So what you wear gets you raped, eh?

Read this: A Toronto cop tells a group of university students to stop dressing like sluts to prevent being raped.
Eh? Did I hear right?
Not that I am an advocate of dressing like a slut, in fact I lived out my youth dressed in full sleeved clothes and long ankle length skirts in a bid to deploy unwanted male attention from them everpresent roadside lotharios who considered it their birthright to touch, grope, tease, comment, follow, molest. I am still a very conservative dresser. The maximum level of revealing I will go is wearing a sleeveless top. But I can aver that the times I have been groped in public places like BEST buses or railway platforms have been times when I have been most conservatively dressed. Even in flowing anarkali style salwar kameezes which were absolutely non sexy.
I did a bit of analysing and realised that when I was dressed in a traditional manner, I was perceived as someone who would not protest, who would be too terrified to protest. When I wore jeans and a tshirt, I was perceived as someone more likely to retaliate. Thankfully, it has now been years since I have experienced street sexual harassment, but I have been there and I know the sense of helplessness, the fear, the anger, the shame that overwhelms one. Is it because of what one wears? The most horrific stalker like incident I ever experienced happened when I was wearing a loose cotton salwar kameez. Nothing sluttish about it.
It is convenient, to say you dress that way you ask for it.
It is convenient to put the blame on the victim, you dressed like a slut so you deserved to get raped.
Did the year old baby dress like a slut and deserve to be raped so violently that surgery was required to sew her back together?
Did the elderly bedridden woman dress like a slut and ask to be raped?
Did the mentally challenged teen in an oversized Tshirt and loose trousers dress like a slut and ask to be raped?
Is it about what you wear?
If that were the case, countries where women were chaddars and burqas would never never report of rape cases.
A woman who is raped doesn’t ask for it. It is not what she is wearing that makes a man rape. It is his intent, and the opportunity he gets to commit the rape.
While I am on the old fashioned side of the fence, and do get periodically disturbed by the clothes the young uns trot out in public in these days (Sigh, I’m sounding like I’m two feet in the grave, but seriously, I get shocked and open mouthed jaw dropped to the floor sometimes) but that’s because I basically believe that one needn’t display ones body to be attractive, but then I’m old school. I do hold a woman’s right to wear what she damn well pleases, without some warped mind conjecturing that she is ‘asking for it’.
What do you think? Is dressing provocatively excuse enough for someone to justify rape?

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About Kiran Manral

Author of The Face At The Window, ( 2016), Karmic Kids, All Aboard (2015) , Once Upon A Crush (2014) and The Reluctant Detective (2011).
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40 Responses to So what you wear gets you raped, eh?

  1. R's Mom says:

    No never…like you say, a woman’s attire is never the reason for rape..the intention to rape is the reason for rape…I dress pretty much conservatively..and yet get groped, squeezed, pinched every damn day in the BEST bus!

    Like

  2. Amreen says:

    And I completely agree with every word you’ve written. If something goes wrong with us, every man raises a finger at us; whether it is our fault or not!
    This doesn’t happen only in the case of clothes, but also when any accident happens at the railway station. If we fall out of the train or get pushed, it’s our fault, cuz we were running or we should have waited to catch the next train.
    I’m going to be writing a blog post on the same lines, will give you a mention in that. Keep a look out for it! 🙂
    Good work!

    Like

  3. uncannybal says:

    Rape is hardly about clothes. Rape is about mentality.
    Men are basically hunter gatherers. They hunt for power and prestige.
    In the old days they hunted animals. The conquest is what thrilled them. The conquest of the animal gave them power and prestige in their society.
    Once they killed the prey, they dint even eat much. They had got their fill of power and prestige from their fellow beings
    This was the past.
    But the basic mindset still remains.
    So in todays world, money takes the place of animals. The acquisition of money gives the same thrill as killing the animal.
    Some men have taken to this new system rather well
    But men have different levels of need for power and prestige. Some have bigger needs.
    Like Ambanis for money or playboys like Ranbir Kapoor for women
    But then there are the strays. The ones who havent figured out how to do either. They cant hunt money nor can they hunt women.However their need for power remains at a high level
    So they become cowards and grab what little power they can get.Like parasites or scavengers. They rape defenseless women and get their fix. Like drug addicts craving for a fix
    So rape is primarily a result of the inferiority complex power hungry men feel when they cant get their fix of power and prestige the regular way
    Of course you will ask ‘Why do seemingly rich or powerful men rape women?’
    The key word is ‘seemingly’. These men look like they have enough money and power. But their needs are a lot more. As I said, different men have different levels of need for power and prestige. So those who dont get what they need, steal what they cannot get and become ‘part time’ parasites
    Then there are men who dont seem to have much money or power but do not rape. These men have lower needs of power and prestige and hence make do with what they have or get their fix from healthy relationships
    So keep your man on a pedestal so he gets his fix of power and prestige and he will always love you for it
    This is my theory. Would love to hear counter views on this

