Women do not “ask for it”
Clothing in no way excuses sexual assault or victim blaming. | flickr.com
In light of the recent Sexual Violence Prevention week, Biola provided many resources to students, expanding their understanding of sexual violence. The blame for sexual violence frequently lands on the outfit choice of women, but what women wear does not give anyone permission to commit a sexually violent act. Having self-control is one of the most admirable things you can learn. But having a set standard that women must cause the problem because of what they wear disgustingly excuses an assailants of responsibility for their actions.
“The idea that clothing has anything to do with assault is global and persistent,” said Mikki Kendall, writer for the Washington Post. Many women face this disheartening reality. The victim should not be blamed when assaulted. No matter what the person wore or did, that victim should be respectfully allowed to mourn and receive support from those around them.
an unfair view of women
Even private Christian schools have different standards for women than they do for men regarding clothing. They claim wearing something such as a tank top prompts their Christian brothers to stumble in their faith. This is one of the most disappointing stereotypes about how schools promote the lack of responsibility for men to control their impulses.
”As brothers and sisters in Christ, it is our responsibility to hold one another accountable to the aforementioned standards of dress in a manner of genuine love and concern. We acknowledge modesty runs deeper than a dress standard, and begins with remaining pure in mind and heart regardless of the way another is dressed,” according to the modesty standard in Biola’s student handbook. This statement is much more aligned with how dress codes should be enforced – dealing with the person rather than the outward appearance. Even though there should be limits to clothing if you choose to attend a university with already set standards, this restriction on short shorts and other female oriented clothing creates an unfair view of women. The focus should be on the assailants that would commit a sexual crime.
not fixing the problem
Conditioning children from a young age to restrict their clothing options because of their gender does not solve the problem of stumbling. “Despite the fact that 9 percent of sexual assault victims are young men, we don’t insist that they dress differently. We don’t warn young men not to tempt their teachers with their bare biceps, knees or other body parts. We don’t warn young men not to be a distraction to their female classmates, or regulate whether they can wear shorts in the summer to school,” Kendall expresses. Placing standards like this solely on the female population does not fixing the problem of sexual assault.
“The sad reality is that rapists choose to rape — often more than once — and studies show they are also often guilty of other violent crimes,” Kendall elaborates. No amount of clothing will change the perpetrator’s mind once it is set. No amount of jackets or turtlenecks will prevent the criminal from taking advantage of the female. This notion that clothing is a factor in sexual assaults is false and should not even be considered when taking a sexual assault case into consideration or discussion.
the reality the world faces
Having strong women and events like Sexual Violence Prevention Week allow students to come to grips with the reality the world faces. Making sure you never blame the victim is the first step to helping the epidemic of sexual assault.
“One reason people blame a victim is to distance themselves from an unpleasant occurrence and thereby confirm their own invulnerability to the risk. By labeling or accusing the victim, others can see the victim as different from themselves. People reassure themselves by thinking, 'Because I am not like her, because I not do that, this would never happen to me,’" Connecticut Sexua+l Assault Crisis Services explains.
We need to help people understand this is not a helpful reaction. Hopefully more events like the ones that took place this past week will continue to be a priority in order to spread awareness and provide resources for victims and awareness for students.