Thursday, April 23, 2015

Women never ask for “it”

Cat calling, prolonged stares, physical touch. As a man I am not subjected to any of these things. I don’t know the sensation of trying clothes on, feeling fantastic and then regretting what I wore the moment someone makes an uncomfortable advance. 

When it comes to violence against women, it is worrying to see how many times I’ve heard five words that revolt my stomach:

“She was asking for it.”
The justification of violence and deflecting blame onto a victim is all too common and still happens to this day. When I lived in NYC, I walked all over the city and although I kept an eye out, I’m happy to report that even walking alone at 2:00 AM, I never felt threatened.

When it comes to women, if something awful happens, a series of questions start sounding off:

“What was she doing alone at night?”

“What was she wearing?”

And I’ll stop there because we can all think of countless others that we’ve heard. I instead pose one question to all those you can think of: “does any of that matter?”

I’ve seen countless articles talking about how colleges educate women to prevent rape. The thought pattern there is a little scary: since men are prone to rape, we must educate women to avoid rape. There is no single tutorial talking to men about rape or to provide tools for people to call in an anonymous tip, regardless of the faults such a system could have.

The fact remains, sexual assault is not something whose blame you can pass onto the victim. I don’t care if a woman is a harlot, dressed like a hooker or even if she IS a prostitute, violence should not be justified in any context.

The thing is that the largest hurdle to jump in regards to this issue is silence. People often don’t say anything even when it’s clear there’s abuse going on and an experiment shows just how indifferent we can be.

What hurts here is that people feel bad about the situation but don’t do anything about it. And please, let’s call violence for what it is. A domestic dispute sounds almost pleasant and cat calling for however trendy it sounds is a form of harassment.

So what can we do?

There are various options:

Educate: at all levels of schooling and in the work place.

Speak: for yourself or someone else. Silence IS the enemy.

Support: as painful as the act of violence is, the stigma people attach to male and female victims of abuse needs to be remedied.

I write this post not as a feminist but as a human doing if only a fraction to promote values that ring true across any race, every religion, all genders and each social strata.

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