Thursday, October 26, 2006

Well, I guess I was asking to be robbed and my house burned to the ground with my family inside...

... I mean, I left a window open. I was asking for it.

Does that argument stand up, to you? Would you let someone off the hook for something like that on those grounds?

I wouldn't, and I'm usually a pretty forgiving person. Unfortunately, we are seeing similar kinds of arguments every month, only on the subject of rape.

'Oh, she was drunk/walking home alone/wearing a short skirt, guv. She was asking for it.'

What's more, despite the law being changed to be just a tiny bit more helpful to rape victims in court, excuses like this are still being accepted every day, all over Britain, by otherwise competent juries and judges. Somehow, women are being made responsible for being attacked. They did something 'unladylike', which provoked a man. And as we all know, men are useless at controlling themselves and can't be held responsible for their actions at all. (Yes, boys, that's what you're being made to look like while the women are called whores. You are subhuman and severely lacking in any self-restraint or moral character.) So the blame falls on the shoulders of the victim, who is defamed AND punished for defaming the poor little rapist.
Oh, aside from her actions at the time of the event being twisted like this, our victim may also be judged by her sexual history. Despite laws against this now, it is still happening. Some of you may have heard the infamous comments made by an anti-choice politician in America saying that rape only happens to young white devoutly Christian virgins who have been horribly ravaged and sodomised - the implication being that anything else just ain't rape. Here, if you aren't a virgin, your chances of winning your case decrease with every sexual encounter you have had in the past if the courtroom hears about it. Similarly, if you show no obvious physical signs of being viciously attacked, they'll assume you didn't put up much of a fight and thus it was all consensual.

So, lets just labour the point here.

Rape is NEVER the woman's fault.
No-one 'asks' to be raped.
Regardless of what she was doing or wearing, what happened to her was STILL rape. Drunk? Rape. 'Provocatively' dressed? Raped. Alone at night? Rape. Being female? Rape. Being male? Rape. Being an 'easy target' in any way? Rape. It doesn't matter how the victim responded to the attack, if it was non consensual, it was rape, and remains as illegal as if they were swaddled head to toe in thick winter clothes and had tried to beat the crap out of their attacker in their efforts to escape.

Why is has she chosen this subject today, you may well ask. The BBC reports the apology from a Muslim cleric about his sermon which compared non-hijab-wearing women to 'uncovered meat'.

"If you take out uncovered meat and place it outside... and the cats come and eat it... whose fault is it, the cats' or the uncovered meat?" he asked.

The uncovered meat is the problem, he went on to say.

"If she was in her room, in her home, in her hijab, no problem would have occurred," he added.

Sheikh Hilali also condemned women who swayed suggestively and wore make-up, implying they attracted sexual assault.

He has apologised after an outcry by Muslim women in Australia, saying '...the sermon was targeted against men and women who engaged in extra-marital sex and did so through alluring types of clothes...'.
Try fitting that in. It doesn't quite fit with the wording, does it? Oh, for the record, women who wear the hijab and/or stay at home get raped too. In fact, the majority of sexual assaults and rapes are carried out by people, such as friends and family members, who knew the victim well - not by the stereotypical shadowy monster in a dark alleyway (though, of course, this happens too). In these cases, they cannot be safe in their rooms, and no amount of modest apparel will change that. Changing attitudes towards women will.

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