4 May 2007

Asking For It?

I live in a small village which is about 40 minutes away from a smaller than average sized town. Last night a girl was walking home from a night out in this town & was raped, it's fairly shocked the local area because it is a quiet area but it is getting worse crimewise, like everywhere I suppose. I don't know the ins & outs of what happened to this girl apart from what's been put out on the local radio news so I won't comment on it because as I said, I don't know enough about it. What I will comment on & post about though is whether women 'ask' to be raped in certain cases.
Im 21, I love going out on the town with friends, I love wearing the latest fashions, be that short skirts, tight jeans & boots, clingy tops or corsets. I consider that to be reasonable, I don't go out looking like Ive just walked out of a glamour magazine or as though Im touting for business, I go out dressed fashionably & yes, sexy because I like to feel good about myself, but there are limits, I would never wear a skirt so short it showed the world & it's wife my delicates nor would I wear a top so barely there it was more of a bra than a top, there is a difference between dressing sexily & dressing downright slutty (& my mum would kill me if I ever did!)
If a girl goes out dressed in an extremely low cut backless top with no bra teamed with a bum baring skirt with only a thong underneath (or nothing, & yes I have seen a girl wearing the 'nothing', not a pretty sight) & stiletto boots then ok, she will obviously attract male attention & it certainly isn't my taste in clothes but I don' think she is 'asking for it'. If that girl then proceeds to go into a club or bar, start chatting to a particular man or a handful of men, start flirting, gradually getting heavier & heavier, she then allows him to buy her drinks, dances provocatively with him, kisses him, lets her hands roam all over his body & his all over hers, gives him the come on & gives the impression that the end result will be them sharing a bed at the end of the night. If she has been doing this say, for the past 4 hours that is alot of build up & alot of sexual tension. If she then, when it comes to hometime, says thanks but no thanks & then starts to walk home alone, obviously drunk then is she helping herself? She's walking home & all of a sudden there's the man she was dancing with back at the club, she smiles & asks what he's doing here, can't he get enough of her?! She carries on walking, stumbling every now & then, her top lower than it started out & her skirt higher than it started out, revealing more than she'd planned but hey, if you've got it flaunt she always says. She notices the man by her side again, except this time he's not so friendly, more pushy & she's not feeling so confident anymore so she starts to try & walk faster, then he grabs her, drags her down a side street & asks her is that how she gets her kicks? By teasing men then saying no? Well not this time he tells her, she's going to get what she asked for & tough. It doesnt take alot for him to force her legs apart with his knee, rip her thong off & unzip himself, he pins her against the cold rough wall with one hand holding a knife to her throat, telling her if she dare make a movement or sound it will be the last she ever makes, the other rips her top off, he then rapes her. When he's finished he pushes her to the ground & walks away, leaving her confused & panicked, in tears, completely shaken up & distraught. she gets up after a little bit, disorientated, confused & extremely distressed, feeling a mess because of the amount she's drank & realising in her alcohol addled brain she's just been raped but barely being able to remember what the man looked like, she sits there, finally struggling to her feet & holding her top together, stumbling towards the main street crying hysterically & screaming for help, saying to a passing couple through sobs & slurs that she's been raped, call the police, she wonders how this could have happened & wishes she'd never come out tonight, all she wants is to be at home curled up in bed safe & warm. As she's waiting for the police, the couple sat with her, all she can do is sob & try to make sense of what has happened, try to remember him, wondering why it happened.
Compare that to another situation. A woman is working late at the office, she is stressed due to working on a long & hard project & tonight is the finishing touches, she feels relieved but proud of her work. She thinks of her colleague & smiles, he's such a nice guy, friendly, helpful & a giggle too, she wonders to herself why he's single but has only ever thought of him as a friend personally & he knows that too, they laugh, chat & banter but they both know it will be nothing more than friends & work colleagues. Coincedentally he's working late that night too & noticing she is getting ready to leave asks if she fancies a drink at the pub across the road? She agree's, after all she's worked hard enough & it would be nice to just sit back with a glass of wine & unwind in some good company.
They make their way to the pub & end up staying for a few hours, until closing in fact, just talking, talking about work, colleagues & nothing in particular, using the time to wind down from work & look forward to the weekend. Last orders are called & they decide to call it a night, she gathers her coat & bag & prepares to call a taxi because although home isn't that far away she'd prefer not to take the risk at this time of night, alone & having had a drink or two. Her colleague then offers to walk her home, it isn't that far out of his way & he can catch the bus not far from her street, she thinks & decides yes, that makes sense, saves her a taxi fare & after all, she knows him, they're friends so where is the harm? They leave, he walks her to her door & after unlocking the front door & preparing to go inside she says goodnight & thank you. She goes to peck him on the cheek but he grabs her, forcing her inside, she is panicking now, asking what he's doing, why has he forced his way inside her home? He replies, saying she has been giving him the come on for months & its about time the teasing little bitch gave him what she's been promising him all these weeks, she protests, starts to really get scared realising what is about to happen, tries to reason with him, talk to him but he's having none of it, he pushes her down onto the floor & rips her clothes away from her, he then rapes her. She tries to scream but no noise will come, she wonders if this is really happening to her? Feeling the pain, the weight of his body, his breath against her ear, hears his grunts, feels the tight grip of his hands pinning her arms down, notices his aftershave, familiar somehow but not, not in these surroundings & this situation. He finishes, tells her he enjoyed their evening & he will see her next week. He lets himself out as she sits there, in the cold & dark wondering did she lead him on? Did she give out mixed signals? Is it her fault she is now in this situation? Realising she must call the police but feeling desperately ashamed & somehow responsible, guilty even, all she wants to do is scrub him off her, wash his smell away, his touch, wash HIM away but realising in her numb state she musn't, she needs to wait until she has seen the police, called them & reported him. Feeling sick to her stomach that somehow, surely she could have prevented this?

