I was wearing this outfit today to a grocery store when I made a baby smile. I was wearing this outfit today when I threw my head back and laughed, when I sang in the car with my family, when I filled it with yummy food to keep it healthy.
I was wearing this outfit today to a grocery store when I overheard a woman telling her young daughter who was pointing and laughing that I would get what’s coming to me. I was wearing this outfit today when a woman told a man that it was the wrong kind of attention and that I was asking for someone to get me. I was wearing this outfit today when the same man stared at my body longingly and then agreed with the woman that I was asking for an attack.
I was not wearing this outfit when I was raped. I was wearing a size XXL hoodie and a pair of my mom’s sweatpants, much to the shock of the friend I told after, who asked what she’d been taught to ask: “What were you wearing?”. I feel so terrible for the little girl whose mother was teaching her at the grocery store that she deserved to be assaulted if she dressed comfortably for the weather, which was climbing above 80 degrees, or for an injury, which called for a brace and a boot that doesn’t allow room for long pants, or for her body, because it’s hers and she can put on it what she damn well pleases. I feel terrible for the man who will look me up and down as though I was a 5 for $20 steak deal he might purchase and will immediately after speak to a presumable stranger about the violent fate I deserved. I feel terrible for the woman with fabulous hair who feels she can express herself but refuses to let me do the same.
Summer is coming up. It’s hot outside. I have an injured ankle, and a tight boot and brace to wear on one leg. I will not dress uncomfortably to protect complete strangers who are so offended by an expanse of skin that they console themselves by predicting my next rape.
Stop perpetuating slut-shaming and thus perpetuating a culture of excused rape. Stop perpetuating slut-shaming and thus perpetuating a culture of insecurity, inherent shame, and body image distortion which can cause an innumerable amount of incredibly dark issues nearly impossible to overcome.
My body is mine, and I love it. It is the house I live in, with which I will someday create a family, with which I run and dance and hold the strong lungs I use to sing. I refuse to be ashamed of it for any reason, especially the reason being that this culture which glorifies sex and punishes those who have it, which encourages being sexy and then preaches that sexy girls ask for attack, has taught its people that my stomach is a sin.
Please think twice this summer before you choose to say anything at all to or about anyone who wears something they choose to wear. Please think twice before you say that a girl deserves to be raped for wearing shorts. Please try and catch yourself when you think things like that. Please be courteous and gentle and loving, and spend your effort tackling real problems. My stomach and legs are not a real problem.
This entire thing, while I’m sure was posted with good intentions, is fucking criminal 1. The myth that anyone blames the victim for getting raped is just that… a myth. No one does that. 2.Telling people how they fucking dress can NOT possibly be a factor is stupid beyond belief. It can. It obviously can. You could dress in a potato sack and be super unattractive and still get raped too. True. Is dressing in a fashion that will obviously arouse women/men going to play a possible part? Fuck ya it is, its not the victims fault if they get raped of course, rapists are fucking pond scum and I often have fantasies of attaining godhood and eviscerating them all in one fell swoop…. BUT HOW YOU DRESS IS A FUCKING FACTOR. BE AWARE OF THIS PLEASE and ignore these fucking posts that pretend it doesnt. Saying it doesnt is fucking stupid and evil and I hate the original poster for this. You deserve to be in jail. =_=
So you believe that women need to cover themselves in order to prevent rape? Women should stop everything that you believe provokes attacks. How about women do what they please, as it’s their way of expressing themselves which men are free to do, and those who are rapists or potential rapists learn to control their shit.
Victims (men and women) shouldn’t have to live their lives differently to prevent the act of someone else.
Just last week, a 7th grader with a curvy build came home upset about this. She had worn an outfit with a skirt and leggings, and in the morning, a teacher had said to her, “Cute outfit.” But then her homeroom teacher pulled her aside at the end of the day and said, “You know, another girl could get away with that outfit, but you should not be wearing that. I’m going to dress code you.” Juliet Bond and the child’s mom were discussing the incident, not certain if the message to the child was ‘you’re too sexy’ or ‘you’re too fat.’
The kids also report that the teachers have been discussing ‘appropriate body types for leggings and yoga pants and inappropriate body types for yoga pants and leggings.’
Bond says, “This is concerning because it is both slut shaming and fat shaming. If a girl is heavy or developed, the message is that she cannot wear certain clothes.” Neither is acceptable. We should not be sexualizing kids, nor should we be making them feel that they can wear leggings as long as they remain stick thin. Bond asks, “Why are the girls being pulled out of class to have assemblies on whether they are wearing the right clothes, while the boys remain in class, learning and studying?”
I don’t have a problem with a school having a dress code; in fact, I attended a school that didn’t allow jeans or shorts or shirts without collars, but I do have a problem when the dress code is discriminately based on gender and body type. There is a big difference between telling all students to dress respectfully and telling curvy girls to dress in a way that doesn’t distract boys.
The Real Problem with Leggings Ban for Middle School Girls: Specific Targets | Alternet (via becauseiamawoman)
Don’t ever harass someone just because they enjoy sex. It’s their body, they can do what they please with it.
I’ve tried and tried, but nothing seems to sum up the power and impact of Project Unbreakable as well as a wordless visit to their site. It’s not an easy read - if you’re likely to be triggered by descriptions of sexual assault or rape, I would advise you to exercise real caution on visiting it.
