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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:
TrillianAstra · 15/05/2011 11:00

There is a difference between inviting and increasing risk.


  1. To ask for the presence or participation of

2. To request formally
3. To welcome; encourage
4. To tend to bring on; provoke
5. To entice; tempt.

  1. The possibility of suffering harm or loss; danger.

2. A factor, thing, element, or course involving uncertain danger; a hazard
a. The danger or probability of loss to an insurer.
b. The amount that an insurance company stands to lose.
a. The variability of returns from an investment.
b. The chance of nonpayment of a debt.
5. One considered with respect to the possibility of loss:
PrinceHumperdink · 15/05/2011 11:01

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PrinceHumperdink · 15/05/2011 11:02

This reply has been deleted

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TidyDancer · 15/05/2011 11:03

Countless, you are being way too extreme in your interpretation of the opposing opinion. No one is saying there has been an invite or female responsibility for sexual assault. My opinion, as stated above, is that this whole concept does not apply solely or even mainly to the sexual assault scenario.

A woman is never responsible for assault.

JeremyKylesPetProject · 15/05/2011 11:03

I can't think of another serious crime where anyone would say the victim was partly responsible. Any I can think of are identity theft, stealing etc which although upsetting are ones that the victim can overcome in time. Even then no one would dream of telling the victim they had any choice in being a victim... and yet here we are saying that clothing of all goddamn things MIGHT cause an unsuspecting male to get all aroused and simply have to purge his desires whether the woman wants it or not? Because her blouse might have an extra button undone or her skirt might be bottom skimming? Utter rubbish.

troisgarcons · 15/05/2011 11:03

slut   /slʌt/ Show Spelled
[sluht] Show IPA


  1. a dirty, slovenly woman.

2. an immoral or dissolute woman; prostitute.

I wouldn't want to be considered either.
AyeRobot · 15/05/2011 11:04

No time to write a long post, but MNers yesterday seemed to be a bit more clued up on this thread

countless · 15/05/2011 11:05

i disagree with that myth of the drunk woman in heels in an alley. i think statistics and anecdotal evidence prove that any woman or girl wearing any type of clothing may be attacked at any time of day by an opportunist attacker

who is to know what an attacker finds provocative? school uniforms? sportswear? officewear?

i remember a couple of years ago a gang in south london had deliberately targeted 'business women' on a route near a train station. a number of women suffered horrific rapes and assaults. they were targeted as a particular group because they were professionals carrying briefcases etc

OP posts:
squeakytoy · 15/05/2011 11:06

Jeremy, its not about the clothing causing arousal, it is all about the clothing being minimal because that makes it easier for the attacker.

TrillianAstra · 15/05/2011 11:06

I didn't mention attraction at all, I was talking about more the sort of thing that squeakytoy has said - being an easy target.

As has been said, most rape is done behind closed doors.

But some assaults (sexual or otherwise) are opportunistic, and if you are drunk, alone, and wearing shoes that mean that you can't run away then an opportunistic attacker is more likely to choose you.

You are not inviting assault but it is easier for someone to assault you, threfore the risk is higher.

chibi · 15/05/2011 11:06

i hate thr stupid burglary analogy for a variety of reasons but mostly for this:

I can take pains to hide the fact that my house contains an extensive diamond or faberge egg collection, but how might i disguise the fact that i have what a rapist might want? Whether i am stark arse naked or wearing a burqa there is no getting round the fact that i am a woman

maybe that's where we're going wrong, maybe we should be disguising ourselves as pillarboxes, or fiat unos


WillieWaggledagger · 15/05/2011 11:07

the burglary/rape analogy is a false one that perpetuates the idea that women's bodies can be equated with property

troisgarcons · 15/05/2011 11:09

That wasn't my intention - but take it up with Nicky Campbell! The woman on the radio didn't seem to have a problem with it.

TidyDancer · 15/05/2011 11:10

squeaky and Trillian have this nailed.

Nothing to do with sexual attraction.

