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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:
DontCallMePeanut · 15/05/2011 21:44

oh, xstitch, that must be horrible for you. Have you tried talking to women's aid about this? They may have some advice? It's not fair that you should have to suffer to this degree.

chandellina · 15/05/2011 21:45

it's slightly off topic but I agreed with Minette Marin in the Times today saying there's something a bit childish about dressing or acting to provoke attention and then being annoyed that you receive attention.

I think it's ludicrous to think it's empowering to dress like a sex worker and then be surprised people view you as such.

Of course no one deserves to be raped. Unfortunately welcome attention can become unwelcome though, and drink and drugs can confuse that line further for the parties involved.

xstitch · 15/05/2011 21:50

I have been to womens aid, but as it has been to court ( I tried to protect myself legall) I now just have to put up with it. They suggested I get psychological help to cope with it. Completely missing the point that I shouldn't have to cope with it IYSWIM. I have been left alone by every official pathway I have turned to and I have exhausted them all. No choice but to put up with it. Will be allowed to move further away in 12 years time so its not for ever I guess.

DontCallMePeanut · 15/05/2011 21:56

12 years still seems like a long time, and utterly unfair on you. And you're right, you shouldn't have to "cope" with it. Are you still living in the same town as him? If so, you should be able to move a certain distance away, unless there's something which has already been decided re: your daughter. :( Sometimes the legal system sucks

nijinsky · 15/05/2011 21:58

"How is expecting someone to act on instinct overcomplicating things? Or to take measures so that they are safe (or as much as can be). "

Because you are placing the duty on the victim to prevent their attacker from attacking them and not on the criminal not to commit the crime.

Obviously, we take precautions to avoid our houses from being burgled, but its not so easy to stop yourself from being raped. Yes, women all over Britain could agree never to wear a short skirt, short summer dress or anything tight or low cut. So then rapists would continue as they were before. It would achieve precisely nothing. Instinct will only help you so much. If a psysopath targets you, then it is more a matter of luck than instinct. True, if you are a qualified psychologist, you might be able to screen potential rapists out of your life. But for the rest of us it is not possible, so other than never going out, we have to rely on society to be civilised enough to control rape so that it is possible for us to go about our normal lives.

I go running. On my own. In summer, if it is hot, I wear shorts and sometimes a crop top. Are you telling me that in the UK, I should dress as if I were in a Muslim country and wear full length running tights and a long sleeved top, otherwise it would be my fault if a maniac/criminal raped me? Seriously? That is sadly skewed thinking.

I don't want to live in a society like that. If Britain becomes like that, I'm leaving.

xstitch · 15/05/2011 22:06

The system certainly sucks, I wish I had human rights I am a human being too. Its all part of the keep the victim down, don't upset the bully or then you become the victim culture.

The only way I can move is to had dd over to XH and agree never to see her there is a court order against me. I have to get written permission to go anywhere, even for a day otherwise I am guilty of kidnapping my own child. Apart from that I have the normal rights of having custody of dd. Officially anyway, he bullies me into doing things his way.

Lost out on a job because of it so ended up on benefits to boost my income. I am ashamed of that but there are no jobs here. I don't even have a right to earn a living, his rights are more important.

You are right 12 years is a long time. Coping with it for the last few years has nearly killed me. He wants me dead though so there has to be at least one thing he doesn't win on. This is what I meant when I said free by now if I had killed him.

DontCallMePeanut · 15/05/2011 22:11

I have never once said that. In fact, the only post where I referenced clothing, I pointed out that the "clothing" debate was null and void, otherwise there'd be no end of sexual assaults on the beach.

And no, I am not placing the blame on the victim, because I agree no woman should HAVE to prevent themselves from being raped. But if a woman notices there's something about a man in her presence that makes her feel uncomfortable, surely it is unwise to be unattended with him?

How about little things like making sure someone knows where you are and who you're with? We had this method in place when I was in the refuge. If we were out overnight, we had to give an address, and overnight phone number which wasn't our own, so our location could be verified if we didn't return. Even now, if I go out on a date, I tell my brother where I'll be. When I'll be back.

