by NINA FUNNELL
Please note that this post could trigger difficult memories for survivors of rape or sexual assault.
From the MM team: Often, when a woman is raped, the media and commentators find ways to blame the woman, to put the onus or the responsibility for what happened on HER.
The simple fact is that those people? Are d*ckheads.
Rape is an incredibly traumatic and horrifying experience and blaming the victim only serves to reinforce that trauma.
A number of years ago I was asked by a woman’s magazine to assist them with an article they were writing about sexual assault. They wanted me to give advice to other women on how to not get raped, and they suggested examples like ‘walk in well lit areas’, ‘don’t travel home alone’ etc.
The problem, I explained, is that we have been giving this sort of advice to women for decades and it hasn’t made them any safer. What it has succeeded in doing, however, is to make every rape victim who was walking home alone (or doing any of the other million things we are told not to do) to feel as though maybe she were to blame for the violence that was committed against her.
The other problem of course is that most sexual assaults are not committed by strangers anyway and this sort of ‘stranger danger’ advice actually deflects attention away from the far more likely threat: people already known to the victim.
So instead of telling women to modify their behavior in order to forward manage the poor behavior of a minority of men, isn’t it time we changed approach? Instead of offering more unrealistic, unhelpful advice directed at women we could:
1) Tell the 1 in 8 teen boys who think it is ‘OK’ to hold a girl down and force her to have sex if she has flirted, that rape is not OK. Not ever. There is no excuse.