Phrases like that are everything but a justification for sexual assault. Personally, I’ve had enough with the way our generation is educated about the topic.
I’ve grown up in a culture that has taught me not to get raped. I’ve been taught to dress modestly, so I don’t draw that kind of attention to myself when I go out. I’ve been taught if I look like a “slut” and I’m sexually assaulted, then I was “asking for it” all along. I’ve been taught that men want to take advantage of me, and it is my job to stop them.
According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) approximately two-thirds of sexual assaults are committed by a non-stranger. The website claims 38 percent of rapists are a friend or acquaintance of the victim, 28 percent are intimate, and 7 percent are relatives.
See, that’s another thing I was never taught. I was always taught that rapists were these horrible people, hiding around dark corners as potential victims walked home alone late at night. There is a drastic need for sexual assault education to be more realistic, especially on college campuses.
I came to Albion at the beginning of my sophomore year. Just like all the first-years, I had to go to the Welcome Weekend speakers. One of the speakers gave a talk on sexual harassment. He told an anecdote about a woman getting too drunk at a party and having sex with a man. In the morning, she said she was too drunk to have legally given consent, though the man did not believe this was the case, especially since he had no idea she was blackout at the time of consent. The speaker then asked the audience who was at fault. A surprising number of people blamed the woman, saying that it was her fault for being blackout, and since she consented, even while heavily under the influence, it was alright.
I understand why many of my peers thought that way. It is what we’ve always been taught. When it comes to sexual assault of a woman by a man, it is because the man couldn’t help himself. Sure, he shouldn’t have done it and it’s wrong, but the woman should have done something more to prevent it from happening. My point is, this way of thinking has to stop.
Case in point: In late 2000, a female condom with teeth was invented as an anit-rape device. The idea behind it is that when a man tries to rape a woman, the condom will latch onto him and he will not be able to get it off. The thing is, this creates a false sense of security for women. Sure, the man won’t be able to rape her for very long and he’ll be easier to try in court, but the fact of the matter is the woman is still raped. No single product can stop rape. That’s why accurate education on the topic is so important; it’s the most combative tool society has against rape. I want to see a system of education that teaches “don’t rape” as well as the realities of rape and sexual assault.
Along with never formally being educated with a “don’t rape” mentality, I have never learned about same-sex rape. The statistics may not be as dramatic, but it still happens. According to RAINN, about one in every 33 American men have experienced attempted or completed sexual assault in their lifetime. Here’s my question: Were some of them “asking for it” too? Were they dressed like “sluts” by showing off too much of their chest? Was it justified because they got too drunk and were “tempting” someone? The double standard our society believes in clearly stands on no logical grounds.
The “don’t get raped” culture we live in might stop one more rape. We should be living in a “don’t rape” culture instead, which instead might stop one more rapist.
Photo courtesy of WikiCommons.