Don’t Blame Me!

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Headlines have been full of bad news for the fairer sex lately. Women have been fighting for equality and worth for a very long time, while slut-shaming and blaming victims for their own sexual assault is putting us so far behind it’s making me sick.

Let’s get a few things straight: no matter what a woman says, does, wears, drinks, where or with whom she chooses to hang out doesn’t make her responsible for being raped. The argument that a woman wearing revealing clothes is “asking for it” doesn’t fly with me. Rape occurs anytime, anywhere and can happen to anyone. In fact, the majority (about 75 per cent) of rapists are known to their victims, whether it be a boyfriend, friend or acquaintance. Also, about half of all rapes occur in the victim’s home, so it only stands to reason that staying in from the club cannot prevent rape. It’s not only drunk, flirty or “slutty” girls that get raped.

Rape isn’t a crime of passion, it’s a crime of power, control and violence. It’s a way to hurt or humiliate a victim, using forced sex as a tool. Most rapes are planned and are done with hatred and aggression as the motive. Rape victims can be anyone, from children to the elderly. Physical attractiveness isn’t a factor. Sexual gratification is not a motive for rape.

Not attempting to resist during sexual assault doesn’t mean that one is giving consent. Since rape is an act of violence, many victims think that they’ll only make things worse by struggling or fighting back. This makes sense, considering weapons are involved in 20 per cent of rapes by strangers. Not to mention, the element of surprise, size difference, fear or threats all make it difficult to fight back against an attacker. Just because a woman doesn’t fight back does ’t mean she wants it- it means she wants to stay alive.

Denying the reality of rape and blaming victims only perpetuates the problem. While false accusations do happen, they account for less than two per cent of all rape claims. Making women feel like they’ll be blamed for their own attack or that no one will believe them doesn’t exactly encourage victims to come forward and receive the medical care, therapy and justice they deserve. We, as a society, are doing a terrible disservice to our women by allowing rapists to go unchecked and unpunished while their victims suffer in silence.

I’ve only been focusing on women in this article because of society’s view of female rape victims. They are often considered loose and responsible for their own attack. The fact is, it’s not only women who are raped. Ten per cent of reported rape victims are men, and sadly, that number is likely much higher. There’s a stigma of its own attached to men who are victims of rape. Men are considered “too strong” or “too big” to be a victim of sexual assault, so many men do not report their assault.

There has been a lot of bulls**t in the news lately regarding rape. Misogynistic politicians making idiot remarks about women is nothing new, but it’s something that really frustrates me, especially in a society that considers itself progressive and modern. Delegitimizing rape is an attack on women that needs to stop. Our society needs to hold rapists, not victims, accountable for their actions. In the end, we need to teach “don’t rape” rather than “don’t get raped”.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, please visit rainn.org or call 1-800-656-HOPE for help.