Both of these situations are different but the end result was the same, both women were forced to have sex, raped. But did either of them ask for it? Lead the man on? Send out the wrong signals? In the first situation I don't think she helped herself & I believe she is partially to blame, you cannot go out dressed like that, do what she did & then walk home alone expecting to be safe, maybe she should expect that & in a perfect world she would get that but this isn't a perfect world, there are men out there who won't take no for an answer, especially after the way she behaved.
The second situation? I don't believe she did ask for it, I go out for drinks after work with colleagues & I have done so, in a group but also alone with a male colleague, I know we are just work mates & friends. I don't give out anything that would signal anymore than that.
The word no should ALWAYS mean no, whatever the situation & however the woman is dressed/coming across, at the end of the day it is her choice as to whether or not she chooses to have sex. But do some women really help themselves? In some cases it isn't black & white & I believe that sometimes the woman is partially to blame, not wholly, partially. It takes two sometimes & I do wonder, if some women hadn't sent out the wrong signals or dressed to the point where they are showing their arse cheeks & worse whether they would have ended up being raped. I've seen girls dressed like that & I truly & honestly do not believe they are helping themselves & it is only a matter of time before they get into trouble.
Im not saying I'm lily white here because im not, I'm naturally cheeky & naturally flirty but I do always make it clear that it is only banter, either by mentioning that I have a boyfriend & am just one of lifes natural flirts & a bit cheeky or by putting a stop to things & backing off if it even hints at the man thinking he will be getting anything more out of me than just a laugh & a giggle, I also mak it clear & tell him bluntly that it is only a laugh & it won't lead to anything else, now or any other time. I also don't & wouldn't do anything physically unless I intended to follow it through, I believe that that is where the lines get blurred & where it can very easily & very quickly lead to a bad situation. I never walk home alone, I'll either get back home via a taxi or walk home in a group & becuase I generally always go out in a mixed group the men always make sure the girls get home safely before they get themselves home. I have the numbers of 3 taxi companies in my phone & if I know it's likely to be busy I'll book one in advance or stay at a friends. 1 of the numbers is for a female only cab company for when I'm in London & if they aren't available I always make sure I get a black cab, never a kerbncrawler. I realise it isn't that easy for everyone & that I'm lucky in quite a few respects but why do girls find it so hard to protect themselves by just taking the obvious precautions? By not walking home alone, not being a complete tease, not coming onto every man in her sight then backing off when the crunch time comes, not being completely irresponsible, drinking too much, or when something horrific does happen through her being a tease or being completely irresponsible, expecting other people to pick up the peices afterwards & blaming it entirely on the man. And don't even get me started on false accusations as that is a whole other story!
I hope to God I'm never unlucky enough to have to go to the police & say I've been raped, I know that it can happen to anyone in any situation & from anywhere but I truly believe that sometimes, with a bit of thought & a bit of responsibility & common sense, it could have been prevented. And I know I've used probably the most common scenarios above because there are multitudes of reasons & situations in which rape happens but without going into too great a detail they were the easiest to use & the most simple to get my point across. I hope I've made sense & I'm aware that some may find my words too harsh but it is what I believe & it is my personal opinion, I also think I can comment on this as I am a young female & I do go out on the town, as mentioned at the start.

