SEXUAL ABUSE & VICTIM BLAMING | The Misconceptions

For anybody whose, once normal and everyday life was suddenly shattered by an act of sexual violence– the trauma, the terror, can shatter you long after one horrible attack. It lingers. You don’t know where to go or who to turn to…and people are more suspicious of what you were wearing or what you were drinking as if it’s your fault, not the fault of the person who assaulted you…We still don’t condemn sexual assault as loudly as we should. We make excuses, we look the other way…[Laws] won’t be enough unless we change the culture that allows the assault to happen in the first place.

– President Barack Obama, September 2014

Everybody is responsible for what they do, nobody is responsible for your lack of self-control. If you don’t have self-control, you don’t have it. You cannot control what appears before your eyes, you cannot control what happens around you to some extent but you can control how those things get at you! Your reactions to life can only be governed by you and not by external forces. Let me narrow this down to how we often make victims of sexual abuse of any kind take up the blame for the evil meted out on them.

A rapist is a rapist, nobody turned him or her to a beast, they abuse people simply because they are evil and they are evil because that is the life they have chosen to live. They look at every given opportunity to pounce on the vulnerable and take advantage of them. Why on earth would you think that dressing and “green light” is what makes rapists rape? Does it even make sense? Whether someone was all over you or not, it justifies rape in no way. It doesn’t matter how close someone got to you or how you got charged emotionally and sexually by someone’s presence. We always have a way of blaming the victim rather than condemning evil and bringing the perpetrator to book!

You don’t take ice cream from the hawker without paying for it no matter how inviting it is and no matter how the seller says “should I get you one?” When you take it without paying, you may get a jungle justice! If someone looks inviting, and you must have sex with her, why not man up and tell the person what you want? If they refuse you, then you are only assuming that they were inviting you. I don’t understand how we face victims of abuse and say to them “well, I am sorry that this happened to you. But what were you wearing? Did you ever got close to him in any way?” How about fathers who sexually abused their girls? How about Aunts who abused their younger nephews? How about office bosses who abused their secretary?

No matter how naked a woman walks on the road, even if she walked naked into your room, you are responsible for how you control yourself. If you must have sex, there are lots of people out there willing to give you their body for a small fee! Why not go enjoy yourself with people who are willing than force yourself on someone else? I get very sad when people come up to say things like “but you have been giving him green lights and that is why he raped you.” So, rape can now be justified based on the victims’ closeness right? If we want to address indecency, carelessness and other things, we should straighten up and address it but trying to sound a bit defensive on behalf of rapists makes you just the same thing with those rapists.

It pains me when we make victims feel that they were responsible for the wickedness meted out on them! It’s like saying that rich people are responsible for the robbery or kidnap they experienced simply because they had money and flaunted it. We have made it seem so evil that a sister visited a brother! As much as I always encourage people to be cautious of who they visit and how they visit them since our society has gotten even worse, I can never in no way want to justify rape by any slightest means using how frequent a lady visited a man! Are there not men who raped their wives’ sisters and cousins?

No matter how seductive a woman looked, if you want to satisfy your lust and she willingly gives you her body, it is your business and it doesn’t concern me. But, if you had made the request and she declined you, leave her body alone! There are prettier and more endowed people who are ready to satisfy your lack of self-control. How did we arrive at telling some girls “well, your short skirt made him rape you!”, how did we get to that point of making ladies or rape victims feel they were responsible for the wickedness of another man?

I understand it when we say “don’t visit a man alone so that you can stay on a safer side.” “Put an eye on your children’s relationship with the elder ones because the world isn’t safe anymore…” I understand so well when we encourage people to take cautions but when we start sounding judgmental like “weren’t you the one who has been feeding his lust?” then we are missing the whole thing! That I showed you how much I have in my bank account isn’t a justifiable reason to rob me, that I was walking on the streets with a gold watch isn’t a justifiable reason to cut off my ankle! Yes, I might not have to wear my gold watch to every place because I am being cautious but if I do, I shouldn’t be blamed or made to become responsible for another person’s irresponsibility.

In case you don’t know, the data available has shown that most sexual crimes occurred to victims wearing various kinds of non-revealing outfit including snowsuits! Housemaids, unkempt women and young boys have been sexually abused! No matter how rapists try to use dressing as an excuse, it has never been the reason for their crimes! Don’t try to transfer the responsibility of self-control from the perpetrator to the victim! It is not only wrong, but it is also wickedness on your part. Only people who have been sexually abused before may be able to understand better that dressing isn’t why they were raped! People are raped in their pyjamas, long flowing free gowns, people are being raped in the midnight when they had no appealing makeups!

According to a research by Robert R. Hazelwood, a special agent in Behavioral Science/Research Unit Quantico and Janet Warren, Institute of Psychiatry and Law University of Virginia Charlottesville

“The majority of the sexual attacks (55-61%) committed by these men were premeditated across their first, middle, and last rapes, while fewer rapists reported their crimes as being impulsive (15-22%) or opportunistic (22-24%).”

Most rapists premeditated their actions which has nothing to do with arousal as a result of what they saw! And most sexual abuse victims weren’t abused by strangers but by people who have observed them over time. It could be relatives, neighbours, friends and even leaders! Fewer rapists raped because they found an opportunity to rape. If dressing is why a woman should be raped, why are prostitutes not being raped in their brothels? The relationship between dressing and rape is a myth! While certain dressings may invite unwarranted sexual advances, people who rape don’t rape as a result of dressing and people’s attractiveness have nothing to do with rape most times.

When people say “no” to sexual advancements no matter how they have appeared inviting, they should be left alone! No victim of sexual abuse should be made to feel responsible for another person’s wickedness and lack of self-control. By making rape victims responsible for crimes committed against them, we are building rape-culture and we are absolving sexual abusers and making them feel good about their crimes. Somehow, we are also shutting victims up and we are indirectly saying to them “you caused it, you deserve it!”

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