And like I mentioned with the rape alarm. They're pretty discreet, but can make a difference. Set one off, and heads turn. Add to that, it makes it more difficult for the attacker to get near you. Believe me. DS accidentally set mine off once, and it made him cry. My instinct was to turn away from the thing.

Obviously no method of protection is foolproof. But, like I said. You'd go out of your way to make sure your DC were safe. Why not yourself? No one's justified that yet.

EvenLessNarkyPuffin · 15/05/2011 22:11

'something a bit childish about dressing or acting to provoke attention and then being annoyed that you receive attention.'

How fucking idiotic. Dressing a certain way may prompt people to notice you more and look, but how can any clothing suggest that someone has the right to lay hands on you or harass you? This is returning to the age old premise that it's a woman's responsibility to stop herself from appearing too sexually attractive, because if she does men won't be able to control themselves!

If I see one of those living statue street performers I get a strong urge to throttle them. No one would suggest that it was their responsibility to not wear silver paint or act like fuckwits pretend to be statues. It's my role as a normal (ish) civilised human being to control my responses. I can give them evil looks, but more than that would be unacceptable. It seems that if a woman is dressed in a way one might describe as 'look at me', our society thinks that she is in some way responsible if men lay hands on her. NO-ONE has the right to lay hands on on another person without their consent.

We are in the ludicrous situation where some people think that if a girl walks down a street late at night in a short skirt and someone throws a bucket of dye over her ruining her clothes it is a criminal matter. If the same girl walks down the street and is sexually assaulted, she was in some way bringing it on herself or recklessly putting herself in danger.

baskingseals · 15/05/2011 22:18

x-stitch - don't let the bastards get you down
best revenge it not to give a goddamned shit, even if it is just in your own head

DontCallMePeanut · 15/05/2011 22:20

Oh my, xstitch. He really is a prize knob. He makes my ex look almost like Ghandi, and that takes some doing.

You are very strong, and that's admirable. It's a shame the courts have been so feckless useless in your case. :(

xstitch · 15/05/2011 22:24

If not coping was a choice I had then I have my doubts I would. I have no choice so guess that's for the best in a way.

Would it be really evil to tell the minister next time i see her exactly why I don't go any more? I have been tempted several times.

DontCallMePeanut · 15/05/2011 22:26

It would possibly be the sensible thing. I think the minister would likely be the least biased person to talk to (or I'd hope so) and might even give you a chance to gain some support.

Don't see it as evil, see it as a lifeline.

nijinsky · 15/05/2011 23:04

Don'tCallMePeanut I'm so sorry but there is just something about your wording that irks me. Your reference to "little things like making sure that someone knows where you are" and "not being unattended" is just so...I struggle for words here...disempowering. Like women are already victims. When I told the police about the flasher who had tried to drag me away, I had to tell them about me kicking him (and wedge boots made a very good kicking tool), and they told me I did the right thing.

Not acting like a victim is just as good a defence as using your instinct and these random "little things" (that any sensible person does anyway and which don't therefore have to be picked up on as if they are specifically vital). I don't mean to be offensive, just as I am sure you don't mean to be either. Its just that we seem to think in different ways.

To be fair, the only time I've been near someone that it was safe to be "unattended with" would have been in a work situation such as a prison visit, or interview with a typical nutter client, but most people don't want to restrict their lives in such a way. Its impractical. What would you do if there was a convicted rapist, just released from prison, at the gym you use? How would you know? Its just not practical. You have to rely on society to protect you as well, and the best way of doing that is not to blame the victim.

JellyBeansOnToast · 15/05/2011 23:07

Locking your doors and having a burglar alarm is quite likely to stop your house being robbed. Burglars' motives are to steal things, usually as easily as possible.

Wearing a mouldy fleece and baggy jeans will not stop you being raped. Rapists' motives are to dominate, control and be violent. They give not a fig what you are wearing, because attractiveness doesn't come into it.

AyeRobot · 15/05/2011 23:09

x-stitch, I am sorry he has done and is still these awful things to you. Have you got friends nearby? I do hope so.

