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Campaign reaction

Crime Prevention

I wholeheartedly agree that no woman ever asks to be raped. But it's about taking precautions and being safe.

No one asks to be mugged or robbed either, but there are ways to prevent this by not being in certain situations or by not acting like a victim (walking with head down, unaware of surroundings, etc.)

No one asks to kill someone while driving drunk either, but when you put the elements together, it might just happen.

No one asks for their car to be broken into, but if you leave your laptop computer and your iPod sitting out in the open, you dramatically increase your chances.

You can't control the rapists, you can only control yourself. If you took two individuals and said that a rapist is on the prowl tonight, guess which one of these women will be the victim, I bet most people will pick the girl in the provocative outfit over the one in plain clothes.

Again, I wholeheartedly agree no one ever asks to be raped. But no one asks to be mugged, robbed or burglarized either and we teach people how NOT to be a victim of those crimes.

So while you'll never hear me blame the victim, you'll also hear me teach my daughter why she shouldn't dress too provocatively as a precaution.

Author: Sander, Male, Kansas, USA
Date: 03/07/2010

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Replies to this post

Sander, i wonder what precautions you think might work for us? You do realise that women and girls are raped and abused no matter what we wear, no matter where we go - and often when we don't go anywhere and are at home. Do the same rules apply for men who are raped (most often by other men), or for children who are raped?

And what is it you think happens when we dress 'provocatively'? Do men suddenly turn into savage beasts unable to control their urges? If that is the case then I think the answer might be that we introduce some prevention strategies specifically targeting men. Should we have a curfew, for instance, and stop them roaming around after dark? Maybe there should be an electric shock system in place for those times when the urges threaten to get overwhelming?

Author: sigh, Female, scotland
Date: 03/07/2010

You as a man are clearly not aware that we as women are damned if we do, damned if we don't. Are you aware that plenty of women are sexually harassed and raped by men while wearing conservative clothing, showing no cleavage, not showing their legs? Are you aware that women in Muslim countries, fully covered in Burkas are beaten and raped every day? I'm so sick and tired of being told not to dress "provocatively" as a way of preventing a rape from happening to me. I have never been raped but I have been sexually harassed, including stalking, when dressing very conservatively. You have no idea how frustrating this is for women.

How often do people tell you as a man to change how you dress? Do you walk around without your shirt on on a hot summer day, half naked? Many men do and this is not considered "provocative." No one tells you that you should keep your shirt on while walking outside to avoid being raped by women. No one accuses men of being provocative walking around with their shirt off. It's part of your male privilege that you get to do that, but if I dare wear a short skirt or a low-cut shirt, even when it's nearly 100 degrees out, I am now subject to being blamed for being harassed and raped. Must be nice to be the beneficiary of the double standard, benefitting MEN.

The bottom line is it doesn't matter what women wear. Women's conservative dress in not a rape deterrent. Of course, people like you are always going to buy into the myth that if women dress differently, you can control the vile behavior of men. That's because you don't walk in the shoes of women. Well, I've been on the receiving end threatening behavior from men too many times dressed in nothing that attractive or sexy to buy into this crap. I know better. Why don't you tell your daughter that no matter what she wears, some violent, aggressive male who hates women may target her for rape? Because that's the truth and she'll have to face that whether you do or not.

I find it interesting that I never hear men say more laws should be enacted to protect women in public. I never hear men say that education on how to treat women should begin with little boys. It's always women who are held responsible for preventing being raped, against men who are stronger and may be armed. We're always being told what to do while men are told nothing.

And as far as being "provocative," that is a highly subjective term. Just about anything about a woman can be seen as provocative by a man inclined to perceive women in a certain way: pretty blond hair, a nice pair of jeans, pretty makeup-it doesn't even have to be clothing overtly sexual. So once again, as long as men are defining us by their standards, women can't win. In the end, many men have the need to control women and our sexuality because men refuse to take responsibility for controlling themselves. It's not that they can't-they refuse to. If a man knows he's about to lose his job due to harassing women, it's funny how he can suddenly control his behavior. Or if he knows he's about to get his butt kicked by a larger, stronger man, suddenly he's willing to stop harassing a woman. The problem is within MEN, not what women wear. Period.

Author: Frustrated, Female, Colorado, USA
Date: 03/07/2010

In a court of law you would never hear a lawyer say to victim of robbery "what were you wearing?" and then insinuate that because someone was wearing an expensive coat or took out their wallet that they were "asking for it" hence taking away responsibility from the perpetrator and putting it onto the victim. That's the whole point of this campaign - victims of mugging and robbery aren't blamed for what happens to them but woman who have been raped are.

I can't believe that you dared to compare the irresponsibility of drinking alcohol, getting behind the wheel and running someone over with putting on a short skirt and then being raped!!! Jeez - please don't teach that to your daughter because you are just going to encourage the myth that women should be responsible for controlling the sexual "urges" of men.

