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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:
slightlymad72 · 16/05/2011 12:27

I have read this thread but not posted as I felt that I had nothing to contribute. However it did get me thinking if any studies have been done to see how men view rape, the 1 in 2 comment above did actually get me googling.

I found this it is an excerpt from a book published in 1982, there is an interview with a normal everyday bloke and his views on rape and if he could rape.

I felt very uncomfortable reading what he had to say and wonder if these views are held by the 50% quoted above.

dittany · 16/05/2011 12:29

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DontCallMePeanut · 16/05/2011 12:29

sorry, I'll shut up

TandB · 16/05/2011 12:37

I have been reading this thread while sitting in the mags court waiting for my case to be called on and a very topical case came up.

A man pleaded guilty to groping three dancers in a nightclub while he was drunk. He grabbed the breasts of one and put his hand between the legs of the other two.

The bench is three magistrates, not a judge, and one of the wingers got the chairlady to ask the prosecutor this question: were they naked or nearly naked?

The prosecutor seemed a bit taken aback and said 'no, this wasn't a sex establishment or any sort of gentlemens club. It was a normal club and they were employed as dancers'.

The winger audibly said to his colleague 'well that doesn't answer my question. If they were dancers they could still be naked'.

Prosecutor said 'no, they were clothed', still looking rather puzzled.

I am with him in his confusion as I have wracked my brains and cannot think of any legal basis for this question. The only slightly convoluted basis I can come up with is that the winger thought this was some sort of sex club where women are seen as available for touching at all times and that he was wondering if it was a non-payment issue, rather than a consent issue. However, I really don't think that was the issue. I think the winger was raising a quite straightforward suggestion that scanty clothing or lack of clothing would be a mitigating factor. This is not only morally wrong, but legally wrong. There is nothing in the law that says that someone is less culpable if they assault someone wearing fewer clothes and this is the first time I have heard any tribunal openly raise this issue.

I am going to speak to the prosecutor afterwards and suggest that he makes a complaint about this question.

PrinceHumperdink · 16/05/2011 12:43

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xstitch · 16/05/2011 12:44

I hope he does make a complaint Kungfu People with views like that magistrate being in power discourage reporting of rape.

To take the argument of the clothing that would mean that a man breaking into a house would have mitigating factors if he came across a woman in the bath or shower and raped her. That is of course absolute bollocks.

SardineQueen · 16/05/2011 12:44

But boys aren't allowed to rape people any more than men are, and most boys wouldn't want to rape someone.

I don't understand why calling them boys even works as an excuse.

lesley33 · 16/05/2011 12:56

Of course what a woman wear or doesn't wear doesn't mean that she is to "blame" if she is raped.

But some circumstances that as women we may put ourselves in may make us more vulnerable and thus more likely to be raped. For example, research shows that street prostitutes have a very very high chance of being raped at some point whilst working. They don't deserve to be raped and aren't inviting it, but getting into a car with a stranger makes you very vulnerable.

I remember reading some research about serial killers in America. The research said that many members of the public wrongly think that serial killers often target prostitutes because they want to kill prostitutes. The research said that although this does happen, most prostitutes are targetted by serial killers because they are vulnerable and thus easy targets.

In the same way being very drunk and alone outside makes you very vulnerable or walking alone very late at night - say home from a club, makes you vulnerable to stranger rape. I do know most rapes aren't by strangers.

Wearing what is seen as sexy clothing may make you more vulnerable to stranger rape by attracting the attention of the kind of man who would rape. Of course not wearing sexy clothing does not mean that you are safe, but it may make you marginally safer.

PrinceHumperdink · 16/05/2011 12:59

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TandB · 16/05/2011 13:00

I could complain myself but it would be taken more seriously coming from someone involved in the case. I might raise it informally with the clerk on the basis that, not only is it an outrageous stance, but also that it gives the impression that he needs further training and undermines faith in the justice system. I noticed that he asked quite a few pointless questions which the chair seems to disagree with but caved in and asked anyway. This also makes me question whether she is robust enough to be a chair. You do sometimes get wingers who want to assert themselves and they tend to do it by flailing for random points to make. But this was completely unacceptable.

DontCallMePeanut · 16/05/2011 13:02
lesley33 · 16/05/2011 13:13

Research provides evidence that how a woman dresses may be
interpreted as a cue to her character, vulnerability, willingness to
have sex, and provocation of a male's behavior and, consequently,
affects the likelihood of sexual assault, including date rape. For
example, 449 university students were surveyed about sex, dating, and
date rape; 57% agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, "You can
pretty well tell a girl's character by how she dresses," implying
dress is related to likelihood of occurrence of date rape (Dull &
Giacopassi, 1987).

