There exists, in our modern age, a backwards idea; a misconception so great it threatens our way of existence. Something so subliminal, some of us aren’t even aware it exists. This idea is, simply put, that rape or sexual harassment of any kind can be blamed on the victim.
Take this quote from a response to the coverage of Lara Logan’s gang-rape ordeal:
Earth to liberated women: When you display legs, thighs or cleavage, some liberated men will see it as a sign that you feel good about yourself and your sexuality. But most men will see it as a sign that you want to get laid.
Earlier in this response, the author tells women that they can’t trust men, ever – essentially implying that men cannot control their sexual desires or urges, and therefore the women, who are usually the victims in cases of rape, are to blame if such a thing takes place. The entire piece ignited quite the internet campaign, calling for the resignation of the author who later apologized for his ignorant arguments.
Then there’s the police officer, who was acquitted of using his badge to earn sexual favors – acquitted partly because of his standing as an officer of the law, but mostly because his victim was a stripper. This is what his defense was based on, quoting his lawyer: “She got what she wanted. She’s an overtly sexual person.”
Then there are the countless women who find themselves declared “mentally unstable” and dismissed from military service after filing complaints of sexual harassment.
Then there’s even Miley freaking Cyrus, getting told off by the NY Daily News. She says she’s sick of being hounded by paparazzi? Well, duh, Miley, that’s clearly your fault for dressing “like that”.
Yes, that example was quite a bit lighter than the others, but here’s where I’m going: It’s not the victim’s fault they were victimized. Ever. And yet, society constantly tells them it is, saying things like, “Well, you shouldn’t have worn that,” “Clearly you were just giving off the wrong vibes,” “Maybe you shouldn’t have been in that area.”
Clearly, this mindset is shameful. What is equally clear is that something needs to be done to correct this problem – something more than telling the women in our lives to cover up, take self-defense classes, and carry pepper spray; something like educating society as a whole (because not all rape victims are women) to respect people of both genders as people, not objects to be controlled. There is also a great need for us to recognize the necessity to hold the guilty responsible for such reprehensible actions. Because, really:
I don’t deserve to be raped. My friends and family don’t deserve to be raped. Girls passed out at parties don’t deserve to be raped. Prostitutes don’t deserve to be raped.
NO ONE DESERVES TO BE VIOLATED.
And no one deserves to be as terrified as I am of even going out in public because I know that if something happens to me, people will find some way to say it’s my fault.