What Was She Wearing: Rape Stigma
by kblai1 on April 14, 2014 - 7:58pm
Rape has long been a part of world history. In Ancient Rome, rape was referred to as “raptus” meaning violent theft, and this term was applied to both people and property (Jiloha 250). I would like to believe that more than 2,000 years later, we as a society could figure out how to stop assaulting women and men in this way. It is well known that women are the primary victims, but why is this? Are we considered weaker? The lesser gender? Unfit to fight back?
It is a shame that most, if not all college-aged girls and even some younger and older, carry some form of self-defense. Whether it be pepper spray, a knife or a blinding flashlight, these girls grow up knowing that they are at a large risk for being taken advantage of and raped.
I recently heard Jackson Katz speak at Monroe Community College in Rochester, New York and I thought the things he said about rape were so well put. He pointed out that headlines in newspapers always read X Number of women were raped last year, instead of X Number of men raped women last year, as though the women just ‘got themselves raped’. There is always someone to blame in any criminal act, and unfortunately the victims in rape typically have to take that burden on their shoulders. This can add on to the psychological and emotion strain these victims are already experiencing (Jiloha 254).
In court, questions arise such as: “Well what was she wearing?” “Was she drunk?” “Why was she walking in that unsafe area late at night?” They expect an answer to these questions, as though knowing that she was a little tipsy makes it completely her fault. I strongly disagree with this stigma in our society. The rapist should hold all of the blame for not being able to control his or her hormones. It is not the victims fault that the rapist practically kidnapped him or her and then proceeded to rape them against their will.
Women should have peace at mind no matter what they are wearing or where they’re walking. I should be able to have a few drinks with my friends without having the thought in the back of my mind that someone might take advantage of that and rape me, simply for being a woman.
Jiloha, R. C. (2013). Rape: Legal issues in mental health perspective. Indian Journal Of Psychiatry, 55(3), 250-255. doi:10.4103/0019-5545.117141