    Like

  4. smartassbride says:

    If that’s the case, having a big house is asking for robbery and being a famous politician is asking for assassination. Eating is asking for diarrhea, sleeping is asking for silent cardiac arrest. I could go on.

    It’s all the more disturbing that a cop says this.

    Like

  5. A similar sort of an incident happened with me recently.I was an autorickshaw at 7:30 p.m. and the driver started talking of insanely contemptible incidents,and how women ‘seduce’ men and ‘invite’ trouble by wearing the kind of clothes they wear.And so on.

    I was more than scared,and was utterly stone-cold and had no clue how to respond,since then however I have been carrying a pepper spray with me.

    And yes!it is the RIGHT of the woman/girl to wear clothes according to her whims and fancies.

    Like

    • Aathira says:

      I also have been faced with sutorickshaw drivers giving advice on dressing and women’s safety. It makes me very jittery knowing that I am travelling with a person who has these thoughts right now in his head rather than concentrating on the road!

      Like

  6. Writerzblock says:

    Brilliantly expressed. Rape can never be justified. Period. There is no reason that a man should rape. And if he does, he can never justify it. I think we as a society have to stop saying things like, ‘she insulted him. THEREFORE he raped her. or she ran away with her loved. SO he raped her.’ There is simply no question of justifying this heinous crime!!

    At the same time, I think it is quite inappropriate, the way some kids dress these days. Girls wear spaghetti strap tops without any under-garments! Or boys wearing short Tees with Jeans that lie below the waist and literally fall halfway down their bottoms!!! This just looks vulgar. You’re absolutely right, one does not need to show body parts to look attractive. It is all about how you carry yourself. Sadly, we don’t always realise that.

    Like

  7. madhavssv says:

    Whoa! Never knew that groping and pinching happens in the BEST buses in broad daylight.. Well may be because Im at the other end of the line.Uncannybal’s analysis of the male psyche is a very intriguing read. Agree with the post that more than the outfit, its the opportunity that a man tries to seize.

    Like

  8. booboosmamma says:

    K, what you said is true, what we wear will not make a rapist out of a man, if that were the case who can explain about the 3yr old raped and the 75year old raped. a rapist is a pervert a psychpath. there is a problem in a rapist’s wiring.
    having said that i have a problem with women who dress up like sluts or dress up in appropriately. they want to get attention and sometimes they end up getting the wrong kind of attention.

    Like

  9. soulmate says:

    those perverts just need an opportunity.. I remember being pinched hard on my thighs in a mela when I was all of 12 years old, wearing a suit…

    Like

  10. cmck says:

    Nice read! I wonder what is it that makes men rape children, old women and even women clad in burkhas? No they did not ‘seduce’ them with the outfits – its probably their feeling that women are inferior in a way that they wont be able to retaliate. why..even young boys get raped. Its just using force because they know they are stronger, physically. This being said, aren’t women/girls dressed inappropriately the reason for polluting their already corrupted minds? Yes, women can dress the way they want to but there is a huge price being paid for this freedom by other unfortunate women who fall prey to opportunity.

    Like

  11. No dressing anyway is not asking for sexual assaults ever. Rapes are not caused by sudden provocation at the sight of a ‘provocatively dressed’ victim (although our movies try to show otherwise). I feel such ignorant and prejudiced comments by those who are supposed to understand crimes against women might encourage rapists/sexual offenders.

    In fact in 70% of rape cases, the attacker is known to the victim and the crime is well planned, generally keeping in mind how vulnerable the victim is, and the chances of being convicted or punished.

    Like

    • Kiran Manral says:

      IHM: Yet, there are people, even in this comment space who continue to shift the blame onto the victim. Dressing vulgarly for them is an invitation to rape. She asked for it. It is her fault I couldnt control myself.

