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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Don’t blame it on her clothes!

I was at lunch today with a long time friend and the conversation turned to my blog about the girl who was raped by her former boyfriend. (Please reference my previous entry for the story). My friend commented that his niece was date raped, sexually assaulted by a boy whom she was ‘group dating.’ They began their relationship by hanging out together with a group of friends and when they went on a solo date, ended up at his place and that was when things went wrong. There was no alcohol involved and it was a casual friendship up to this point. He took her to his apartment to see ‘his place’ and when they arrived her boyfriend sexually assaulted her. It was a sad story and because of it, his niece and her family still struggle with the life changing incident.

My friend said something in his story that I was shocked to hear. He said that in seeking spiritual guidance and reflecting on the incident, the minister suggested that maybe his niece was to blame. Maybe it was her attire or maybe the fact that she went to his apartment was the ‘unsaid’ agreement that she wanted sex.

I was flabbergasted by this comment and even more appalled that the myth exists that what a woman wears or the fact that she visits a man in his home is an agreement that she wants sex.

Let me digress but on point. In reflecting more on this misconception, I thought back on a previous event where I attended a Kenny Chesney concert. Behind me and my group of adult couple friends sat a mixed group of high school kids. The girls wore cowboy boots and short jean shorts or skirts. Yes I think they were short and even someone commented that extra material should be added to their skirt/shorts but if I were to ask the young women if they were inviting sex by what they wore, I know their responses would have been "no". They were trying to look fashionable, cool and they were having a fun time. That is why they were there. That is why they wore what they wore. So the notion that what a girl wears invites assault, invites rape, is twisted thinking. It places the blame exactly where it does not belong. The man rapes. What girls wear may show their attributes but it does not invite sex without consent.

The fact that spiritual counselors, adults, knowing people, try to place the blame on the assaulted and what they wear is wrong. Or to suggest that visiting a man in his home is an invitation to have sex is thinking out of the dark ages.

Men need to man-up for their actions. We need to tune-in that sex without consent is absolutely wrong. If some want to blame the provocative clothing then take on the fashion industry, take on Hollywood, but don’t blame the kids. The girls at the concert could have been in their underwear and though I’d give them the shirt off my back to cover them up, I’d say not one of them wants to be raped.

-Ken Mellard

1 comment:

rachel said...

It's very easy to place blame on the victim and, many times, it is very convenient to blame the woman. From her clothes to her body language, rapists can point fingers in many directions, avoiding admittance. But at the end of the day, there is no one to blame but the person who committed the crime, the rapist.