She’s ‘a misogynist prick’, ‘a repugnant human being’, ‘disgusting’ , ‘a fucking twatting bellend’ Someone who doesn’t ‘deserve to call yourself a woman’…
Amidst this out-pouring towards Chrissie Hynde for her comments on rape, lets not forget that she is a victim being blamed for #victimblaming. The irony of this is pitiful.
We’d like to say; Stop blaming the victim (even if she does blame herself) and stop contributing to the online shaming of women.
For decades, girls were taught;
- not to wear the short skirt ‘because you’ll get raped’
- not to get drunk ‘because you’ll get raped’
- not to walk alone ‘because you’ll get raped’
…along with a whole lot of other restrictive behaviour that has been forced onto women.
Totally wrong angle, but it was advice based on giving girls protection because society didn’t just fail at that, but actually served up a whole lot of reinforcing messages; That women who were alone, drunk or dressed a certain way were ‘asking for it’. And the law backed that up.
Whilst Twitter goes mad, lets not forget that 75% of women still don’t report rape or sexual assault, often because of the legacy of these attitudes, which in many a law court are STILL backed up.
We’re going to blame women for internalising these messages, are we?
Isn’t that on par with blaming women for their own rape?
Whilst Chissie Hydnes comments have been relegated as out-dated, the difference in rape-culture, between the 70’s and just a few years ago, is not so poles apart…
Rape is a crime. 85,000 women survive that crime every year in the UK. The vast majority of rapists are not ‘unhinged’ strangers, but partners, friends or family members.
Telling women how to behave ‘in case they get raped’ certainly IS victim-blaming; No woman’s dress or behaviour contributes in any way to her sexual assault.
Navigating the ideological against the actual is a not an easy road.
Would we want to walk into a bar, alone and in our underwear, to test whether our right to be free from abuse whatever we wear, stands the test there? Now, that’s a different story…
Of course we need to teach girls they can go anywhere and do anything; To counteract all the movies & TV shows that depict every victim as female, by giving girls the confidence to be fearless. But also to be savvy and safe.
Consent is at the very core this issue. But who wants to test if the concept of consent has actually got through, despite millennia of messages, both overt and subliminal, about women’s sexual availability to men?
Many rapes are not reported because women feel they didn’t ‘fight enough’ And unless they seek help, they’ll often lead their lives blaming themselves, because they froze.
Not until EVERY child is taught consent from an early age – and not just no-means-no convo, we will see a generation who grasps EVERY possible angle of consent given, from explict to subtle, from vocal to body language.
In the meantime, it’s a fine balance between keeping as safe as we can be, without internalising, projecting or reinforcing victim-blaming.