Those charged with our safety should have a true understanding of what it is to be a survivor of sexual assault — slut or otherwise.

Sometimes the same people who think women should endure unhappy marriages also worry about the gender ratio. They see no connection or contradiction.

Some people think banning prenatal sex determination tests will end female foeticide in India, even if the society continues to see getting and staying married as a woman’s life-purpose. They see no connection.

The same people who claim to respect women also insist that controlling how women dress can control crimes against women.

Somebody told me this protest in Canada, ‘condemning the notion that suggestive dressing is an invitation to assault’ was ridiculous.

When a Toronto police member told the students that they could avoid assaults on campus ‘by not dressing like a slut’,

The protestors swept through the streets wearing whatever they wanted

I agree with them,

Being in charge of our sexual lives should not mean that we are opening ourselves to an expectation of violence, regardless if we participate in sex for pleasure or work.

No one should equate enjoying sex with attracting sexual assault.”

The protesting students and the staff demanded that the Toronto police force take serious steps to regain their trust.

“We want to feel that we will be respected and protected should we ever need them, but more importantly be certain that those charged with our safety have a true understanding of what it is to be a survivor of sexual assault — slut or otherwise,”

(Link shared by Desi Girl on Buzz, Thank You DG.)

Do you think, in India, the police (including women in the police), the educational institutions and our law makers, and all those who have the power and the responsibility to ensure women’s safety have a true understanding of what it is to be a survivor of sexual assault — even if the victim ‘participates in sex for work or for pleasure’? 

I doubt it.

Related Posts:

Sexual Assault Prevention Tips Guaranteed to Work.

Provocatively Dressed.

Why a ban on jeans may not stop street sexual harassment of women.

She does not invite it.

Indian family values are good for Indian daughters?

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41 thoughts on “Those charged with our safety should have a true understanding of what it is to be a survivor of sexual assault — slut or otherwise.

  1. Nope, in general the authorities dont have a true understanding and the plight of sex workers as victims is very severe. Unfortunately they dont handle the situation sensibly in India irrespective of the type of clothing social status etc. The medieval form one has to fill in and the barbaric ‘finger test’ the victim has to undergo (mostly without proper explanations or briefing) are best examples of the inhumane treatment of sexual assault victims.

    It is very sad to note that we have not conquered the urge to judge people by their looks. I remember reading about a swine flu fatality in UK a couple of months back. Just because the young man was Gothic, with piercings, tattoo etc, he was turned away from the hospital FOUR TIMES! The grieving mother explained how the doctor and nurses commented about the young man’s looks and attributed his symptoms to a hypothetical wayward lifestyle without proper medical examination, while the mother and son were trying hard to convince them that the patient never took drugs. When the guy died the hospital expressed their regret and ordered an investigation, but whats the point!

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      • Gosh this is so sad!!!

        ‘Peter was so weak he struggled to get out of the car,’ added Susan.
        ‘Other patients were being given rooms for treatment but not my son.
        ‘In the end I went and got a nurse because he was finding it hard to breathe but when she saw he could talk she just said he obviously can breathe. I was so shocked.
        ‘She examined him but said it was just a virus and to go home, but before we left she turned around to him and said “do you realise we do have sick people in this hospital?”, as if we had completely wasted her time. I was absolutely horrified.
        ‘As we walked out Peter shouted at them saying, “It’s swine flu, I told you my friend has had it, I’ll be dead within a week”. He then turned round to me and said “when I’m dead, sue the a**es off of them”.’

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  2. My suggestion – 100% reservation for Women at all levels – be it Panchayats, State Assemblies or Lok Sabha seats whereever gender ratio is below 900.

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  3. The idea that women not dressing “suggestively” is the best solution to sexual assault is flawed on multiple levels.

    Even without getting into the accuracy of this assumption, one may ask whether this is a useful way to look at the problem. Suppose someone steals one of Bappi Lahiri’s myriad gold chains tomorrow. Are we going to blame Bappi Lahiri for being “provocative”? Victim blaming is a sure sign of either a regressive society or inept law enforcement or both.

    As for the premise itself, is a woman wearing a particular type of dress more likely to get raped? The answer is an emphatic NO and it should be obvious to anyone who thinks about it a bit.

    Standards of clothing vary VERY widely in society. In many parts of India, a saree is considered to be a modest form of dress.
    For me, (and I’m sure I’m not alone here), there are few things more sensual than a saree which exposes a woman’s waist.

    Do women in villages wear suggestive clothes? Not in public, at least. Does rape happen there? Hell yeah. Does sexual harassment happen there? All the time. Obviously, then, clothing is not a major factor when it comes to rape.

