Sunday, 17 July 2011

'Don't get raped'

Three simple words that, at first glance seem an obvious statement. The tone of the command indicates copious negative consequences if disobeyed, and the life-ruining, catastrophic effects of rape, or any other form of sexual assault, are of course undeniable. Yet, in the context of which it is used the most, it is a warning; warning someone to not allow their body to be violated in one of the most degrading of ways.  But if you can prevent it from happening (as is implied in this context) it also indicates some degree of personal blame, that somehow, to some extent, rape is the fault of the victim.
 This is not me talking about the ridiculousness of blaming women for atrocities done to them by others. I hope it goes without saying that I wholly disagree with those who blame women who wore a short skirt, got drunk or smiled at the perpetrator then being blaned for the vile things that were forced upon them. I think to blame someone for something evil done to them by someone else is just horrendous and totally inexcusable. No, what really bothers me is that it is girls told this by their mothers before they go out.
 I highly doubt any boy has ever been told on his way out 'don't rape'. It upsets me that I live in a society where I am told to not let bad things happen to me, but the bad people will never have been told to not do it. I find it distressing that I will potentially be bringing up children one day, surrounded by people who think that a person is capable of stopping themselves being so horrendously assaulted.
 It has no potentially positive outcome either, we're trying so hard to abolish this so-called 'glass ceiling' between the genders, but at the end of the day, society as a whole is preaching for the women to sort themselves out? By placing the blame on the victim we are just going back in time, by dealing with a situation like this we're allowing a criminal to potentially get off without punishment, or at the very least without as severe a punishment. It also appears to me as potentially detrimental for effectively supporting the victims of rape, women who have experienced such a hellish experience are surely not going to get the support absolutely necessary for recovery if society as a whole puts them even partially to blame.
 When did it come to this?  To be perfectly honest I want out of this despicable, immature way of thinking that, when it comes down to it, no one agrees with. It horrifies me. When did society get so wrong?

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