Imagine you’re walking out of the grocery store towards your car when an armed robber blindsides you and steals your purse. You’re shocked and upset, and rightfully so. You call the police and they come to the scene.
As you’re telling the police what happened, they interrupt you and start asking questions.
“Why did you go to the grocery store dressed like that?”
“Why does it matter what I was wearing?? I was robbed!”
“Why did you go to the grocery store when it’s dark out instead of going earlier in the day?”
“I was working earlier, but again, why does that matter?”
“Well, why didn’t you stay home and have your groceries delivered? You put yourself at risk by going to the grocery store by yourself at night with money in your purse. Of course you got robbed!”
“WHAT? Are you not hearing me? That man robbed me at gunpoint and stole my purse! Go find him!”
“Ma’am, you were walking across the parking lot alone at night wearing a short dress and carrying a purse full of money. Are you sure you didn’t WANT someone to steal your purse? I wouldn’t want to ruin his life with these false accusations.”
“Excuse me?! NO, I did not want to be robbed! I just came here to buy some groceries and he robbed me!”
“Hmmm…sure. I see. And how exactly was this man supposed to control his urge to rob you when he saw you wearing that dress, walking alone with your purse? You know, boys will be boys.”
“Oh, fuck it! This is bullshit! I guess I’ll just cancel my cards and buy a new purse. Forget I said anything.”
That would be pretty infuriating, right? Well, that’s exactly what happens to victims of sexual assault every day, and people are far less upset about it than they should be.
I feel strongly about rape culture because I was a victim myself and I’ve lived with the memories for 15 years. I didn’t report because I was young and had been conditioned already to feel ashamed and blame myself rather than my rapist. I didn’t realize until years later that it wasn’t my fault and I shouldn’t feel ashamed.
In case it’s still unclear, here’s a helpful pie chart showing all of the valid causes of rape.