Wear a skirt, get arrested.

26 Dec

Wearing a revealing clothing is now a crime in Swaziland. Correction, it’s been a crime since 1889, but the country just started enforcing this law against “immorality” more stringently. The reason? To prevent rape.

Classic victim blaming. Unfortunately it’s a sentiment that’s pretty widespread. The idea is that when a woman gets raped, she is somehow complicit in her rape. She encouraged the rape by inflaming the passions of the man who then couldn’t control himself and so he raped her. Had she not inflamed his passion she would not have been raped. Ergo, it’s her fault.

This view of rape is pretty degrading to both sexes. One, it assumes that men are savage beasts without the higher functions like self control and responsibility; secondly, it places the fault of the rape on the victim rather than the person actually perpetrating the rape.

The “logic” here is so ass backwards it’s astounding. I can’t really think of a way to explain to people who think like this. No matter what, a victim is never asking to be victimized or deserves it. “But if you play with fire you have to accept the responsibility that you’ll get burned” is usually how their response goes. Fire is not a sentient, self aware being capable of making a choice not to victimize another person. The responsibility not to rape is solely the responsibility of the would be rapist.

Proponents of this law weakly offer up the excuse that it is easier to rape people wearing skirts then it is to rape people wearing more clothing. This is absurd. The amount of clothing is trivial. If someone wants to rape another person, the fact that the victim has on slightly more clothing isn’t going to make a difference.

I believe much of this line of thinking stems from viewing women as something slightly less than human, as a form of property. When a woman is a thing you posses  rape no longer becomes a brutal crime against another human being, but rather a crime of vandalism against your possessions.

4 Responses to “Wear a skirt, get arrested.”

  1. James Smith December 26, 2012 at 2:38 pm #

    By that “logic,” it’s the fault of banks when they get robbed. After all, they keep all that cash there and they know how attractive that is to bank robbers.

    FWIW, women were regarded as property even in western societies until the 20th Century. When a woman married, all of her property became her husband’s. In some societies, that is still true. It’s the reason for the custom of dowries, too. Girls were worthless so the father literally had to pay someone to get rid of them.

    Things have changed very little and not so long ago, either.

  2. Angela December 26, 2012 at 5:35 pm #

    So true. There’s a very clear link between societies that treat women like property and incidences of rape. Since it’s been in the news so much lately, India is a great example.

  3. Aurini February 1, 2013 at 10:15 pm #

    If I go to a party in the ghetto wearing a gold rolex and brag about my wealth, then proceed to get blackout drunk and pass out on the floor… am I to blame for the rolex being stolen?

    Of course not, but if I’d exercised greater responsibility it never would have been stolen.

    I’m not defending a backwards law in a backwards country, but “blaming the victim” is often an excuse used to ignore perfectly rational advice aimed at keeping women safe: IE – “Don’t get blackout drunk around a bunch of blackout drunk freshmen, when you’re dressed in revealing clothing and you’ve been sexually teasing them all night.” It’s just common sense, yet the feminists scream that you hate women when you say that… even though I’m trying to help girls avoid getting raped.

    • slrman February 2, 2013 at 6:16 am #

      I agree. As you indicate, it’s a fine line between being recommending responsible and rational in your behavior and being a exist pig. Unfortunately, no matter on which side of that line you place yourself, there are those that will attack you for it.

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