I recently found myself engaging in an argument with someone who I thought was wise but proved not to be. She explained to me that women were often the instigators of rape based on their attitudes and their dressing. When I asked her why women in the middle east who wore burkas could be raped, she said they lured men with their walk and eyes. I proceeded to roll my eyes, kiss my teeth, walk away like a duck and suggest she stick it to herself.
Our own worst enemies
I have found that women appear to be more likely to point fingers at other women even before men are. Why are we not supportive of each other? When men get raped (and they do), I have never heard a man say it was the victim’s fault. So why do we do that where women are concerned? Freda Adler said; “Rape is the only crime in which the victim becomes the accused”, unfortunately her words are still true today.
Who is to blame
The culprit is clear in cases of rape; the culprit is always the rapist. So why is it that there is still a blame game. This pattern of searching for whom to assign the blame cuts across national, cultural and religious barriers. People readily blame immodest dressing, loose talk and suggestive body language. We know that rape happens when a rapist refuses to accept ‘no’ as an answer, so why do we still have to put victims through the ringer as though they’ve done something wrong.
Fear of rape
Many of my female friends who grew up in African countries say they were afraid of two things as young girls. The first was of getting raped and the second was of getting pregnant out of wedlock. As a result, mothers taught their daughters ‘common sense’. They told them ‘always go out in pairs’, ‘don’t leave your drink with anyone’, ‘don’t go out with any man’, ‘tell someone where you’re going’, ‘never leave without spare cash’. These lessons are all useful and handy but seem to place the onus on women yet again. As a result when a woman is raped the first thing some may ask is; “what was she wearing”, “why was she there?”, “what was she looking for?”
How to change
We know and acknowledge the facts. We are aware of the truth, but the question remains, how do we change? How do we encourage women to feel free to speak up without fear of being questioned and criticised? You may say rape is rare but according RAINN 14.8% of American women will get raped as opposed to the 12.4% risk of a woman getting breast cancer . So rape is certainly an issue worth discussing, and the female attitude towards it certainly needs to be addressed. Is there a reason why women always point the finger at other women? Is it a flaw in our ability to lean in, as I discussed here? Is the blame culture a symptom of a desire to protect or a symptom of a deeper problem in society at large?
Hate it or love it, leave a comment below! You know Dami loves to chat, until next time xx