Too often, I get accused of victim blaming, so let me start by saying that no women, no person, deserves to be raped or victimized. Specifically, a women wearing revealing clothing is not “asking for it”.
I do, however, have a problem with the way society and social culture seems to believe that a way a woman dresses doesn’t play a role in potential victimization.
Yes, I am well aware that means that there needs to be more education surrounding consent, but that doesn’t mean we get to discount a value just because we don’t agree with it.
Let’s look at an example; a party, maybe a college party, maybe a sizeable group of young professionals, it doesn’t really matter just a group of people getting together eating, drinking and having a good time.
One woman is sociable and friendly, but wearing leggings and a sweatshirt. She makes it clear that she is just there because her friends dragged her out and she just wants to eat snacks and drink wine.
Another woman, equally as sociable and friendly, is wearing a short dress and flirting with any attractive man that is near her. This woman is sexually assaulted later than evening by one of these men.
Does she deserve it? Absolutely not! Is that guy a huge loser? Hell yes!
But…. did her provocative dress and flirting play a role in the horrible thing that happened. Yes. Undeniably yes.
Perhaps the man that victimized her misinterpreted her intentions. Perhaps her intentions were misinterpreted due to his misogyny. Maybe he is just an asshole. Maybe, just maybe, it was an honest fucking mistake (with horrible, traumatic consequences).
In an ideal world, it wouldn’t matter what a victim was wearing, or how s/he was acting, and even now it is not a mitigating factor – a perpetrator should be be held less accountable because of the way the victim was dressed. But we have to stop pretending that it doesn’t play a role, it does, and it matters.