It's just something I've always thought about & been aware of, especially recently & as I've got older which is why I thought I'd post about it :o)


dickiebo said...

I think that most people feel that there are rapes and rapes. A genuine rape is, of course, abhorrent, and I would not want to even suggest anything to the contrary. However, now in these days of true 'equality', I feel that the 'liberated' woman acts as such, but when things go wrong, they want to revert back to being a female. If you know what I mean.

GirlNextDoor said...

That's more or less the point I was trying to make Dickiebo, that the blame doesn't always rest entirely with the man, Im not saying thats always the case but in certain situations it does strike me as the woman being partially responsible. As you say, a genuine rape, as opposed to a false accusation or a prostitute not being paid then crying rape is absolutely & completely abhorrent & is, I think, the worst trauma a woman can go through. No should always mean no but I do think women need to take responsibility for themselves at times rather than thinking 'it won't happen to me' or winding a man up to breaking point then walking away, the expression 'playing with fire' comes to mind. Then of course, the false accusations & blurred lines etc of some situations then make it so much harder for the genuine victims to come forward which I think is a very wrong & tragic situation.

dickiebo said...

Another point, if I may; the victim in the 'genuine' cases, is usually the last type of person who could withstand a courtroom grilling.
Extremely traumatic.

thinblueline said...

If consent is not given, or the person is in no state to give consent its rape. Simple.

The actions before and leading up to the incident, while mulled over in a court of law perhaps does not negate the fact the other party forced their will upon another for their own gain and that will never be right.

Thankfully in this day and age we do not need the 'victim' to be present at court we can do video interview evidence , and provide evidence in chief my means of video interview, screens , and other means of protecting the 'victim' in court. Its a shame that people still believe that if they report a rape they will be treated as suspect themselves.

And just because a lady dresses in a certain manner, drinks a few drinks or is flirty it does not equate to consent, and its bullshit if a bloke cant tell the difference.

thoughts running through my head.... said...

no means no.If you reverse the clothing of the females in those 2 situations and then where do you stand on judging rape victims?It starts not fitting into a neat little box then doesnt it?I hate to say it but I see too much of this attitude from people in this job,which makes me wonder sometimes how much have we really moved on?

The Thin Blue Line said...

If I go out to the shops and leave my front door wide open and, when I get back I find out I've been burgled then I'd have to take a certain amount of responsability. It wouldn't be my fault, but I would have created a situation more likely to make me a victim of crime.
If a girl wants to go out wearing next to nothing, drinking to the point of unconsciousness and flirting with everyone in sight then that is her right. We live in a free, democratic and secular society and she isn't doing anything wrong.
If, during the course of an evening, she is raped then that isn't her fault either. Nobody has the right to force themselves on another person, regardless of any mixed messages. Just like it's my right to leave my door wide open.
However, the girl would have created a situation more likely to make her a victim. The number of sexual assaults (reported or otherwise) would be slashed if people took slightly better care of themselves.

maneatingcheesesandwich said...