    While I don’t dispute that it’s prudent to display some measure of sensitivity to the prevailing social norms, my point is this:

    Imprudence does NOT equate to criminal liability; and

    Raping someone perceived to be a slut is NOT a less heinous crime than raping someone who doesn’t have that perception attached.

    If a woman was raped, nail the rapist, not the woman!

    Unfortunately, Indian LEAs indulge in victim blaming all the time. I hear about it every day at work…in cases of financial fraud, the first thing they tell the victim is that he/she should have been more careful and it would be impossible for them to do anything now (this is their standard reply to a complaint). After much coaxing, they start to move, and even then, it’s like they’re doing you a huge favor.
    Law Enforcement really needs to be revamped here.

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  4. I am usually dressed very comfortably in a loose T-shirt and pajamas, no matter what the occasion 😀 But I do have my brilliant flashes when I want to get dressed up (or down). I cannot for the life of me ever understand why anyone would get turned on or object to a pair of pajamas. Seriously, I have received “looks” that spoke volumes in lust and depravity.

    I still clearly remember this day in Chennai when I wore a black t-shirt and a grey- white striped pajamas and was strolling through the streets sucking on an ice cream bar, when a perfect stranger accosted me and started berating me for wearing “provocative” clothes. Eh? Buy me a burqa ? And no points for guessing she was a woman. I will never understand this need of women to regulate other women’s clothing!

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  5. The police should be the first to be sensitive. Unfortunately, even the women policewomen can’t all be trusted to be so – I bet they face these stares themselves when not in uniform (or even when they are in uniform?!). It’s rot that’s struck all societies, it is much more stark in ours.

    In college, we were banned from wearing anything except saris or half-saris. Because the salwar was ‘muslim’ dress and everything else was indecent. I had friends who went out of their way to show the management that even the sari could be indecent – the bet was the price of tailoring a skimpy blouse. Anything can be decent or not- the factor being in the ‘beholder’s’ eye. How can I be responsible for another’s thoughts and illegal acts?

    If men can’t really ‘control’ themselves, they need to be educated, right? Sad for them.

    Like

    • Sangitha,

      Men can control themselves very well indeed. I know, because I am one and there’s nothing in my biology which sets me apart from others in that respect.

      Contrary to the perceptions furthered by the various stereotypes doing the rounds these days, male humans do indeed have a brain which lies inside the skull (as opposed to the lower abdominal area).

      Those men who say that men can’t control themselves are LYING, plane and simple. They are apologists for sexual abuse and demean both men and women with their incredibly imbecilic comments.

      Trust me Sangitha, it’s no fun being verbally degraded to the level of an amoeba, which has no intrinsic intelligence but acts on pure instinct.
      I refuse to self-identify as an amoeba and I would take strong objection to anyone who tries to box me into that category.

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      • PT,

        I am a feminist – believing that everyone is equal and able to be responsible for their actions. That point was being made in a sarcastic tone – I live around a lot of men who can ‘control’ themselves very well. The same could apply to me too – I could just as easily say that I could not control myself, right? Had to flip away from a recent Karan Johar episode with John Abraham because of the level of body talk in its content. Felt sad for the guy!

        This is the excuse people give before castigating a woman for wearing whatever it is she wore – ‘men are like that only, why did you wear it/ask for it’ or ‘yeah, if you wear that, what else will happen?’ And a lot of men hide beautifully behind this argument.

        Please take strong objection to this in all forums – including all male ones, hopefully in crowds that don’t think like this, so that there is a ripple effect. At the very least, another view point is put forth for whatever it is worth.

        It is good to know that there are people like this around who are vocal as well! 😀

        Like

  6. –On dressing up
    A two year-old girl walking with her skirt on her head, butt naked…is a sight to endear.

    BUT 16 yr-olds coming to an Independent Study School which is right on the top of our building, with their b**bs and b*tts hanging out of the super super skinny, low-cut, low rising, ill-fitting outfits , I am afraid to say is not so.

    …if its not suggestive OR immodest, its highly DISTRACTING…ANNOYING….IRRITATING even for us who only catch a glimpse of such sights while we walk in and out of the building….I pity the plight of the teachers (both 50+ males n females) who have to sit in front of them on a ONE on ONE basis, for an hour straight and teach.

    And this is prevalent all through all high-school campuses. The boys walk with their pants hanging on the mercy of the size of their ‘b*tt’. A super skinny one and the pants come down to their thighs while walking which they assume looks even cooler…

    I wish one had the liberty to slap these kids to senses and send them back to kindergarten to be taught…”Why do we wear clothes again??”

    If tomorrow someone feels they should wear clothes with everything covered but their privates…and go on the streets naked if not allowed to, I won’t be surprised. After all its all about freedom…

    –On rape and sexual harrassment

    It takes a pervert, someone sick in the mind, or plain frustrated, angry, loser of a person…. to attempt rape or sexual harrassment. One should ask these criminals what prompts them to decide on a victim or a target. A victim can be a simple, shy, innocent girl who dresses up head to toe or one who has everything hanging out…OR a two year old who doesn’t quite know she is supposed to cover her butt.

