Whenever a young woman is raped or sexually assaulted, people are still quick to question what she did to put herself in that situation, instead of questioning the person who raped or sexually assaulted her. "What was she wearing?" they will ask. "What was she drinking? Was she flirting? Was she 'asking for it'?" Our culture has made some progress in understanding that the rapist — not the victim — is to blame for rape, but as a new YouGov survey reveals, far too many U.S. adults still haven't caught up.
According to the report, 40 percent of U.S. adults believe that someone who's wearing revealing clothing is responsible for any unwelcome sexual contact or advances they may receive. (Fifteen percent say "fully responsible" and 25 percent say "somewhat responsible.") These statistics seem to reflect how Americans view people who dress this way: A little over half of Americans (55 percent) believe that the "main reason" women wear revealing clothing is to "attract attention." Specifically, 61 percent of men believe this.
First of all, I know this has been said over and over again, but allow me to repeat it: Women. Don't. Dress. For. Men. One time, I wore high-waisted shorts to a bar, and some guy told me that men hate high-waisted shorts and proceeded to ask me why, then, I would wear them. I said I wore them because I like them, and he straight up thought that was the most absurd thing he'd ever heard.
Second of all, even if women did dress for men during a night out — for the "attention," if you will — that doesn't mean we handed out free all-access passes to our bodies to anyone who wants to touch us. We may want "attention," sure, but only from guys we want attention from. That's because we're autonomous beings who, yes, can CHOOSE whom we give access to our bodies! Even in a public space! Wild, right?
YouGov also found that 53 percent of Americans believe if you're flirting with someone, you're responsible if they engage with you sexually and you don't want it. But that, too, is bullsh*t. Flirting, just like wearing revealing clothing, does not give someone a free all-access pass to our bodies.
In fact, let me take this whole thing a step further and say that besides giving consent, absolutely nothing we do automatically gives someone a free all-access pass to our bodies. We can flirt with someone, make out with them at the bar, take them to our apartment, lead them into our bedroom, literally be naked next to them, and STILL say no. No matter where you're at in the courting process, you are allowed to give a big N-O to any sort of unwelcome sexual contact.
It's disheartening to see that our culture has a long way to go before everyone recognizes this. Personally, stats like these inspire me to keep this conversation going for as long as humanly possible — until people finally f*cking get it. Hopefully, you feel the same way.
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