One thing that shows how much we've changed is the fact that male rapes are now being reported. Back in the days when such an incident was "just buggery", anyone walking into a police station to report it would risk a very cool reception. Loitering around the wrong piece of parkland, public lavatories and selected pubs would be seen in the context of the victim contributing to his own downfall.

In our area, a young man had spent the evening getting drunk and stoned (illegal) with friends in town, then made contact with his dealer to pick up some cocaine (illegal) as an end to his night. Whilst engaging in this (illegal) transaction, several of the dealer's friends appearred and forced the young man to strip. He was punched and kicked for a while, before being led off by one of the group, who then sexually assaulted him. The assailant has just received a substantial stretch inside.

I don't see the victim's actions there being any less foolhardy than walking home in the early hours, three sheets to the wind, with all your womanly attributes on show, engaging passers-by with a range of saucy repartie. At least acting like a slapper isn't illegal (yet)...

If we can get one type of case home, we can get the other. No does mean no - but not hinting at Yes, or otherwise leaving yourself open to attack would be a good start too.

Greg McKelvey said...

hi very insightful and loved reading your blog! keep doing it its great have a blessed day!



Nipper said...

It's a difficult one, some people have to take responsibility for their actions to a greater degree than they currently do -

It's certainly an area fraught with danger for males... there's an easy way not to get caught though, and that is to not just jump into bed with a drunk lassie because it looks like she's game - a little bit of common sense on the bloke's part could go a long, long way

GirlNextDoor said...

I agree with all the comments in one way or another, but like 'the thin blue line' said & 'maneatingcheesesandwich' I think that in some cases how much the woman could have prevented the rape? Im certainly not saying she deserved it, or that anybody has the right to force themselves on another or that any woman, in any way, should have to worry about it happening to them or that they are to blame if it does happen, but it is something you have to think about & that you should try & take some kind of steps to prevent. But the truth is some women do put themselves in difficult situations, saying 'no' to 99% of men will mean exactly that but to the other minority it will fall on deaf ears. My point was basically exactly what 'the thin blue line' said, that nobody should have to worry about what they are wearing or how they are coming across because, as I pointed out, it is their right to do so if they wish & nobody should expect to be raped because of it. But I also think to a certain extent that if a woman hadn't placed herself in a certain situation or behaved in an extreme way then would she have been raped? Im not saying ANYONE deserves to be raped but I am saying that maybe, if a woman had taken a little responsibility for herself whether it would have happened at all?

There are loads & loads of ways you can look at the post I did, depending on which veiwpoint you have & that was the point, to see what other people think but I also wanted to put my point across.

Girl With The Golden Touch said...

Have you read the post on my blog about when I went out the other week and the man I was dancing with kept on trying to get his hands up my shorts? I certainly never asked for that, I have no idea what made him think he had a right to do it after being told no time and tme again. If I had of done what he wanted, and gone bk to his house, I know I would defnetly be here now saying I had been raped. It was pretty scary. I kind of agree with what you're saying too x

The Thin Blue Line said...

Hey, thanks for the comments you popped on me blog earlier.
Don't do yourself down though. I think you've dealt with a really difficult subject really well.

GirlNextDoor said...

After reading a few of the comments again, I have to say this;
Thinblueline - A woman not being in a suitable state to specifically give consent to the person she is with is one of those blurred area's IF she has been behaving in a certain way, ie flirting, kissing etc but drinking so much that she isn't capable of specifically saying 'yes' or 'no' & unfortunately there are those men that will take advantage of that situation.
I also didn't dispute the fact that regardless of a woman's behaviour does not ever give a man the right to force himself upon her, I just pointed out that it didn't help the situation & behaving/not behaving in a certain way MAY have meant that she didn't end up becoming a victim of rape.
As for a woman dressing in a certain way & behaving in a certain way, I never said it equated to consent, I simply pointed out that as above, it doesn't help a situation & if a woman is sending out all the signals then backs off at the last minute it is known, & sorry for being blunt here, as 'prick teasing' & is a dangerous game, especially when you add alcohol &/or drugs to the mix. Most men are able to tell the difference between a woman who wants to take things further & one who doesnt, its the men that ignore the differences between the two that are dangerous.

