Monday, November 21, 2005 ~ Comments Off
Honestly, you women. Running around, daring to be happy and comfortable in your sexuality, wearing flattering clothes and flirting, yes FLIRTING, with members of the opposite sex. It’s ridiculous, but tolerable. The limit is reached when you start drinking though. Honestly. You can’t have everything, that’s just greedy.
I’m gobsmacked at the news today that 1/3 of “people” believe that it’s the woman’s fault if she is raped. Apart from general amazement, my initial shock was quickly tempered by the hope that these “people” are the minority who believe what they read in newspapers, and don’t question anything. If you look at it from that point of view, you can understand (although not condone) the findings of the survey. Depending on your stand it’s either the result of a long standing campaign by the male dominated press, or it’s the unfortunate result of some tired hacks who can’t be bothered to question their world view.
Either way the survey is shocking. So let’s take the three key issues:
A third of people believe a woman is partially or completely responsible for being raped if she has behaved flirtatiously, a survey suggests.
The Amnesty International poll of 1,000 people also found over 25% believe she is at least partly to blame if she has worn revealing clothing or been drunk.
1. “if she has behaved flirtatiously”
I’ve already documented my thoughts about flirting, so let’s put that aside as a ridiculous notion.
2. “if she has worn revealing clothing”
Rather than dig myself into a huge hole, I’ll firstly confess that I am an admirer of the female anatomy in all it’s many forms. I am quite happy for women to choose clothes that they are comfortable wearing. If they feel good wearing revealing clothes, who am I to argue. In saying that, the clothes a woman wears do not give me the right to violate her in any way shape or form. I’ll plead guilty to the odd ogle or five, but rest assured that I always feel guilty when I get caught… um… I’m straying from the topic here. Again, I can’t do much with this reason other than suggest that it’s a lack of respect and the objectification of women that is to blame.
However, maybe there is a sliver of an argument to say that, whilst it isn’t right, it is a fact that some men see women as objects so there should be some awareness (note that I said “awareness, I’m not saying they shouldn’t wear what they want, and I’m appalled to think that the actions of a few men should have any influence on a woman when she decides what to wear) that wearing revealing clothing may attract the attention of ‘less desirable’ men?? Of course I guess the reason that some women do wear next to nothing on a night out is to attract the attention of men, and so we enter a swings and roundabouts discussion.
Suffice to say that I agree with Gert who recently stated: “I find it deeply insulting for men to suggest that women should cover themselves to prevent them from being the target of inappropriate sexual advances.”
3. “if she has … been drunk”
Let’s set a scenario. Bear in mind that I’m coming at this from the male point of view.
You are on a night out, you spot a couple on the dance floor, they are both flirting, she is wearing a revealing outfit, and they are obviously attracted to each other. They both look a little worse for wear but have definitely “hit it off”. A week later you hear that he is being accused of raping her.
Now, I’m not saying that her actions give him any rights or provide him with any defence, but if you were to ask any of the people who had seen them together in the nightclub, would there be a shadow of doubt in their minds? I would think so. (thankfully this scenario is not based on personal experience).
Regardless of the findings, rape is a horrific topic. My view, as with most things, is that better education is the way to tackle this, removing the view of women as objects, and ensuring rape victims are given the protection they deserve. If anything good is to come of this survey I hope that it’s a growing awareness of women’s rights. And that rapists get their balls chopped off. The likelihood is that this will soon be yesterday’s news.
Last thought: Why isn’t there a link to the survey from the BBC News site? They are generally pretty good at giving you a way to delve deeper into a story, but this gets one page and nothing else. Odd?