Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Musing on Body :: What Does Rape Look Like?

It's gender based violence awareness month and I've had a lot on my mind in that regard lately... I found myself revisited something i wrote a while back. Tell me what you think?

"It is the inalienable right of every woman to decide if she will, with whom she will, when she will, where she will and under what circumstances she will have sexual intercourse, and any man who takes that right from her does so at his own peril."
--Velma Hylton, former director of Public Prosecutions,
Mahabir, C. (1996). Rape prosecution, culture, and inequality in postcolonial Grenada. Feminist Studies, 22(1), 89.

Since I read this post i admit i found myself...brooding?
It made me really reflect because i know that i am one of those people who takes 'right' to be 'common sense' which I'm learning is an unfair expectation.

Suddenly something scary happened....I had a conversation with one of the treasured people in my life about an incident and as we discussed i realized that the idea of being considered a woman who 'looked for it' is more dangerous than is often realized.

I turned it all over in my head...over and over thinking about my friends who dress in way more revealing wear than i would dare.

Are they asking to be raped?

Does the way a woman is dressed, the message that her clothes send, is that justifiable reason to violate her?

The post i read talks about how her teachers gave her a false sense of security by letting her know she was "safe'' as long as she didn't 'look for it'
When i was a pre teen i had a teacher explain it to me in a different way.

I remember she said something along the lines of, if you're dressed like a nurse you can't be upset when someone asks you for medical help, if you're dressed like a prostitute you can't be upset when someone approaches you for sex.

Everyone has their own standards and their own comfort zone.

I am one of those who will raise an eyebrow at you if you get royally pissed off at a man who is staring at your breasts when they are already half way falling out of your shirt. Now to be fair, I openly admit, if i see a man with his junk very apparent, i will stare, heck even if he is shirtless it's likely i will stare. What can i say? I'm kind of upfront like that, My thinking is, don't you have it, whatever it is, on display? What was your intention? Wasn't it to be admired?
Are you upset that some people admire more openly than others?

Lets be honest, most of us are guilty of wanting people to secretly admire our bodies, to catch them but only slightly so that we can feed our egos and know that they want to look but can't, dare not, are intimidated by the prospect of wanting what they can't have. However, when someone is opening  not confirming to this, it makes on feel intimidated...why aren't they shy? How can they stare and objectify my body so openly without shame? It makes one feel like the power of your own good looks is snatched away by their unabashed stare.

Nobody likes to feel powerless.

So, granted i am NOT saying it's right to openly gawk at another human being, i am however of the thinking that one should be aware of the message their body is sending to the world and decide whether this is a message they are comfortable with.

I have come to the conclusion that the main problem between the sexes is communication. What one side seeks to communicate is not what is actually being communicated and if the message is wrongly interpreted that communication was, in fact, unsuccessful  (English majors where you at!?)

So you see, that's just it, i can clearly understand one staring if breasts are saying, 'here i am! look at me! I am boobie, watch me jiggle!'


So what does a potential rape victim look like?

How does one dress like a potential rape victim? Are all women who are raped dressed in mini skirts and tube tops? You see...if they are not, one might argue that that logic of dressed to attain a certain reaction is a bit flawed no?

Tell me, how does a woman dress to give up her right to consent? How does one go from 'look at me!' to 'Please take away my right to refuse!' Where does she go, what does she do that forfeits the right she has to say what happens to her body? What gives any human being the right to decided for another human being what is done to and with their body, at any age, in any situation in life?

Is she the woman that has sexual desires like any man? Who enters into heavy petting with her partner and changes her mind? This woman is then a tease? A whore?

Does this woman then foresight her right to say no?

It troubles me deeply...

To think that somewhere out there my student, my daughter, my friend is thinking:

I have no right to complain. I can not tell anybody because i had no right to be with him, alone, in that empty house, in that locked car, in that abandoned location. I had no right to go that far and change my mind. I deserve to have had my decision stolen from me. My mother, my church, my teacher will not understand. Instead, they will all blame me for putting myself in the position to be taken advantage of.

Is this what is okay to teach? That you can go into a store, try on all the clothes and walk out not having bought anything. However, when it comes to something as personal as your body...you have no right to change your mind???

It scares me that a mentally of someone's rights come before yours when choosing your sexual partner because you? obviously don't deserve to decide is being so lightly circulated. Because , after all, how dare you think another human being is separated from animals by the ability to process knowledge, to learn that primal instinct, is not responsible for decision making in life. That one person has the right to take from another what they want because if they want it bad enough? They deserve to have it protest or no protest.

It troubles me...

That because of thoughtless words and ignorance, there are victims out there, male as well as female, who are afraid to break the silence... and predators who live in the safety of that shadow of ignorance and the self doubt of their victims.

 Even more scary is that sometimes these muted victims are sitting in classes and buses next to us....their justice taken away from them not by their assailant so much as their society.

Peace. Love . Self Educate!

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  1. I ain't gonna sugarcoat this: Just because a woman wants to look sexy, doesn't mean that she wants a man to force his penis inside of her. I think it's disgusting that anyone believes this to be true.

    What happened to you is not your fault. What's happened to me (more than once) was not my fault.

  2. I'm not just disgusted i am fearful and shocked. It really scares me that this opinion not just exists but exists in such a HIGH number of people. What's worse, in a high number of women who have actually been taught to believe that there is a 'cookie cutter' victim look!

    Also, you are so many types of amazing and awesome with your ability to not just bounce back but educate and encourage others. Inspirational if nothing else!

  3. I don't think there is a look for someone to be raped or has been raped. It can and does happen to all kinds of people. I was raped and this was someone who was meant to be a friend. I wasn't dressed in anything revealing or act in any way that would have led him to believe I liked him in any way. I said no and that was ignored and I think many women say no and it's ignored. No matter what a woman has on, her body and space belong to her and unless she says yes, it remains off limits. And if she changes her mind, that has to be respected too. Sadly, there are some sick people in the world that prey and get off on this stuff and look for any excuse (in their head) to do what they want to do. But, a person's space and body should always be respected no matter what!! This was a great post, thanks so much for coming to my blog as well! Have a great day doll xx


  4. Thank you for your thought provoking input to this on this topic i'm glad you enjoyed it!
    I'm glad people could weigh in on this, it's a concept that has been nothing me for some time and I'm glad that fellow bloggers could have a say too!''

    Just serves as a reminder that it's important to keep talking about some things until they are fixed.

  5. I think a woman should be able to walk down the street naked and not get attacked. Men should be able to control themselves! It really angers me that women get blamed still and a lot of the time other women blame women too...grrr
    I know my mother in law once said to me well if a girl goes out with a skirt on that leaves nothing to the imagination than she actually 'is asking for it'! I was so mad when she said this...its utter rubbish.
    Great post
    Take care x

  6. Thanks Brunette! Thanks for your bold reply and for reading :)


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