"[Y]oung women ... assume that bared flesh and sexy clothes are just a fashion statement containing no messages that might be misread and twisted by a psychotic"

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Bert Perry's picture

Lived in and around Boulder for over a decade, and it strikes me that the liberal campus does know that evil exists,but they're convinced that it aligns not with the seriousness of a crime, but with the political imports of the offense.  Hence they are quick to recognize that a crackdown on attire is a crackdown on sex-positive feminism (yes there is such a thing, biggie in some parts of campus), but slow to recognize that heels, straight skirts, and plunging bodice lines just might make it difficult for a young lady (or in these days, confused gentleman) to avoid becoming a crime victim.  Again, that would conflict with the feminist imperative.

Along the same lines, when teaching Sunday school there just before the rash of murders around the death of JonBenet Ramsey, the son of the campus pastor answered "sexual harassment" when asked what sin might be.  Well, yes, but odd that he'd have mentioned THAT at age 9.  Again, politics and ideology trumping reality.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Susan R's picture


I agree with the author that sexual assault is being trivialized by frivolous claims, and when a crime is reported, it should be handled by law enforcement, not college counselors.  

I also agree that young women are often oblivious to the world around them, and blindly take risks that lead them into the path of predators, claiming sexual freedom and blahblahblah.

However, the nature of sexual assault is primarily about power and domination, not sexual attraction. It is more likely that a scantily dressed woman in high heels is attacked because she has severely limited her ability to fight or run away. The same with alcohol consumption - she's an easy mark. Sexual assault is a crime of opportunity, which is why prostitutes and promiscuous young women are often victims of rape, because they place themselves in an isolated situation under someone else's control, not simply because they were dressed in a provocative manner. 

This is further supported by the fact that 15% of victims of rape are under 12, and 93% of young victims know their attacker personally. Sexual predators often spend time grooming their victims in order to gain control and provide themselves with an opportunity to victimize their prey. 

When our society exploits women as sexual objects, it isn't the 'sexual' part of that phrase that is most important - it is the 'object' part that allows men to attack without empathy or remorse, because women are shown as things marketed as a means to self-gratification, and not as a human being. 

What young women need to be taught to reduce their risk:

Be conscious of what is going on around you - where you are, and the people you are with. Don't allow yourself to be isolated - no dark alleys, parks, parking lots/garages, etc... and don't allow yourself to be isolated with someone you don't trust. 
When it comes to trust - listen to your instincts, and understand the PINs of violent offenders. ( read The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker)
Even when you are feeling vulnerable, don't look like an easy mark - walk quickly and with a purpose, head held high, taking in what is around you. Don't wear shoes or clothes that you can't run in, and don't carry a heavy purse or load yourself up with packages. Have your keys ready and your cell phone out and visible.
If you go jogging, don't put your headphones in both ears.

Of course, most of that puts a kabosh on sexual freedom and the party lifestyle and 50 Shades of Grey, which is why women, especially feminists, will deflect the conversation and continue to blame men for everything wrong with the world. 

That said, I think modesty should be taught - not as something we do/are so that men won't rape and kill us - but because women are not sexual objects, and should not want to be perceived as such. And "I am a sex object" is the message a woman sends when she dresses in revealing and provocative clothing. 

Bert Perry's picture

it strikes me that the classic case of date rape--couple spends too long at the bar or party, guy walks the gal to a place to rest and things go downhill from there--may not be as clearly an issue of power and domination as it is of lust and bad choices.  Doesn't make it any less criminal, but it certainly will affect how we treat things.  

Note that I say "may".  There may be research out there that demonstrates that this case indeed is still one of power and domination, but at the very least I've seen anecdotal evidence that a certain portion of rape accusations are times when participants were simply embarrassed by their fornication.  I don't know what percentage this is, but it would seem to support some investigation.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Susan R's picture


I agree that there are sometimes frivolous accusations, and it's one of the points the author in the OP makes. A woman shouldn't claim she was raped just because she woke up the next morning with regrets, and false accusations should have serious repercussions. Drug and alcohol impairment is often part of that 'next morning' regret. 

Yes, there are different 'types' of rape (blitz, contact, home invasion, domestic, acquaintance, exploitation, drug facilitated, incest, statutory), and each state has its own (sometimes very complex) definitions and terms for different types of sexual assaults.

Anyway, when sex is not consensual, there is usually evidence of this, which is why involving law enforcement and having a physical examination done immediately is so important. Having women report to a college counselor and handling these cases in house not only diminishes the crime, but it paves the way for manipulation of the system by false accusers and actual perpetrators. School officials and counselors are not trained to interrogate or gather evidence or maintain a chain of evidence.

I should also clarify - I'm not saying that rape never has a 'lust' component, but the act of rape itself is all about domination and control - there is no way to dissect rape into just 'lust and bad choices' when a woman is forced to comply against her will. The pattern of a predatory rapist is shockingly clear in Amnon's treatment of Tamar - there may have been some initial attraction, but his professed 'love' was obviously a sham, and once he had conquered her, he had no use for her.