By Katie Wylie:
“What was she wearing?” “Did she say no?” “She was probably asking for it.” In today’s society where misogynistic views are expressed, statements and questions like these are some of the first to be asked in the case of a woman being raped or sexually assaulted.
However, we’re asking all the wrong questions. Why do people think it is okay to assume that a woman is “asking to be raped” based on her clothes or attitude? Why isn’t the abuser forced to take responsibility for his or her actions?
It seems to be much more common to hold the victim accountable than the abuser being held responsible. According to
sexual misconduct studies, victim-blaming is one of the most common elements in rape culture. However, sexual assault is never the victim’s fault. Sexual assault is a violent, unsolicited attack on an individual. For a victim, it is a humiliating and degrading act. No one “asks” for or deserves to be harassed.
It’s not fair that as women we have to dress to certain standards because it may be distracting to men. What I want to know is why doesn’t society put more emphasis on teaching men to respect women and express self-control? Why isn’t anyone teaching men that just because a woman is wearing a short skirt, doesn’t mean she is giving you permission to catcall her on the streets.
The question, “What was she wearing?” needs to disappear, especially in cases of rape and assault. Instead of asking, “What was she wearing?” we should ask, “Is she okay?”