Nori’s Nuggets (My September newsletter article...advance copy!)
Rape exists, in part, because society continues to support most myths which condone the act itself and place the blame and responsibility upon the victim. These attitudes can be seen in our literature, religions, laws, music, science, advertising, and daily conversation - all aspects of our culture. — from http://www.domesticviolenceservices.com/rapemythsandfacts.html
Sadly, the above assertion is all too true, as was spotlighted on January 24, 2011 in the case of a representative of the Toronto Police who asserted: “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized”.
In a galvanizing response, Slutwalks have been organized in many countries and here in the United States, many cities. I am the co-organizer of such an event that will be held on Sunday, September 18 at 6 pm. While the final route is yet to be determined, I am encouraging as many of you as possible to attend this important event. As the above website notes, it is a myth that women provoke rape by the way they dress; that they ask for it:
Fact: No woman's dress or behavior gives someone the right to sexually assault her. According to the Federal Commission on Crimes of Violence, only 4% of the reported sexual assaults involved any participative behavior by the victim, and most of this consisted of nothing more than dressing or walking in a way that is socially defined as attractive. Even in a situation where a woman is flirtatious or clearly interested in sex, she is not asking for rape. Rape in an attack in which the victim's life is controlled by the attacker. No person asks for or deserves such an assault. A hitchhiker is asking for a ride, not a violent attack. Part of the problem also lies in the interpretation men put on women's behavior. When women are cheerful and friendly, which they have been taught to be, some men interpret this as a "come-on." Again, this myth forms a part of the "good woman's" defense against a sense of vulnerability.
That this myth is being perpetuated in 2011 undermines the sad facts of rape: 90% of group rapes are planned; 58% of single rapes are planned; 75% of all rapes are planned. Also, one important emotional payoff for the rapist is to be in control, not out of control. The primary motive displayed by most convicted rapist is aggression, dominance, and anger, NOT sex. Sex is used as a weapon to inflict violence, humiliation, and conquest on a victim.
Here are more facts from the domestic violence website: Rape is the fastest-growing and most under reported crime. Over "one-third" of all women in this country will be sexually assaulted or abused in their lifetime. An estimated 4-5 out of every 10 of all American children (under 16) are sexually molested. 50% are males. Studies show about 90% of these involve someone the child already knows. Only about 1 in 10 rapes of adults is reported, and fewer assaults of children are reported.
Additionally, although women between the ages of 15 and 25 are at somewhat higher risk of sexual assault than any other age groups, victims of reported rape in this country range from 3 weeks old to 93 years old. Clearly, these fall outside the purview of those “who ask for it.”
Sexual assault of any kind is wrong. It can be particularly shameful for those who work in the sex industry as prostitutes, strippers or exotic dancers. These, too, are innocent victims. A person’s work or dress does not mean anyone asks for rape. I invite you to join me and others in the SlutWalk Colorado Springs on September 18, following our 5 PM First Source service (which will be a service of healing and solidarity for those who have been victims of sexual assault). Together, we can make a difference. In the meantime, I invite you to remember these fool-proof
tips to avoid sexual assault:
Don’t put drugs in people’s drinks in order to control their behavior.
When you see someone walking by themselves, leave them alone.
If you pull over to help someone with car problems, remember not to assault them.
NEVER open an unlocked door or window uninvited.
If you are in an elevator and someone else gets in, don’t assault them.
USE THE BUDDY SYSTEM! If you are not able to stop yourself from assaulting people, ask a friend to stay with you while you are in public.
Always be honest with people! Don’t pretend to be a caring friend in order to gain the trust of someone you want to assault. Consider telling them you plan to assault them. If you don’t communicate your intentions, the other person may take that as a sign that you do not plan to rape them.
Don’t forget: you can’t have sex with someone unless they are awake.
Carry a whistle! If you’re worried you might assault someone “accidentally” you can hand it to the person you’re with so they can blow it if you do.
Don’t assault people!
The reality is this: no one of any gender, sexual orientation, age, race or social status asks for rape, no matter what they’re wearing or where they’re walking. Let’s join together to take a stand in solidarity with victims of rape and say no more to the mindless stereotypes that perpetuate further victimization. Go to http://slutwalksprings.com for more information about this upcoming event and others like it.