media, violence
And the imagination can conjure up anything from anything. This is the key. Nobody else is responsible for what you imagine might be happening – you have to own what imaginings you act upon.
The popularly quoted statistic for rape is that every woman has one chance in six of being raped or sexually assaulted in their lifetime. So for every woman who is raped or sexually assaulted, there are five who haven’t been (yet). But when it comes to living with the effects of rape on our society, there’s a one in one chance (or in other words, a certainty) of being affected.
I’m part of the lucky five (so far). I haven’t been raped. I haven’t been sexually abused or assaulted. But I still live a life in preparation to defend myself against charges of having provoked a rape. I second-guess my every action. I’m wary interacting with men I don’t know. I double-check and triple-check my clothing choices. I maintain situational awareness, keeping an eye out for exit routes, and figuring out how to turn everything I’m carrying into a weapon (and maintaining an awareness of how effective or ineffective they’d be in that situation). I don’t go out on my own at night. I’m cautious when interacting with strangers. I don’t drink alcohol in public (if I’m going to drink alcohol, I’ll drink it at home, with the doors locked). I don’t take drugs. I stay inside my home as much as possible.
Heck, I can’t tell all the things I do to try and prevent myself from being raped or sexually assaulted, because I’ve been doing them on a more or less continuous basis for at least thirty years now, if not longer. It started so far back I don’t even remember it. I’ll probably still be doing them on the day I die. Even so, every day, I face one chance in six of this being the day when all the hard work turns out to be for nothing, because each day I have one chance in six of being raped or sexually assaulted. The only reason I’ve been lucky so far is because I haven’t been in the same area as a rapist who wanted to rape someone when they wanted to rape someone.
Tell me again how lucky I am to be part of those five out of six. I keep forgetting.
On the “don’t wear provocative clothing” front, I always remember an article I read a number of years ago (I’m sorry, I don’t have a link), about a Muslim woman living in London who decided to wear the full hajib for a week (normally she wore Western-style dress). One of the things that really struck me was that she found that Western men subjected her to more catcalls, etc, when wearing the hijab than otherwise — being “provoked”, apparently, by what they interpreted as a sign of her sexual unavailability.
There is no way to win.
This is the core of what commenters in the Hun / Tele and elsewhere are saying again and again. If only these young women wouldn’t take their beloved factoid, that “women in the West are already equal, done and dusted!” so literally, and try and go out on the town and have adventures and meet new people as if they were, well, young men!
That “their” wasn’t very clear – “But, women have equality now!” is the beloved factoid of today’s news commenters, even as they complain that young women shouldn’t behave so freely. It’s not so much wanting it both ways, I think, as being completely oblivious to the contradiction.
Thanks Helen, it’s one of many mind boggling bits of contradictory bullshit out there and I hadn’t quite joined the dots. I mean usually I do explode about rape stats when people tell me there’s equality, but I haven’t thought to turn around and say ‘If that’s so then WHY is it that women are always told THEY are responsible for avoiding rape when we never say the same to men?’