TRTMH - It isn't just the clothing, it's the behaviour as well & whether or not combined with the clothing that helped contribute in a small way to the outcome. No should always mean no, whatever the situation or whatever the man may think but as I said, there are some men out there who won't accept no as an acceptable answer & will carry on regardless. I never said anything about things fitting into a neat little box but I did say that there are multitudes of reasons & explanantions as to how & why a rape happens, the very nature of rape means that it will never fit into a neat little box because it is a crime that is complex & requires complete proof & reasonable certainty of events & of the guilty party, that's why an intimate medical examination of the victim is so hugely important. It will never fit into a neat little box because of that & the fact that no two rapes involve the exact same set of circumstances or situations.
No woman ever deserves to become a victim of rape, it is truly & completely sickening & should be punished with the maximum sentence, especially in the case of extremely brutal or gang rapes, it is an offence that is beyond redemption & is completely inexcusable. My point was, whether with some basic safety precautions taken as to how many rapes could have been/would be prevented.

Tim said...

I guess TBL said it best: "We live in a free, democratic and secular society".

That (in theory) means that everyone should be able to do any (lawful) thing they wish, and do so without fear. Getting wasted, wearing next-to-nothing and walking home should all be fine.

Unfortunately, as the Girl Next Door said, we live in an imperfect world. The point was actually highlighted by Ewan Blair, of all people. If anyone remembers the story of him being picked up for passing out on a bench in Leicester Sq, they might remember their reaction. Mine was simply "He was ALONE?!?". Basic safety. No matter what you do, never do it alone. It's not your fault if anything happens to you, but the doubt and guilt will consume you to the point that a lawyer will rip the rape victim apart in court.

Marcella Chester said...

The problem with blaming either victim -- even partially -- is that it supports the rationalizations of rapists. "See, I'm not fully responsible even though I had to pull a knife on her."

It's a mistake if we attribute these men's actions to miscommunication. They both decided to take something not freely given and if you look at the scenarios they in fact made no real effort to have consensual sex with these women. Showing off in a bar with provocative actions toward a woman is not a request for sex. Neither is pretending to be a trustworthy friend.

When someone attempts to have consensual sex with someone capable of saying no, they risk rejection. On the other hand, attempting rape under these conditions has a higher success rate and because of attitudes about the victims, the chances that they will be reported are extremely low.

Both of the men in the given scenarios had the mindset of rapists before the women did anything -- at some point they decided it was okay to take what they wanted and the fact that doing so traumatized another human being didn't diminish their pleasure in the least. They understand that the woman was no partner in what happened.

If we say these women should have acted differently, the most important change would be for them to assume that the men around them are rapists and to act accordingly. Yet many people have a serious problem with viewing women's preventative actions in this light.

Squadron Leader said...

I don't wish to alarm anyone, but it is a statistical fact that you are more likely to be raped by someone you know. The thing called stranger rape is about as rare as hen's teeth. Most rapes are current or recent ex-partners, casual aquaintances or family!!!! NO FEMALE ASKS to be raped just by wearing something revealing. Nor does that female expect or deserve to be raped just because she is trollied. I sort of agree that a little more..... ahem.....care is needed in some people's choice of clothing. I STRONGLY believe that people, and not just females, are in far GREATER danger of being raped, assaulted, mugged, robbed, murdered and generally taken advantage of when they are tanked up. It all boils down to taking responsibility for your actions. If you must get shit faced on an all too regular basis, don't do it alone, and have a contingency plan for if you get split up from your group. If any trouble kicks off, WALK AWAY. Just take better care of yourself. It's basic common sense, but it is sadly lacking in this day and age. I remember in my courting days that it was part of the thrill finding out what was below 3 mohair jumpers and a pair of Levi's. What fun is there in the chase if you are only a step away from the finishing line when you are still at the starting gate? It must be even less fun to get out of the starting gate to be met by the stench of booze and cigs and the acrid smell of recent vomiting. Err not tonight dear, I have a Mills and Boon to read.