lifestyle

The outfit I was wearing when I got told I was "asking for it" is not the outfit I was wearing when I was raped.

Trigger warning: This post deals with rape.

When Frankie* wore a crop top and shorts to the local supermarket, she was accused by a complete stranger of ‘asking for it‘.

But that revealing outfit wasn’t actually what Frankie was wearing at the time of being raped. Instead, as she has revealed in a powerful account published online, she was wearing an oversized hoodie and tracksuit pants when she was attacked.

rape victims and slut shaming
Image via Tumblr.

As the young woman explains, society’s emphasis on sex assault victims’ clothing perpetuates a culture of slut-shaming and victim-blaming — shifting the focus away from attackers’ accountability — and that really, really needs to change.

In the entire, original post below, Frankie makes her point absolutely perfectly:

I was wearing this outfit today to a grocery store when I made a baby smile. I was wearing this outfit today when I threw my head back and laughed, when I sang in the car with my family, when I filled it with yummy food to keep it healthy.

I was wearing this outfit today to a grocery store when I overheard a woman telling her young daughter who was pointing and laughing that I would get what’s coming to me.

I was wearing this outfit today when a woman told a man that it was the wrong kind of attention and that I was asking for someone to get me.

I was wearing this outfit today when the same man stared at my body longingly and then agreed with the woman that I was asking for an attack.

I was not wearing this outfit when I was raped. I was wearing a size XXL hoodie and a pair of my mom’s sweatpants, much to the shock of the friend I told after, who asked what she’d been taught to ask: “What were you wearing?”.

I feel so terrible for the little girl whose mother was teaching her at the grocery store that she deserved to be assaulted if she dressed comfortably for the weather, which was climbing above 80 degrees, or for an injury, which called for a brace and a boot that doesn’t allow room for long pants, or for her body, because it’s hers and she can put on it what she damn well pleases.

I feel terrible for the man who will look me up and down as though I was a 5 for $20 steak deal he might purchase and will immediately after speak to a presumable stranger about the violent fate I deserved.

I feel terrible for the woman with fabulous hair who feels she can express herself but refuses to let me do the same.

Summer is coming up. It’s hot outside. I have an injured ankle, and a tight boot and brace to wear on one leg. I will not dress uncomfortably to protect complete strangers who are so offended by an expanse of skin that they console themselves by predicting my next rape.

Stop perpetuating slut-shaming and thus perpetuating a culture of excused rape. Stop perpetuating slut-shaming and thus perpetuating a culture of insecurity, inherent shame, and body image distortion which can cause an innumerable amount of incredibly dark issues nearly impossible to overcome.

My body is mine, and I love it. It is the house I live in, with which I will someday create a family, with which I run and dance and hold the strong lungs I use to sing. I refuse to be ashamed of it for any reason, especially the reason being that this culture which glorifies sex and punishes those who have it, which encourages being sexy and then preaches that sexy girls ask for attack, has taught its people that my stomach is a sin.

Please think twice this summer before you choose to say anything at all to or about anyone who wears something they choose to wear. Please think twice before you say that a girl deserves to be raped for wearing shorts. Please try and catch yourself when you think things like that. Please be courteous and gentle and loving, and spend your effort tackling real problems. My stomach and legs are not a real problem.

This. Spread this like wild fire.

The moving account is a powerful, beautifully worded reminder that a victim of rape is never responsible for the crime. So when you hear someone ask “what was she wearing?” next time you hear of a sexual assault, remember this:

Rape victims never ‘asked for it’. And they never ‘had it coming’ because of what they were wearing.

*While Mamamia has not been able to independently verify the original post, it is credited to a Tumblr blogger who identifies as ‘Frankie’ on LookSomeWhere else.

The social media campaign #ThisDoesntMeanYes spreads the message that clothing doesn’t “provoke” or invite rape. Here are some images from the campaign so far:

If you need help, you can call the Sexual Assault & Domestic Violence National Help Line on 1800 Respect (1800 737 732)

Related:

It’s 2014. So why are we still asking women this question about sex?

Is rape a “male or female problem?”

Lena Dunham: ‘When I was raped, I felt powerless.’