stopviolenceuw

Asking For It

In Uncategorized on September 20, 2011 at 3:15 pm

A lot of conversations surrounding rape myths have been circulating around campus over the past week.  While I disagree with much of what has been said, I want to say before I start that I hope any further conversations do not target particular people, but rather the particular issue.  There is a need for education about sexual violence myths on this campus – and the recent comments have sparked a conversation for these rape myth beliefs.

There are MANY myths surrounding rape and sexual assault.  But for now, I want to focus on the one that says, “S/He Asked For It.”This is not an invitation to rape me

Let me debunk this real quick – no one is EVER “asking for it.”  No one is asking to be raped or sexually assaulted.  Ever.

This PSA from Rape Crisis Scotland offers a mildly humorous portrayal of an age-old saying, “Oh boy, she’s asking for it.” 

Aside from the thick Scottish accents, the scenario is one that is played out time and again all over the world.  The idea that if you dress slutty or you walk alone at night or you drink too much or whatever, then it is your fault that you were assaulted is so deeply ingrained in our culture, that we don’t even think about it when we say it.

Surely, the comment itself, “She’s asking for it” or “If you are afraid of [being assaulted], don’t [do that],” isn’t inherently violent.  By saying this it doesn’t mean that you personally are going to go an assault someone.

But by saying these things, you are perpetuating an idea that victims are in part to blame for their assault.  One blogger wrote, “Sexual violence is treated as an inevitable consequence of certain behaviors, and, when you think about it, that’s a pretty effective way of maintaining social control over women and other disenfranchised groups. 

We’re frequently asked to surrender our rights to even the most basic of human freedoms in order to avoid being victimized. Don’t live in that part of the city, you’ll get raped. Never walk alone at night, you’ll get raped. Don’t talk to strangers, wear revealing clothing, leave your doors or windows unlocked, take drugs, drink in excess, take public transportation, travel alone, or sleep around – because you will get raped. The list of don’ts goes on and on, each rule wildly impractical, blatantly inconsistent with actual statistics related to sexual assault, and specifically crafted to distract us from the culpability of rapists. Why do we have entire dossiers on How to Not Get Raped and no guidelines for How to Not Rape PeopleWe need a cultural revolution.” (See the Original Blog Post)

I couldn’t agree more.

So let’s start here at UW – join the STOP Violence Program and the Women’s Action Network this week for two events that will help to change the conversations we have about sexual violence.

Thursday, Sept. 22: “Let’s Talk About It: Discussion Forum”
7pm, Wyoming Union Center Ballroom

We will be hosting an open discussion about sexual violence on campus where students can come together to discuss your concerns about sexual violence on campus, dispel myths surrounding rape, and talk with professional to get factual information about the topic.

Friday, Sept. 23: Slut Walk
5pm, Simpson Plaza outside of Wyoming Union

Slut Walks began in Toronto, Canada, as an awareness walk that promotes freedom from sexual violence and the importance of consent in sexual relationships.

I hope to see you at both of these events – Because no one deserves to be hurt, no matter what you’re wearing or where you go.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to comment here or send an email to: jarthur2@uwyo.edu

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