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to think there's no item of clothing or lack of that puts a woman at risk of sexual assault?

493 replies

countless · 15/05/2011 10:12

i was just listening to 2 women and a man on r4 discussing the upcoming slut march, the name makes me cringe but i get the idea behind it...
the consensus of the 2 women was that women should be aware that what they wear has an effect upon other people that they is out of their control...

the male presenter very wisely didn't comment.

am i alone in thinking this is profoundly depressing? do people still think that it's womens clothing or lack of that encourages sexual assault??

why don't people realise that any woman or girl is at risk from a rapist and that no one is 'asking for it'. which is the message i take from discussions on womens clothing

OP posts:
StuckinTheMiddlewithYou · 15/05/2011 10:13

I agree entirely.

countless · 15/05/2011 10:18

oops that 'they' is out of their control..innit! i'm not ali g i promise

OP posts:
LittlePickleHead · 15/05/2011 10:19

YANBU I too find the prevalence of this opinion depressing.

TrillianAstra · 15/05/2011 10:20

I think some clothing does increase your risk of being groped in a pub or whatever (because it is mistakenly interpreted as an availability signal), but the point is that it shouldn't do.

troisgarcons · 15/05/2011 10:23

two schools of thought - if you leave your house unlocked you are more likely to get burgled BUT of course in an ideal society we wouldn't have burglars.

Same applies I'm afraid. If you are going to dress provocatively, get slammed drunk in the wrong part of town then you have to take some responsibility for putting yourself at risk. Of course in an ideal society we wouldn't have rapists. But we do. Therefore you minimise your risks - you don't split up from your friends and go off with a bloke you've only just met; you don't let your drink out of your sight; you don't get so stocious that you lose all self awareness and sense of danger.

You wouldn't walk into oncoming traffic and expect it to avoid you.

countless · 15/05/2011 10:29

i definitely disagree trillianastra, i've had my breats groped on 2 occasions in broad daylight in public areas. in birmingham. once i passed a middle aged man on stairs and he grabbed a feel and was gone, the other incident i was pushing a pushchair and a another middle aged man groped me and turned a corner. i shouted after him but people looked at me as though i was a mad woman. so i had to swallow my humiliation and continue on my way...
i have small breasts and wasn't dressed in any sort of revealing clothing. IMO it's impossible to pre-guess what an asshole who gropes women will find alluring

OP posts:
JeremyKylesPetProject · 15/05/2011 10:31

Since when was being burgled on a par with being raped? Not that its the same thing but a burglar only knows your house is unlocked by doing something illegal in the first place - trespassing. The intent to commit a crime is there before the crime is committed. I'd say THAT applies to a rapist stalking his victim. I doubt the clothing comes into it.

troisgarcons · 15/05/2011 10:35

It's an anology - one Nicky Cambell used on the radio phone in with the woman who is organising this.

Valid points made on both sides - like the Op I don't like the term 'slutwalk' - it has implications.

My point is: if you are aware of potential risk (and that applies to anything) you minimise that risk.

countless · 15/05/2011 10:36

of course being drunk increases chances of being a victim of crime in general and of injuring yourself. and may compromise your ability to judge or defend yourself in a dangerous situation

i just don't believe you can simply class any sorts of clothing as provocative enough to invite sexual assault. and it ignores the fact that so many women and girls are assaulted everyday in their homes or going about their lives and their clothing isn't a factor

OP posts:
Itsjustafleshwound · 15/05/2011 10:37

It is the clothing, the circumstances, the amount of drink consumed ... on its own it doesn't add up to much but in its entirety it does add up to culpability ... it shouldn't happen but it does!

midori1999 · 15/05/2011 10:39

I agree with Trillian too, that what we wear may have an effect on other people's opinions/actions, but it absolutely shouldn't.

TidyDancer · 15/05/2011 10:43

What Trillian said. It doesn't make a woman responsible for sexual assault, but IME, it would be naive to think that dressing in particular ways can't provoke a response from people, and that's really what this is about. It's not specifically related to an assualt, it's the whole concept. We dress in different ways to make different impressions, and there are inevitably going to be responses provoked in others because of that. It shouldn't happen, but it does.

That said, the opinion that women are, in any way, actually responsible for a sexual assault that may happen to them, is heinous.