    Study rapists behaviour and create awareness to combat crime.

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    • I absolutely agree. While we are at it can we also “slap” some sense into the elders (almost always men) for roaming around topless in summer (note I didn’t use the word shirtless as it mitigates the impact), wear lungis pulled up to bare their legs and thighs, constantly scratch and fondle private parts in public, and ofcourse pee in public. Wonder how they don’t get harassed and raped all the time with such nudity on display!

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  7. Pingback: Rapists and molesters ‘incite and invite’ themselves to the crime | Let the light shine from within you…

  8. can these same people tell me how a 6 month old was provocatively dressed and behaving like a slut before she was raped? or how the 3 year old was sexually egging the raper on?
    rapists are sick sick people. that is all. and the ones (specially the law enforcement authorities) who put the blame on the victim are sicker still.
    long time lurker – first time commenter

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  9. In our great country, defense attorneys try to win cases by questioning the rape victim about her sexual activity levels. About drinking habits. About the number of male friends. And they have won cases based on this “slut theory”

    The day the people of India realize that even a prostitute has the right to accuse someone of rape, there might be some hope. Right now, India is like the rape haven of the world.

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  12. This just makes me so sad. What is ‘suggestive’ dressing? This suggestion is only in the minds of the beholder.

    This theory linking rape to the dressing and sexual habits of a woman simply doesn’t hold water. Like so many people above have already said, little babies and little boys and girls get raped. I remember reading about an 80 year old grandmother getting sexually assaulted. Sure, all these helpless, powerless victims were ‘suggestively’ dressed. Such bullshit!

    And then, like someone above has so beautifully pointed it out, let’s not insult the men by making them into some sort of savage animal with a complete lack of control. That is disrespectful to a lot of wonderful men out there.

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  13. Even if you ignore 10000 times, you can not change the fact that everyone is in equal danger of being molested / raped or whatever form you think is a voilation to one’s body.

    Maybe a iron made burka will keep the hands off you – not the usual clothes you wear !

    IHM , i am just glad i came across your blog where my own ideas get words in such a strong voice !

    Like

  14. This is exactly why I hate it when people pressure victims to report to the cops and say “You should do this and that”…who wants to go to a cop that tells them that they shouldn’t have dressed the way they did.

    Forget the fact that many rapists don’t even remember what the victim is wearing and tend to go for someone who looks more innocent.

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  15. is it really possible for a women to know what really a man feels when a women dresses “provocatively”..
    are men really designed to exercise control.. doesnt all male species in animal or insect kingdom force themselves on the female.. are men really that different from an animal?

    Like

    • “are men really that different from an animal?”

      I’m not sure if you realize it, but that’s an extremely offensive thing to say. Tell me how you like it when I replace “men” with “woman”:

      “is a woman really all that different from an animal?”

      For the record, yes, most of us men can control ourselves and yes, most of us are about as different from other animal species as women are.

      Please do refrain from going by sexist stereotypes. The vast majority of men never get anywhere near non-consensual intercourse, regardless of how physically attracted and/or testosterone-crazy they are.

      I may feel attracted to a woman dressed “provocatively” but attraction doesn’t mean I want to immediately have sex with her or even have a relationship. And this was as true when I was twenty and single as it is now that I’m married.

      Don’t listen to sexual assault apologists.

      Like

      • Dude i m a male,, so this comment is in no way sexist.. i m just mentioning that a male sexual instinct is different from a female one.. so it wont be right for women to comment on a male’s sexual desire…. evolution wise a male’s sexual instinct is offense… but we have all got conditioned by the society and we all manage to control.. but that doesnt mean a women can understand it..

        and let me tell you the plain truth “WE DONT POUNCE UPON THE WOMEN WE FIND ATTRACTIVE IS because of JUST ONE SINGLE REASON, WE ARE AFRAID OF CONSEQUENCE” just make men invisible and everyone knows what they will do..

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      • Maya,

        It does not matter in the slightest whether you are a male, female or martian. Being a male does not excuse making degrading comments about that gender.

        Pray exclude me from this fictitious body called “everyone” which, in it’s omniscience, “knows” that all men are barely-repressed rapists. I said it before, and I will say it again, more bluntly as it did not seem to have registered the first time:

        Stop trying to pass off claims based on widespread sexist stereotypes as sociological facts.

        You may self-identify as a potential rapist who refrains from rape only because of the fear of getting caught. That is your choice. Do not impose that identification on those of us who have certain ethical standards which would not allow us to rape a woman, whether or not we are “invisible”.

        Liked by 1 person

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