Feild (1978) found that convicted
rapists endorsed the view that victims precipitate (i.e., cause) rape
through their appearance or behavior.?

TandB · 16/05/2011 13:13

I personally think that it is unhelpful for rape to be seen as the top end of a sliding scale with groping type sexual assaults at the bottom end. I don't think the motivation is the same at all. Rape is, as many have said, an expression of violence or dominance, whereas a grope, like the ones in the case today, may have some sexual element. Sexual assaults involving touching can, of course, also be dominance driven, but theyaremore likely than rape to involve some sort of sexual feelings by the attacker.

I don't believe that clothing is a big factor in rape. I am a strong believer in taking sensible precautions to protect yourself against all sorts of situations, but i would be thinking more of robbery than rape if I was walking around at night on my own. I haven't personally been involved in a single stranger/dark alley rape that I can think of. All the rape cases I have dealt with have been acquaintances or the so called date rape. The vast majority have involved some sort of past relationship between the parties.

My colleague did deal with one of the high profile serial rape cases and clothing did not appear to be an issue there wither, although location did.

However, I have dealt with quite a few touching type sexual assaults and some, although not all, of these involved a drunk attacker, a club and a woman who had been propositioned and rejected the advances.

I am not quite sure what my point is. I seem to be rambling on a bit! I think what I am saying is that rape should be considered very differently and not simply as the most serious form of sexual assault. If the sexual element was in some way toned down and it was viewed as more of an assault than a sexual thing, it might be more possible to start dealing with some of the myths surrounding rape.

nijinsky · 16/05/2011 13:13

kfp is it possible that in her eyes (and indeed perpetuating a widely held misebelief) confuses nakedness and near nakedness with wearing skimpy clothing? So in her mind, they are much the same thing? Completely inexcusable, of course.

Re the clothing issue. People keep talkinga bout skimpy and sexy clothing. But where is the line to be drawn? Are tight jeans sexy clothing, tempting men to stray from the good path? What about blouses which are see through in a certain light? What about lycra tops and leggings? Or a summer dress which blows up in a gust of wind? What about shorts in summer? In Victorian times, a glimpse of an ankle was considered sexy.

Just shows how ridiculous it is. Clothes do not make someone likely to be raped. It is the unlucky combination of being in the wrong place at the wrong time and encountering a rapist.

nijinsky · 16/05/2011 13:17

lesley33 what an awful piece of research. Using a leading question, suggesting the answer, to a group of young, easily influenced people. Hardly empirical, was it? It is shocking what passes for research and then which is supposed to pass as the last word on what definitively is the outcome of that research.

PrinceHumperdink · 16/05/2011 13:19

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TandB · 16/05/2011 13:19

It was a man, Nijinsky. The chair was a woman and he asked his question via her. I think the question was clearly intended to differentiate between someone naked or in underwear for example, and someone simply dressed for clubbing. I think he must have been getting at some sort of point about availability, but unless he was entirely misunderstanding the scenario, there is no valid point that should have given rise to the question because it isn't a mitigating factor unless someone has inserted 'she was asking for it' into the list of mitigating factors while I wasn't looking!

PrinceHumperdink · 16/05/2011 13:20

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lesley33 · 16/05/2011 13:22

I don't agree that the motivation for rape is always just about power and domnination. Of course exercising power and domination are part of any rape. But I think there are a number of motivations for rape of which power and domination is one.

DontCallMePeanut · 16/05/2011 13:26

Feild (1978) found that convicted
rapists endorsed the view that victims precipitate (i.e., cause) rape
through their appearance or behavior.?

Lesley, the convicted rapists are hardly likely to say "nope, I was out for a power trip, I'm a complete arsehole, and I deserve shooting". The research is flawed at best, if not completely fucked up.

DontCallMePeanut · 16/05/2011 13:27

And yes, like PH has mentioned several times before, the motivation for rape IS power and control.

TandB · 16/05/2011 13:30

I don't understand that research. Hardly anyone pleads guilty to rape. Rape cases almost always go to trial so the people being surveyed were people who said they didn't do it. Not that many convicted rapists would be likely to go 'ok, fair cop' after the event, not least because they get such a hard time in prison as sex offenders. So who are these convicted rapists who are happy to admit that they did it while saying 'she led me on'? Very strange.

xstitch · 16/05/2011 13:35

Of course convicted rapists say the woman was asking for it. What exactly do you expect them to say.

TandB · 16/05/2011 13:38

You see that's my point, xstitch. I would expect them to say 'I didn't do it'. A lot.

Which is why I find that research so bizarre!

PrinceHumperdink · 16/05/2011 13:40

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