PrinceHumperdink · 15/05/2011 11:11

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

JeremyKylesPetProject · 15/05/2011 11:13

Where I live in Manchester there is a serial rapist attacking students. The women attacked have tended to be women walking home alone after a night on the tiles but some are also women who have just finished work and wearing uniform. Its clear these attacks are being carried out by the same man (the descriptions are all near identical) and he is an opportunist. The state of the victim doesn't seem key. The fact she is alone, near an alleyway is. I was devastated to realise that I witnessed the screams of one victim but as the area I live is filled with screaming drunken students (I have been woken between 2-3 am by it many times) I thought nothing of it.

TrillianAstra · 15/05/2011 11:14

If you have a clutch bag you are at a higher risk of getting your purse stolen than if you have a strap across your body.

Youa re not inviting someone to come and steal your money/keys/lipstick (which is all you can fit in those things) but if someone is looking around thinking "I want to steal a bag" yours is easier to grab.

DilysPrice · 15/05/2011 11:15

If your shoes are so unwalkable-in that you will get into a random stranger's car at the end of the evening to get home then yes, that increases your chances of being sexually assaulted. Otherwise no, I think clothes have nothing to do with it.

PlanetEarth · 15/05/2011 11:17

This debate goes on, doesn't it? Certainly clothing choice doesn't make the victim to blame, but more than that I personally don't believe that sexy clothing actually increases the likelihood of sexual assault - but that's just my belief, I'd like to see some actual data collected. Without objective facts we're just left with our opinions (and prejudices).

TidyDancer · 15/05/2011 11:17

That must be horrible to think about Jeremy. :(

As I and others said though, it's not about absolutes. There are different situations and different factors. It could certainly be argued in the case you describe that women should not walk around alone near alleyways, but you'd get people arguing that one, why shouldn't they walk alone, etc? And the argument would be correct, of course they bloody should be able to do these things. But there is such a thing as risk management.

countless · 15/05/2011 11:17

chibi and princeHumperdink have hit the nail on the head IMO

being female is the biggest risk factor and you can't 'rape proof' yourself with clothing

OP posts:
Xales · 15/05/2011 11:18

In Italy a judge ruled years ago that a woman could not have been raped because her jeans could not have been removed without her consent.

In Australia last year a man was acquitted of rape because she couldn't have been sexually assaulted because she was wearing skinny jeans.

By that logic it doesn't matter what you are wearing short skirt, joggers (easier to get off than jeans) or jeans. You obviously consented and deserve it.

LittleWhiteWolf · 15/05/2011 11:19

PrinceHumperdink Sad

As long as society believes rape is a sexually motived crime, rather than a violent crime, there will always be the assumption that some women are lying, too. Because they aren't decreed attractive enough for a man to willingly sleep with, so naturally they must be lying about being raped. So it works both ways: if you are on a night out wearing "provocative clothing", in heels, caked in make up then you were asking for it. If you're wearing jeans and a jumper and are not widely accepted as being attractive (I wouldn't usually hold up a soap like this, but if anyones been following Emmerdale, they are portraying this very well and you'll know what I mean) then you are probably lying.
I've known people who've not been believed for this very reason Sad

I think the reason that rapists tend to be re-offenders speaks volumes about the problems we have with society not understanding rape and what drives rapists. The sheer amount of excuses given to rapists makes me sick and sad.

squeakytoy · 15/05/2011 11:24

The Emmerdale story (very well written I thought too), was not about stranger or opportunist rape though. In that storyline, the rapist mistook friendship for a "come on" and when he was given the brush off, he raped her anyway saying "she had led him on"..

I would imagine that scenario happens in real life and goes unreported sadly too regularly :(

JeremyKylesPetProject · 15/05/2011 11:24

TidyDancer. It was and still is horrible to think about. I suppose my point is that if you have been singled out by an attacker then unless you are psychic there's not much you can do about it. I'm not saying there aren't things you can do to increase your chances of not being attacked (I'm big on personal safety) I just find the idea that people think the victim is even slightly culpable due to her attire abhorrent.

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