Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Not Asked

When C.B. and I first got married we lived in a tiny apt near the Provo River Trail. It was a nice apt and we both felt that it was in a safe part of town.

Then I worked at the court house and heard all about several attack that happened really close to my apt. Like 100 feet or so from my apt door. The attacks were sexually based and women were the targets.

I was a paranoid mess the whole entire time. I never went home alone. I didn't leave my apt after a certain time. I felt like I lived in a prison. I was grateful that we were able to move after C.B. graduated.

Last year, a girl was brutally attacked and raped along the same trail that my old apt was located at. She too lived at the same apt complex that we used to live at and was going to school in BROAD DAYLIGHT. The trail that she was taking is heavily trafficked during the day and I am sure she felt safe on it. She was not dressed provocatively. It was not late at night. She did nothing to put her self in danger.

But here is the thing? What if she was dressed provocatively? What if it was at night? So what? No one ever deserves to be raped. No one ever asks to be raped. Why do we as a society constantly say that woman should take self defense classes, women should be more careful, blah blah blah?? Why are we condoning and tolerating men's violence towards women for so long? It is not OK!

In 2/3 of rapes, the victim usually knows the attacker. They are usually comfortable with the person and feel that they are "safe" with them. Many times, rapes are not reported for that very reason. They tend to blame themselves for the attack. Comments like "I must of led him on" or "he seemed like a creep but I wanted to give him a chance" are often heard. Sexual assaults are NEVER the victims fault.  Any shame that a victim should feel should be the shame that the attacker should feel, not the victim.

Recently,  I learned that a family member of mine was brutally attacked and raped by a man that she knew. He drugged, beat her and tortured her in every way possible. When I heard the news, I was heartbroken and angered by it. She did not deserve what happened to her. She has a long road of recovery ahead of her.

As a society, we need to change the idea of what "normal" is. We shouldn't patronize the victim and say "you should have done this" or "you should have not been there." It is never the victims fault. We need to hold the attackers accountable for their actions. Enough is enough.

5 Grass Lovers:

mollycolleen said...

My good friend Heather has a long post on her blog aimed at men: "How Guys Can Prevent Rape."

"Almost every article we see when it comes to rape prevention is aimed at women – the ones most often getting raped -- not at men, who most often are the ones doing the raping. It’s a bit like if all the warnings we see about driving drunk were aimed at people hit by drunk drivers: 'Don’t ever get in your car: someone else might be drunk!' or 'To prevent your drunk driving death, never leave the house during happy hour: someone might be drinking and driving.' How much sense would that make? If you want to prevent rape, start talking to the rapists, not the victims of rape.

Lucy van Pelt said...

I'm also impressed by Matt Pipkin's project to get victims to speak out. You can see information about it here:

It's so important that we take the shame away from the victims.

Lindsey Walker said...

Can you believe this is all going on where we used to live?? I am freaked out! I can't believe we ever even lived there. Any violence towards someone is not their fault, and I too get angry when they are made to believe in some ways they deserved it. No one ever deserved to be raped.

Mammodouy's Stories said...

Great post, Layla. This is so true. In France, people say all the time that the woman was looking for trouble... of course. Looking for trouble because she went jogging early in the morning... Looking for trouble because she smiled at her neighbor just being friendly. The world hasn't changed much in its narrow-mindedness when it comes to women.
And this is also true that we tend to be extra-careful simply because others are not careful. Everytime we are on the road quite late in Brittany, we are 100% more careful because we know that one of these days, we are bound to meet a drunk driver.
This is really unfair.
Well, good post again! :)

Natalie | Make Today Great said...

This is why I am in activism. Because I believe this whole heartedly.

Rape is a crime, just like robbing a store is a crime. The store doesn't ask to be robbed. The store doesn't open for the day thinking "please rob me."

Just because the evidence is on the body, doesn't mean that the victim asked for it!