DontCallMePeanut, I totally understand where you are coming from in your post of 22.11. And I agree. That's what I was talking about on one of the threads in terms of specific risk rather than general risk. We all have different preceptions of general risk, that much is clear. Walking to my house is not a specific risk to me. If a rapist never walks along my route at the same time as me, then I am at no risk from rape at all. Walking to my house with a man following me is a specific risk that I pay attention to. Being at a party is not a specific risk. Being at a party and a man following me to the bathroom is a specific risk. Those specific risks are ones I can try to do something about because they are based on the way someone is actually behaving. Though if my attempts fail and I am raped, then it is still not my fault, of course. Does that make sense?

These kind of threads just go to show why juries make what to me are bizarre decisions. Some people really do think that there is some kind of contributory negligence in rape cases. Depressing.

nijinsky · 15/05/2011 23:14

Actually, thats a very interesting point AyeRobot. It does almost seem as if there is an element of contributory negligence introduced into rape cases at times. Of course, in criminal law, there is no legal concept of contributory negligence - it applies in civil law only, in reperation cases. The typical example being when a passenger injured in a traffic accident sueing the driver of a car has failed to wear a seatbelt. But I agree that in practice, there almost seems to this concept in rape cases. But not in any other criminal cases. Totally unjustified.

DontCallMePeanut · 15/05/2011 23:59

nijinsky, I don't think there's anything disempowering about having someone know where you are. And it's not victimisation.

The reason I let my brother know where I am if I'm on a night out is because he usually has my DS if I'm out. If anything happened to DS, he'd need to get hold of me. But it does work as a back up.

I do see where you are coming from, and I know my opinions may come across as harsh. But can I reiterate that I do NOT believe that a rape would be a woman's fault even if she took no action to prevent it. We shouldn't live in a society where we feel victimised, but maybe it's a difference in how people respond to situations. I deliberately go out of my way to make sure that I'm at as little risk as possible.

I do agree with your point about self defence. But it's important that women only do so if it carries no further risk to them. I did read somewhere that if someone attempts to attack you, and they are unarmed, the best thing you can do is scratch their face. That way, they have a mark on their face, and you have evidence under your fingernails for the police. And I do agree that there is an added responsibility from society to protect women. It's difficult to know who is a risk these days.

DontCallMePeanut · 16/05/2011 00:02

It may be worth people looking at the Suzy Lamplugh trust website. It contains lots of tips on how to keep safe in various situations.

I'd rather have those tips in the back of my mind so I could put them to use when I felt necessary to do so. Suzy Lamplugh Trust

DontCallMePeanut · 16/05/2011 00:10

And AyeRobot and Nijinsky, I agree completely. A rape is NOT down to negligence. It's down to some sick individual's mind.

The reason I make the points I do is based on the way rape victims are questioned, or even made to appear guilty of some misdoing themselves. When the defence is asking what you did to prevent the rape, you shouldn't NEED to say anything, but if you don't they will twist that. I'd rather be able to say I did x y and (or in Nijjinsky's case) he got a kick in the bollocks. The defence on a rape case does try to blame the victim, as sickening as that is.

Personally, I do think the way rape trials are dealt with needs to be changed. But I have no idea what changes could be put in place to change the way the things are dealt with

dittany · 16/05/2011 00:34

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dittany · 16/05/2011 00:37

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DontCallMePeanut · 16/05/2011 00:40

You're right, Dittany, but what concerns me is a man KNOWS that raping a woman is wrong. They KNOW it's illegal. It's how we can deter the ones that do it out of an evil motive, and educate the one's who aren't evil as such but get confused about boundaries. The latter is easier. It's changing the mindset of the former

dittany · 16/05/2011 00:48

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DontCallMePeanut · 16/05/2011 00:52

What about rapists who assume that because a girl has come onto him that counts as consent?

Or who is too drunk to realise she's withdrawn consent, or in no position to give consent.

MOST rapists know what they are doing. But I do think the media's poor portrayal of consent tends to add some confusion, especially where younger males are concerned.

dittany · 16/05/2011 00:54

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