Why It’s Not Okay To Blame A Victim For Rape
I’m fuming. I’m mad and I think I have a right to be.
Today I am speaking out about why it’s not okay to blame a victim for rape. It’s not a nice subject to address and if your a sensitive soul then don’t read on. For so long the subject of rape has been taboo, something people avoid but you know what! I’m going to address it and I am going to address it head on!
Now what got me worked up? It was a post on the LAD BIBLE sharing “amazing women’s underwear” which helps prevent sexual assault. Why is that? Well these underpants are designed to protect women from rape. They cant be cut, torn and have a special lock mechanism to prevent them being taken off.
My first thought was, well what if you’re desperate for the loo. It’s going to take twice as long to sit on the bog, especially if your having a night out. However the thing which raged inside is the subconscious and false message being shared that women should be wearing this type of underwear to prevent being raped.
What the hell kind of message is that sending to the 10.5 Million people who have seen this viral post on Facebook? It’s not normal for a woman to be raped and certainly not the victims fault. I’m sick of hearing this “blame” culture when it comes to sexual assault and I have a very personal reason to feel this way.
When I was sixteen I made an unwise choice. I caught a Taxi at night on my own. I was young and innocent and never assumed a simple Taxi ride would result in being sexually assaulted by a foreign bearded man whom I had never met before and would never meet again.
I won’t go into details but as an adult and a mature woman, I am so so angry at the false messages of blame that I was given following the sexual assault that happened to me 18 years ago.
I was told I was lucky! Lucky! How the hell was I lucky? Well, I was offered money for sex and although I was freaking out and managed to get away in the end, I was told some girls are not as lucky. This was a police officer saying these things. An ugly police officer with a long twisted nose and scraggly blonde hair. I’m still mad with him to this day!
Not only did the Police officer say I was lucky, He also unknowingly placed the blame on me. He did not believe I was wearing a hoodie and jeans, which I was. The police officer questioned my honesty and tried to suggest I had been wearing something seductive or inviting. Once again, sending the message that rape is expected when a woman wears a short skirt or low cut top. Another false message which so regularly drives this “blame culture” when it comes to sexual assault.
Instead of accepting I had been assaulted through no choice of my own, the Police officer who interviewed me tried to find excuses and reasons. He tried to understand what I had done to make this man feel it was okay to assault me. Being the young girl I was I internalised these feelings of blame and for many years felt very bad and confused about the whole incident.
What makes me mad is, that after a week I received a phone call from the Police Station. I was told, there are two drivers who shared the Taxi I was in. I had recorded the number plate however the Police could not know which driver had assaulted me. I accepted this and never heard from the Police again.
Today as a Mother and an adult, I’ve had 18 years to think about my assault. I have to admit, it’s not something I do think about often. I’ve had counselling and no longer carry any blame for what happened that night.
It is not okay to attack a woman or child just because she is on her own. It is not okay to attack a woman because of the clothing she is wearing. It is not okay to blame the victim of sexual assault and make them feel they should have done something differently. It is not okay to call someone lucky because others have been assaulted in worse ways.
The lame excuse I was given as a sixteen year old is in my opinion so so lame. I could have easily identified the man. Instead I was let down and left to feel “unworthy”, “at fault” and “blamed”. It was not okay and will never be. A victim is never to blame and society needs to stop promoting such false notions.
Seeing this message, that woman today need to wear protective underwear to prevent rape, ruffled some of my feathers and rightly so. It’s whilst someone out there may think that’s a great idea. I think the whole idea promotes the “blame culture of rape” and puts out the message, it’s the victims responsibility.
Of course we should do all we can to protect ourselves, whether it’s on a night out or whilst in the workplace or home. However the reality is, Rape is wrong and so is the blame culture. It’s as simple as that.
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