The site features photographs of victims of assault, each of whom holds a sign with a quote from their attacker. It’s a high impact smack of reality that brings home the reality of sexual assault - an important thing, considering the debate often gets highly conceptual, statistical and hypothetical. It’s also a wonderful source of hope and strength, as victims of assault get on with their lives without fear.
I spoke to Kaelyn Siversky, the executive director of the project, about rape culture, victim blaming and how to deal with the aftermath of sexual assault.
How did Project Unbreakable come about?
Grace Brown, a 19-year-old photographer, created Project Unbreakable in October 2011. One night a friend told Grace her story of sexual assault and Grace, who was already surrounded by survivors of sexual assault, grew increasing troubled at its prevalence and wanted to do something to show the number of people affected by sexual assault. The next morning, she woke up with the idea for Project Unbreakable. Originally Grace wanted the project to be an awareness project, a way to break any stereotypes about survivors, who the are and what they look like, but shortly after beginning the project she was met with the incredible way to heal people.
How do you cope with the sometimes deeply traumatic experiences people share with you?
I have always been a huge advocate for self care. After my own assault and dealing with the experiences shared with me I know that little acts of self care can go a long way. I make sure that if stories ever become too hard for me to listen to I take a day off and focus on myself. I exercise a lot; I run, practice yoga and eat as cleanly as possible. I make sure that my personal time is filled with things I really enjoy doing, I read as often as possible and when things do get overwhelming I write in a journal. Talk therapy is also a huge resource for me as well as making sure I have a really good support system with friends and family back home.
Do you feel that the dominant dialogue in the Western world is to place blame with the victim of an attack rather than the aggressor?
I do believe that our culture is deeply saturated in a victim blaming mentality. I think it is like that in most places- not just the “western world”. I personally believe that this is because we view rape and sexual violence to be such a hideous crime that our culture doesn’t want to believe people are capable of committing these acts without being “tempted”.
How would you educate those who do subscribe to the “they asked for it” mentality?
I would mostly try and explain that no one wants sexual assault to become his or her reality. It’s joining a club no one wants to be a member of. I always try to explain that rape and sexual assault is not about sexual gratification, it’s about power. Saying a survivor “asked for it” is a very classic way of rationalizing a sexual assault. Rape is caused by a rapist, never by the survivor.
How do you feel about rape since you’ve become involved with Project Unbreakable? Are you more or less optimistic about ending rape culture?
Since becoming involved with Project Unbreakable I truly feel as though we have an incredible opportunity to educate our society about sexual assault and its effects. The easiest way to combat rape culture is giving survivors a safe place to tell their story without any fear of not being believed and I think that is what we do. The greatest gift you give a sexual assault survivor is your time and ability to listen. By believing them and allowing them to confide in you, you are taking the first step in ending rape culture.
What advice would you give those who are scared to speak out about an assault?
First and foremost, find a trusted friend or family member and tell only the parts you need to get out. Speaking out about your assault is a courageous thing to do, but it is also completely your choice. You only need to tell those who matter and only as much as you feel comfortable sharing. The people who you love and trust will believe you.
It’s an inarguable fact of life that, in many areas of popular culture, women’s bodies are presented in a heavily sexualised way. Magazine covers, lads mags, advertisements, pornography and even fashion editorials; no matter your opinion of the phenomenon, sexualised imagery of women is hard to escape in 2014.
What can be more difficult to find, however, are healthy attitudes to genuinely autonomous expressions of sexuality. Whether it’s attitudes to casual sex, to women who act in porn or to women who perform other forms of sex work, the male gaze is often not only consumptive but judgemental to boot. Women engaging in any of these areas are dismissed as “sluts” and “whores” or thought of as “dirty”. The message is clear; we want to fuck you, but we don’t respect you. Or, in the words of a sex worker I follow on Tumblr: “you’ll jack off with your left hand and point with your right”.
This can be very clearly illustrated in the recent case of the “Duke Porn Star”, an American college student whose work in adult film was “exposed” by a fellow student. The surrounding furore, as well as the death threats and abuse she’s received, were explained in her words here. It’s pretty shocking (but sadly, unsurprising). Casual sex is seen in much the same way. Many women I know have been criticised, mocked or judged for their sexual expression - sometimes even during a sex act! If your number of sexual partners is deemed too high, that’s a crime too; even if the person judging you has themselves contributed to that number! Stripping faces a similar fate; I’ve heard friends of mine say they’d happily visit a strip club and pay for a lapdance but would “never” date a stripper. Hello, cognitive dissonance!
What does it say, then, that genuine sexual autonomy is looked down on? It says that women are still expected to be passive receptacles. That sex, for women, is still totally performative; we’re expected to engage in sexual behaviour, but heaven forbid we actually enjoy it. And don’t even THINK about seeking it out yourself, or seeking a career in the sex industry; even when you talk eloquently about your choices they’re still deemed to be the wrong ones. You must be defective, or damaged, or have experienced some kind of trauma (the “stupid little girl who doesn’t understand her actions” as Belle Knox was told). There’s no way that a woman can enjoy sex as freely and self-indulgently as a man!
If you have a political or personal problem with promiscuity, porn or sex work, that’s your prerogative. If you don’t want to engage in that behaviour yourself, that’s also fine. What isn’t okay, though, is using the objectification of women for your own ends and then denigrating the women who are providing you with pleasure. The bottom line is this: if you disdain or vilify sexual autonomy, you don’t deserve to benefit from it.