#SayNoToRape: “Stop Victim Blaming”

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When a lady is told to dress decently, and not dress provocatively, or should take certain precaution to avoid being raped, she’ll probably take offense from that and you’d be accused of “victim blaming”.
When in reality that’s not the case, and totally far from the reality on ground. It’d be easier to tell men to stop raping women if we could but that is not a reality also. This is not to justify that ‘provocative clothing’ is the reason for rape, a rapist is a rapist, a monster. Period!
And some men say, “If ‘provocative clothing’ wasn’t a thing. We’d be going to strip clubs just to watch women dancing in veils covering their bodies from head to toe”
Initially, it looks like a good reasoning till you realise that strip club goers, even if provoked – do not rape. Which begs the question: What do so called provocatively dressed women provoke, an erection or gruesome rape?
However we cannot deny that, “Stop victim blaming and tell men to stop raping” is a statement divorced from the sad reality that some men rape and will continue to do so till they get caught. The onus is on us men and women to make different spaces as safe as possible since no one walks with a “I’m a rapist” stamp on their forehead.
“Stop victim blaming” is troublesome. If my mom pleads with me to take a taxi at night so as to avoid being robbed or killed, is she victim blaming or simply imploring me to practise precaution? When you tell your children to lock the gate when you leave for work, are you victim blaming or practising precaution?
When people lock their cars in the parking lot, they do so to keep thieves out and we do not seldom here people cry “no, leave your window open and the car unlocked – thieves must just stop stealing”.
How is telling an abuse victim to move out of the perpetrator’s house “victim-blaming” though?
When the people of Israel are evicted to escape the danger of being bombed, no one turns around and says: no, let us be, just tell those people to stop bombing us.
Then why, when women are advised to escape danger, do we hear people saying: no, let women be, just tell men to stop abusing women and no one will have to move out.
I don’t get it, I really don’t. Women are not responsible for being stomped on but they are surely responsible for getting up and getting themselves out of danger or seeking help.
This “no, speak to the perpetrators, not the victims” logic is very flawed and misleading. We are not in Utopia!
Now, why do we shout “stop victim blaming” when women are told to practice precaution against rape?
Robbery is unavoidable but we all try our best to avoid it and tackle it at the same time – we take certain routes and avoid crime hotspots.
Why can’t the same be true for rape, because as unavoidable as it is, people should try by all means not to be at risk.
The reality is some men rape, and until they decide to stop or get caught, responsible men and women will have responsibility to protect their children from rape that can’t be undone once its done.
By Isa Eneye Mubarak

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