Chrissie Hynde, lead singer of The Pretenders, recently made comments supporting the “don’t dress provocatively” stance in regards to rape. while I understand the need to act proactively and help women help themselves, these kinds of statements suggest that responsibility lies with the victim.
I feel this stance is too simplistic and even a hindrance to the overall problem. yes, women should be proactive and protect themselves but men should also control their baser nature and not expect that just because they want something, they should get it. where do you draw the line with this angle? “provocative” can be subjective. look at what goes on in some parts of the Middle-East: covering women from head to toe, and in some instances even shielding their eyes, because skin is enticing, hair is enticing, eyes are enticing, and so women should cover themselves to help the men fight their natural urges. if the men see something and can’t be trusted to take it without permission, why not blindfold them instead? why does the responsibility lay with the woman alone?
debating rape issues isn’t so black and white because there is not just one kind of rape. there’s violent rape that takes place in back alleys by strangers and there’s drunken rape that takes place at parties by people you know, there’s even rape that happens between couples when sex has already been initiated, but it’s all rape and it’s all a power play and I suspect that a large number of them would still happen regardless of how the woman was dressed. what about the women who don’t dress provocatively? they get raped too (more often than you might think); covering too much can be seen as a form of provocation, a challenge to see what’s really underneath.
unfortunately the issues surrounding rape cases are often circular. if a rape case is brought to trial, the victim may be badgered to the point that they will drop the charges. I say “if” because even though the victim was brave enough to report the crime, they do not want to be subjected to the kind of scrutiny and slander that comes with a rape case, so many will either drop the charges or agree to a plea bargain so that they do not have to appear in court. we want the victims to seek justice, we want the criminals to pay fully for their crime and thus deter future incidents committed by others, but the trauma surrounding not only the act itself but the aftermath is highly emotional for the victim and they may want their part in it wrapped up as quickly as possible so that they can move forward.
although most discussions regarding rape involve a female as the victim of a male, rape is not only a female issue: males can also be rape victims of females, along with same gender instances as well. when it all comes down to it though, when someone says they are uncomfortable– for any reason–and they want to stop, you STOP. it doesn’t matter how you got to that point or why you got to that point, they are no longer willing.
so although I’m sure that Chrissie had good intentions with the statements that she made, I feel she is just helping to reinforce the view that it’s the woman who needs to take responsibility while the man (or “rapist”, regardless of gender) can continue to take none.