feminism Personal

Consent is not grey-scale: it is black and white.

It has become depressingly normal for women to face scrutiny after falling victim to a crime. It has become mundane for women to be taught by parents, with the best intentions, to ensure that in order for men to behave we must send out the correct signals.

And victim blaming needs to be blacklisted.

As a society, we are victim blamer’s. I think we can all fall foul to this monstrosity. It can be trivial things like asking a woman who has had her arse slapped if her jeans were tight, a man who has been hit if he was ‘asking for it’ by getting cheeky, women and men who are different that if they just tried harder to ‘fit in’ they may not feel quite as outcast. As victim blamer’s we take it to the extreme of telling women who’ve sent nude photographs that it was their fault because they sent them rather than punishing those who share them publicly.

Image result for consent
Consent: photo free to use.

How do the words victim and blame even come into the same phrase? Why are, women in particular, taught to ‘cover up’ and not walk alone at night because we could find ourselves in a dangerous situation. Should society not be teaching not to rape rather than how to make yourself less of a target? Does this not make you sick? It should. Rape statistics DO NOT rise during the summer when women are wearing less and staying out longer, the only thing that does rise are the judgements from those who are less educated. As individuals, our actions and decisions should not be altered by how others may or may not react to us.

You feel confident in that short skirt because it looks cute and you’re confident about your legs? Wear the skirt and smile. Is it a woman’s fault that her body is sexually objectified, NO. I know some readers may feel that dressing in a way seen as ‘provocative’ is asking for ‘it’. However, women’s bodies are just that – a body. Why should a breast be more sexual that an elbow? Because porn told you it is? Breasts are made to produce milk and legs are on the female form to be able to walk.

Image result for victim blaming
Photo free to use.

It has become depressingly normal for women to face scrutiny after falling victim to a crime. It has become mundane for women to be taught by parents, with the best intentions, to ensure that in order for men to behave we must send out the correct signals. These regulations drilled into us from a young age of how to portray ourselves just feed the cycle of victim blaming.

 

Image result for brock turner
Brock Turner. (photo free to use)

Uproar was sparked when Brock Turner was convicted of sexually assaulting a woman behind a dumpster. Does anyone else remember the key terms that kept coming up in articles? ‘Stanford’ ‘intoxicated woman’ and ‘frat party’. The trial involved questions such as: ‘How much do you usually drink? What were you wearing? Does she have a history of cheating?’ Does it matter? Are we insinuating that the more parties she goes to and shots she downs minimises her victim status? How come this is a status to be earned? Why does it matter so much that he was a Stanford man? Maybe this article opens more questions than it does provide answers. All I know, and what we should know, is that no actions warrant rape.

I am not unaware of the significant feminist movements that have liberated women over recent decades, I’m aware how far we have progressed and that female oppression is becoming a thing of the past. However, it isn’t quite past yet. It’s jarring that as a society women are still deemed responsible for the actions men chose to make.

Maybe societies trivialisation of assault is to blame. Maybe how often these incidents occur normalises the gravity of situations and people fail to realise just how wrong it is because it happens all the time. According to Rape Crisis, 85,000 women are raped in England and Wales every year. Let that sink in. 85,000 women: mothers, daughters, virgins, twenty-year old party girls and fourteen year olds still in sex education. 400,000 women are sexually assaulted each year and only 15% report the incidents to the police. Why? Fear of judgement, embarrassment, normalisation and fear of victim blaming. The Office for National Statistics recognises this trend and reports that one quarter of people believe that women are at least partly to blame if they have consumed alcohol. So, if I don’t want to be raped then I can’t have a shot on a night out? Shall I not send provocative photos that make me feel liberated in the fear that a male may then violate my body by sending it to his friends for lad points? Does this also apply to other crimes? Should we not buy fancy cars in fear that we’re asking to be robbed? What if I’ve been married to my partner for twenty years and my rape is labelled a miscommunication because I’ve consented hundreds of times before? Or is that not how it works? How does it work? Is rape not simply non-consensual sex? Apparently not.

Victim blaming is a cancerous poison within society giving permission to alleviate blame from those who are in the wrong and blur the lines of consent for females. Blame should not fall on the victim but on the perpetrator and society who feel that the behaviour was in some way warranted. Consent is not only viable in certain situations, consent is black and white.

 

 

 

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