“Surely you aren’t going home alone at night? Someone should walk you home.” These phrases are probably often heard when planning to go home in the dark, at least when you’re a woman. Girls are constantly told by their parents or social environment that it’s not save at night for them. Walking alone is thought to be out of question.
But doesn’t it seem strange that women should adapt themselves to the behavior of men? Women are way too often blamed or partially blamed when being victim of rape or other sexual assaults. This is an example of victim blaming, a psychological phenomenon were the victim is held responsible for the crime that was committed against them. So why does our society blame our victims? It is an ethical phenomenon where gender roles are related.Gender is a different term than sex. By sex we mean the biological and physiological differences between men and women. But gender defines the socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities, and attributes that a society considers appropriate for men and women (WHO, 2013).
We are taught that boys like cars and the color blue, while girls have to like dolls and the color pink. But even in the adult world, these gender roles are present, and may cause inequality. Victim blaming is part of it. The women is the one that should adapt herself to men, she’s the one that has to make boundaries for herself and thereby limits her liberty.This needs some explanation, and therefore the next two examples could be useful. The first one is about a rapist case in the US.
An eleven year old girl in Texas was gang raped by twenty men. The New York Times writes a story about it, and continues to focus on how much make up this girl was wearing, how late she stayed out and how grown-up she was dressed: “They said she dressed older than her age, wearing makeup and fashions more appropriate to a woman in her 20s. She would hang out with teenage boys at a playground, some said” (McKinley, 2011).In December 2012, a 23 year old woman was raped and killed in New Delhi.
But instead of focusing on the rapist some of India’s political leaders and opinion-makers keep blaming the victim for her outfit and being out late in a place, women should not cross limits (Lakshmi, 2013).But it is not the fault of women, no matter how provocatively they dress, how they act, if they drink or take drugs. It’s always the rapist who’s to blame. But for some reason, women are told that they should avoid dark allies and other dangerous places, that they shouldn’t wear a mini skirt or that they shouldn’t make eye contact with strange men. But avoiding places, much like dressing more cautiously, is just letting people control women’s choices. No one should ever be allowed to say ‘she asked for it’.
Moreover, 86% to 99% of the sexual assaults are being caused by an acquaintance, not a stranger from the streets (Kopper, 1996).Women shouldn’t be the ones to seek safety in this society, they aren’t the ones that need the change, the other party has to change its attitude. Don’t tell women how to dress, tell people not to rape!