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It’s Not What You Wear

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“What was she wearing?”

Photo by Olivia Qualls

It’s a common question when news of a sexual assault buzzes around a friend group, a dorm or even an entire university or community.

It’s a question that implies the assault was the victim’s fault. If she had worn sweatpants to the grocery store, it wouldn’t have happened.

The question limits sexual violence to women. According to studies by the National Sexual Violence Research Center, one in five women are sexually assaulted at some point in their lives. But it’s not just women. One in 71 men also experience the same tragedy. Because of the amount of crimes that are unreported, research suggests these firm statistics are inaccurate and only represent one third of sexual crimes.

Sexual assault is never the victim’s fault. The blame lies solely at the hands of the perpetrator.

There is a common misconception that people are only sexually assaulted if they are wearing something provocative, that women who are raped imitate one of Hugh Hefner’s bunnies or a Victoria’s Secret Angel on the runway.

Even if someone were wearing a revealing dress, it does not justify the crime, and a victim never “asked for it.”

It’s true that these outfits have been ripped off of men and women’s backs, but so have overalls, sweatpants, prom dresses, jeans, jerseys, suits, sundresses, pajamas and every other outfit imaginable.

No one is safe from being violated in such a way.

Victim blaming needs to come to a screeching halt because it’s never what he or she wore that caused the tragedy.

 

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