TidyDancer · 15/05/2011 10:45

It's not an 'absolute' though, OP. The question is really can an item of clothing....., not will an item of clothing. I'm paraphrasing your original question, but hopefully that makes sense to you.

countless · 15/05/2011 10:46

so the warning is that if you are sexually assaulted your clothing maybe used as part of the attackers defence against you..

i think rape and sexual assault is a crime the perpetrator is intent on and what your wearing makes no difference

OP posts:
troisgarcons · 15/05/2011 10:47

People are judgemental and sterotype according to looks/colour/race/religion/gender/age etc etc and always will do. It doesn't how much education you put in place - first thing you subconciously register when a new person walks into a room is gender followed by colour followed by other details such as height ... ie the black man, the blonde woman.

We also subconciously categorise by clothing - scruffy sod, dozy tart etc - and don't any of you tell me, if you been cut up on the way to work that the first thing through your head isn't 'silly old bastard', 'dozy fat mare' because no matter how unprejudiced you think you are - those thoughts pop into your head.

The same will apply to women who wear plunging necklines, too short hems, boob tubes and hotpants with arse cheeks hanging out. If ICBA I'd go and link in a My Big Fat Gypsy wedding to see all the comments regarding clothes and how the posters here categorised those people!!! But I CBA to go find it! Pippa Middlesons frock was another one

Back to the real point - should we judge? no! Do we judge? Quite, almost certainly, Yes!

JeremyKylesPetProject · 15/05/2011 10:50

I can't believe that a crime as vicious and devastating as rape (a crime normally carried out by predatory males who pounce on the victims vulnerability) still cannot be fully blamed on the criminal 100%.

LRDTheFeministDragon · 15/05/2011 10:50

You know, I really hate that term 'dress provocatively'. You provoke a fight, or a reaction ... it means 'call out for'. No one needs their clothes to do the talking for them.

I guess it's a side issue/semantics if you want to see it that way, but I wish we could stop using that term. To me, ever time it gets used it suggests whoever used it already kind of accepts that women's clothes can consent for them.

TrillianAstra · 15/05/2011 10:51

"so the warning is that if you are sexually assaulted your clothing maybe used as part of the attackers defence against you.."


If you are attacked, there is no defense, what you are wearing or how much you had been drinking or whether you were walking on your own is not a mitigating factor. The blame lies entirely with the person who commits the crime.

But the chances of it happening in the first place are higher if you are very drunk down a dark alley on your own wearing shoes that mean that you can't run away.

RamblingRosa · 15/05/2011 10:53

YANBU. Women should be able to wear whatever they want without being told that they're inviting violent attack. Does anyone ever question whether male rape victims of rape were "asking for it" in some way because of what they wore? Or whether elderly women raped in their homes were asking for it? Rape isn't about what women wear.

TidyDancer · 15/05/2011 10:56

Jeremy, no one has said that. It is blamed fully on the perp. See Trillian's post, she said what I am thinking.

countless · 15/05/2011 10:56

oh dear, so even the mumsnet consensus on a sunday morning is that women who dress 'provocatively' are naive if they they don't accept they're inviting sexual assault...

i'm obviously mad then!

don't any of you think that rape and sexual assault is a crime of violence?

in what other crimes do people generally think the victim invited the crime?

OP posts:
troisgarcons · 15/05/2011 10:58

The majority of rape is carried out behind closed doors - by someone close to you.

Therefore the whole clothing issue is a bit bogus IMHO as rapists are generally on a power trip. It's rarely a sexual motive per se it's about control.

interesting perspective, if you takle the time to read it - written by a woman

PrinceHumperdink · 15/05/2011 10:58

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

cumbria81 · 15/05/2011 10:59

Last night I went out for a few drinks with some friends and walked home at about midnightish. There were lots of young women heading into town walking towards me. Without exception, they were all shit faced and wearing higih heels and very, very short dresses. Most of them looked fabulous, tbh - but I did think to myself that they also looked very vulnerable.

I am not for one minute suggestiing that if something awful happened it would be their fault for dressing provocatively - of course not - but I do think they unwittingly give off certain vibes of being unable to protect themselves (how could they run away?)

squeakytoy · 15/05/2011 10:59

We had a huge thread on this yesterday, and as I said on there. To an opportunist rapist who is on the prowl for a woman to attack, the factors he will consider in his warped mind are not how attractive a woman is, but how easy it would be to attack her. So a woman in a quiet unlit area, wearing high heels that she cant run in, a short skirt that he can bypass quite quickly (rather than trousers which would be more difficult for him to get undone/down), is more of a target.

Yes, in a perfect world we should be able to walk alone, at any time, wearing whatever we like, but this is not a perfect world, and it is up to the woman to do what she can to minimise the risk of danger. That is not me saying that the woman is to blame if she gets attacked, but that if we use our common sense, stay with friends, or book a cab rather than walk, we are at less risk from the danger.

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