Plus, the fact that you said a man would choose the woman in the "provocative outfit" to rape (nice choice of words by the way - as if we are deliberately"provoking" a man into being unable to control themselves) is completely ridiculous and untrue! All types of women - regardless of clothing, age, demeanor - are raped all over the world. Therefore we should be able to wear what we want without the fear of being blamed if someone attacks us. And blamed we are.

Author: J, Female, Scotland
Date: 04/07/2010

Women who dress provacatively arent "asking for it". Neither do they "deserve it". This is an obvious excuse that men use to justify raping a woman. Ive heard men say this, and it makes them look stupid but it also disgusts me. Im sure if the situation was reversed and the men that say these things were women they wouldnt say such things. since there is such a high amount of sexual assaults by men today, should we as a society jump to the assumption that anyone who is male is going to a commit a sex crime? because many women could easily make such statements about men. If a father is left alone with his young child and he molests that child, many women could say that children should never be left alone with men (even their own fathers) because if the child is molested it is to be expected since so many men commit sex crimes! if women started making such assumptions, you can imagine how many fathers would lose custody of their own children! or how males that were relatives of children couldnt even take their neices or nephews out for lunch without a female chaperone! if men dont want such things to happen, then they shouldnt say such things about women. saying things like this about a woman is like saying that because someone is black and they go and knock on a white persons door in southern america, that they are asking to get shot. does anyone deserve racism? so why should anyone deserve to be raped? similarly, many men COULD say that any female (no matter what age) who dresses fashiobably and wears makeup is asking to be raped. thirteen and fourteen year old girls dress this way, not because they are looking for male attention but because they are following the media's influence of fashion. yet, i dont hear many fathers say when their young daughters have been raped "yes my daughter deserved this, she wore a pretty dress today and lipstick". women know how men justify rape, so men making such justifications look like idiots. To the men who say that they understand how a woman can be raped by wearing skimpy clothing and how they will teach their daughters to dress appropriately, I understand your concern for your daughters but you are just exacerbating a culture where women must be careful of what they wear, what they say, and really who they are. women who follow these guidelines to prevent rape, are not helping the problem. instead, women are getting less freedom to express themselves and do what they want. instead of putting the blame on women and preventing rape by focusing on what women can do its obvious that the focus should be put on men and why men feel that its okay to rape. but since we live in a male dominated society, i think its also obvious that men arent ready to focus on a problem caused by no one else but themselves.

Author: Kaitlyn Brown, Female, cape cod, massachusetts
Date: 05/07/2010

I agree that nobody, not ever, asks to be raped. However, I do not agree with all the polls that various campaigns put out about all sorts of issues. I would like to know, how many, where when, what age, what social/cultural background took part in this survey from Rape Crisis.
In my 40 odd years of working within social justice in large government and non-government orgs with staff of all ages,, I have not come across a large minority with these views. In my work of over 30 years with young people I have not come across a quarter of that population with these views, even in 'getdown to it' discussions.
I have in the past seen a programme in a certain area of Britain with a small minority of people from different cultures discussing sex and I was alarmed by their prevailing life attitudes which appeared to stem from their lives prior to coming to Britain and also about their 'gang attitude about many things. It was indeed very alarming.. So I do agree that their may be need for strong, robust targeting at the right places and people.

However, during discussions amongs my children, neices and nephews and very large extended family and social networks it is clear that many, many young females wear very skimpy clothes and do not feel threatened at parties and amongst a vast array of friends of both sexes.

My sons who have a large contact network at school, college, uni, part-time jobs, friends cousins and a whole host of others who go to parties, dances, concerts and hang out, say that this survey does not reflect the attitudes that they or ANYBODY they know have.
They say in fact, that it is defaming the character of Scots males. They do not believe the survey and feel that they are all targeted and tarred with the same brush. They will now not believe what Rape Crisis says any more.
This is a shame as Rape Crisis does good work and fought for a place, credibility and now from what I am listening to, has gone back 20 years.

Today, all the males that I have spoken to want an apology and are sick and tired of being grouped as neandrethal rapists. They also feel that only charities who prove their worth, meaningfully, should get funding in this recession.
They have all said that none of them has ever been asked about this issue in any survey thought they have discussed themselves obviously.

I am a feminist with four sons, three feminist sisters with sons. In the law of Rape Crisis averages, at least one of my sons believes 'women ask for it'. At least two of my nephews think 'women ask for it'.
I don't think so.
Just for the record, we are all single mums living in cooncil hooses. Just in case anybody thinks that we are cut off from reality.

I cannot allow this extremist statment to go unchallenged.

Yes education and aspecially the justice system needs to step up to the mark about bringing rapists to justice.

Author: S, Female, Scotland
Date: 05/07/2010

S are you saying that it's only people who are not white scottish/british who have these kinds of attitudes? If so, that's very troubling; particularly if you work within the social justice field.

You just need to look at the comments on this site to see that there are still very much ingrained women blaming attitudes and people continuing to spout rape myths; from all cultures and social classes and levels of society. In my experience of working within social justice and social care, the attitudes are terrifying. In my experience, the attitudes of people around me, of family/friends etc.. can often be the women blaming sort too so my experience sounds vastly different from yours.

