The Short Skirt Card: Victim Blaming

A WEALTHY MAN LEAVES the opera theatre.  As he strides leisurely down a dark path, he is mugged at gunpoint.  From this point, he’s relieved of his jewelry, and his wallet, and the keys to his SL550 Mercedes Benz.  Now, what if there was a culture that existed that vehemently suggests that this fellow “begged for it” due to “how he was dressed”, and what he was wearing?  What if, there was a culture that added that he shouldn’t have been where he was, because those who go to such places are “asking” for muggings?  What if there was a culture — the prominent, dominant culture of our nation — primarily held the sentiment that he “deserved it”?

Now at this point you may think that this is insanity.  You may call this madness. Absurd. Unfortunately this is the reality that women face in America.  If the crime of rape were to be inflicted upon women, they are more or less, blamed for facilitating the crime.  This article is about rape, and the male privilege that allows us to neglect the reality of the situation.

It is not a moot point that sexism parallels racism.  Both marginalizes a group that are who they are based on birth.  Both assumes acceptable targeting, including cultural disdain, on top of victim blaming as an after effect.  And ultimately, both concerns a specific privilege and denial of issue that help perpetuate the infliction of such upon people.  So it is not a coincidence that sexism and racism overlaps in Equal Opportunity training and education, from being analogous to each other to sharing the same remedy of awareness, respect and basic human decency.

Rape is a crime of a level of sociological power transfer.  It only involves sex through the means at which it is perpetrated.  In a class of students who think rape is sexually driven I often point out the fact that the youngest rape victims are at infant and the oldest has no bounds.  After those facts, they tend to get the point.

Don’t let Beyonce lie to you — Men rule the world. I hate to shatter everyone’s fantasies but this society of ours is drenched in male privilege, and it’s about time that we actually analyze what we are doing with it. Much like the answer to racism, we must begin respecting the opposite sex, and honestly stop the victim blaming. Because like I illustrated earlier, there’s no way in the world that we would argue that that rich man deserved to get his things violently stolen. And even if one were to attempt to, there’s no way society would ratify that flawed argument into the common stat quo.

So this one goes out to sexual harassment, sexual assault, rape, and the culture that allows it: Stop Pulling the Short Skirt Card.

 Photo Credit: Johnny Silvercloud
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