I don’t usually get involved with these sort of debates because having not suffered from any sort of assault, attack or rape I don’t think it’s my place to have a view. However, when my friend told me something another of her friend’s said I was pretty infuriated and pissed off and thought I had to say something and as this is my platform for saying stuff. I thought I’d put it here. We’re talking about rape here and the phrase in question and it wasn’t the first time I’ve heard it being said
“a girl was asking to be raped walking by herself at 1.30am”
This particular phrase has come up in many guises over the years but basically boils down to ‘She’s asking for it’ ‘She was asking for it’ – obviously a fantastic defense for raping or attacking anybody. It makes me so inexplicably angry – I don’t even think I can express how this phrase makes me feel because once again it’s a way of blocking people’s right to be who they are and live as themselves.
Talking to my friend reminded me of when I was at university/working late night in pubs/bars. I regularly, perhaps three or four nights a week, walked from the bus stop on the Curry Mile to my home in Moss Side – 10-15 minutes – at 2am or later because I had no choice. Was I supposed to find the money for a taxi? Was I being irresponsible? I don’t think so, I don’t think anybody should feel afraid to walk home after they’ve been out or they’ve been to work but that’s how it is. Even the police have guidelines suggesting young women particularly shouldn’t walk home alone late at night and it’s a horrible mark of the society we live in that that’s what’s considered the norm. Following the furore in India this sign has been seen time and again and I feel it needs to be replicated here and everywhere else possible:
Society shouldn’t be telling people (women) they shouldn’t be going out – it should be teaching attackers, rapists and anyone who feels the urge to commit such acts that it’s completely unacceptable.
I can’t keep my girls wrapped in cotton wool nor can I stop them living the lives they want to live but I can tell them to be proud of who they are, to live sensibly and responsibly and above all not live in fear.
Nobody is asking for it.
Photo from here