No one is targeting your sons or family members as neanderthal rapists, what the campaign is doing is asking people to think about their own attitudes and maybe challenge those of other people too.
And the research quoted by rape crisis scotland is not the only one highlighting these disturbing attitudes, there are countless others in the uk - and around the world - that say the same. Sometimes with higher numbers stating that they think women are somehow to blame - that includes research by amnesty international which I'm sure you'll be able to find if you do a google search.

I don't think men are owed an apology at all, I think men who abhor these attitudes and behaviours have to stand up and be counted - like those involved in White Ribbon for example - and begin to challenge the attitudes and behaviours of the men around them.

Author: bev, Female, scotland
Date: 05/07/2010

Im a 22 year old male and i've literally never encountered this attitude amoungst either the men that i know or the men that i don't. Clearly its out there and I agree any guy who actually thinks this way should be challenged on it at every opportunity. I also think that the only way to treat this is in how boys are raised and educated to stop them thinking this way - once guys think this way they are very difficult to regulate or control.
All the same there is a minor distinction I'd like to make which alot of people seem to be overlooking and I do wonder a little bit if many of these surveys do the same.
Like the one who started this thread got some angry responses from people who seemed to read between the lines and think he was espousing a point that he wasn't actually making. I think theres a huge huge epic gulf of a difference between 'risk,' and 'blame'. Risk being everything he refered to of behaviours and actions which raises the chance of being a victim of a crime. Things you might advise your loved ones not to do to avoid harm and to be safe. However this risk is irrelevant when it comes to placing blame, the responcibility of the crime falls entirely to the criminal irrespective of anything else. Because someone talks about risks and trying to get women to avoid them has nothing to do with who he thinks is responcible and to blame - all that goes to the rapist and none of it to the victim. Risk is something relevant before the crime, blame after. But since alot of guys commonly do refer to risk, it seems to be often concluded they put some kind of responcibility on the women. They really don't and that much is plain by what they say - never the less angry readers infer a more oppressive message between the lines.
I agree crimes, all kinds of crimes, happen to people who took no risks at all - but then again more of those crimes happen to the people that did. And just like with all crimes, its wrong that anyone should need to change their behaviour to minimise risk which is imposed by criminals - but its also unrealistic to genuinely live by that principle.
It seems oppressive to talk about risk because it asks the victim to check themselves to avoid crime where it asks nothing of the one whos actually at fault - the rapist. But then we assume the victim wants to avoid the rapist while the rapist wants to find the victim. We teach respect to the young and have police and security as means to limit the rapist - its not like society tries nothing to combat it where it can.
All the same I totally agree what women wear has little to nothing to do with whether or not they get raped and its a wild minconception to think that it does, When it comes to taking risks I more think of things like being in a bad area alone or being alone and drunk in the town.

Author: E, Male, Scotland
Date: 11/07/2010

Sander: 'So while you'll never hear me blame the victim, you'll also hear me teach my daughter why she shouldn't dress too provocatively as a precaution.'

So your complaint is what? That this campaign is not a different campaign? Start your own "how not to be raped" campaign if you care about it so very much. Who knows, doing the preliminary research for it might even suggest to you why this is not in fact the fantabulous idea you think it is.

E: 'I think theres a huge huge epic gulf of a difference between 'risk,' and 'blame'. Risk being everything he refered to of behaviours and actions which raises the chance of being a victim of a crime. Things you might advise your loved ones not to do to avoid harm and to be safe.'

Yes, but when people immediately start talking about risk in reaction to a campaign against making excuses for rape, it sure looks a lot like "risk" is standing in for "blame".

Also, do you seriously imagine that women are ignorant of the ideas about risk factors etc. that people (mostly men) have been prattling on about on these forums? They hear it all the time--in every news story, every editorial, every informal discussion. The very small part of that that isn't pure rubbish is sheer common sense which, if you thought about it seriously, you'd realise no woman needs telling. So it's not a good idea, if you can help it, to "be in a bad area alone or be alone and drunk in the town"? Who knew!

Author: Nick, Male, Singapore
Date: 12/07/2010

I wasn't preaching risk - I agree most people understand the concept and don't need to be told. Though I fear you missed the point of my post - my immediate message was to suggest how to tackle the problem. Equally I wasn't substituting risk for blame but trying to make the distinction between the two because alot of people seemed to be missing that distinction. It was in response to those mistakes, not the campaign as a whole. When you say what it looks like to you - its in response to those comments. I support the obvious message of the campaign and agree that all blame/responsibility is on the rapist. There just seems to be continued confusion on this distinction with both men and women which causesneedless arguments.

Author: E, Male, Scotland
Date: 15/07/2010

Have your say

“Rape seems to be the only crime where it's seen as ok to put the victim on trial.”

Natasha, Female from Glasgow

“Short skirts don't cause rape. Rapists cause rape”

Joss, Female from Connecticut

“About time something like this was shown on TV. Hopefully it will make everyone realise there cannot be any excuse for rape - EVER.”

Helzo, Female from Renfrewshire