      Like

  12. Nick Warner says:

    No. There is never any excuse for rape. It is a disgusting crime that should be punished severely.

    Like

  13. shariqus says:

    Consider two twin sisters, who are obviously equally beautiful. one is wearing muslim hijab and the other is wearing revealing/ tempting clothes!

    who is likely to be raped?

    the other sister.

    i am against RAPE, but one shall be modest enough in the way they dress, this will definitely help reduce rape rate in the country

    Like

    • Alien Tea says:

      Actually the sister who is likely to be raped is the one who the rapist has opportunity to rape. Or the one that the rapist decides to rape.

      Do you think rape happens less often in places where more women wear modest clothing? Because statistically, it happens at a similar rate everywhere.

      Like

      • shariqus says:

        so, mr alien tea!

        you mean to say, that a rapist is life a thief who goes out of his house with a aim to rob or rape!

        if you think so, you are wrong!

        Intension of rape comes after a rapist is being forced to get tempted to, not because he plans that yeah, today i have to rape!

        so, dress is what tempts the rapists and disrupts his intensions

        Like

    • Kiran Manral says:

      Shariqus: I have to step in here, but you are so wrong. Rape has nothing to do with dress and everything to do with intent and opportunity. As I said, does a two year old child dress vulgarly, or does an old aged grandmother dress vulgarly, what makes them the victims of rape. What explains girls wearing hijab being raped? And there are plenty of such cases around too. A rapist will rape regardless of what is worn or not. A person who is not a rapist, will not rape regardless of the provocative clothing. Simple.

      Like

      • shariqus says:

        No one is a born rapist. he is provocated to be one!

        Like

      • Kiran Manral says:

        Shariqus: No one is born a rapist, nor is anyone provoked into being a rapist. If one cannot control one;s urges, what is the difference between a man and an animal.

        Like

      • shariqus says:

        but when you know that the animal is out on street, then why to do something which will provoke the animal to attack you?

        Like

      • Kiran Manral says:

        Shariqus: You agree therefore, that the animal should not be on the street and that the animal should be behind bars. Not that I say it is acceptable to dress provocatively, but it can never ever be an excuse for anyone to justify rape. Just because a house is beautiful is no excuse for anyone to burgle it. This is shifting the blame for the act onto the victim and absolving the perpetrator of fault or of taking responsibility of his actions.

        Like

    • shariqus says:

      but as we put locks and security system on our houses! we must guard our modesty by dressing well.

      Like

      • Kiran Manral says:

        No shariqus, this is not the excuse to allow rape. Regardless of what a woman wears or doesnt wear, no one has the right to touch her without her express permission. And that is something men, rapists or not, need to understand. And that is what every woman will agree with.

        Like

      • shariqus says:

        rape is wrong and nothing shall justify rape. i am against rape and so should be everyone! but females will have to understand that since all the animals are not behind bars, they need to guard their modesty by dressing well.

        everyone has a right to wear what they want, but compromises to guard one own self is the least one female can do..

        Like

  14. shariqus says:

    rape is wrong and nothing shall justify rape. i am against rape and so should be everyone! but females will have to understand that since all the animals are not behind bars, they need to guard their modesty by dressing well.

    everyone has a right to wear what they want, but compromises to guard one own self is the least one female can do

    Like

    • Kiran Manral says:

      Shariqus: Again, regardless of what a woman wears or doesnt wear, a man who has to rape will rape. If you look at data, speak to rape victims, research this, you will find women who were most modestly dressed were raped. It has nothing to do with what you wear, it is intent and opportunity. As I seem to be repeating this over and over again, lets agree to disagree and I suggest you do speak with organisations working with rape victims to get clarity on this. Regardless of what you wear, if someone gets the opportunity to rape you, he will, and that is what any rape victim will corroborate.

      Like

      • shariqus says:

        a rapist will rape in any case, I agree over that. But dressing in a modest way will definitely reduce the rates!

        and i will surely speak to organisations working with rape victims to get clarity on this

        Like

  15. dipali says:

    Rape has everything to do with the mind of the rapist, and his perverse desire to dominate another human being. The easiest excuse that these wretched men come up with is that the victim asked for it, by 1) Being there
    2) dressing like that
    3) talking like that
    4) having someone else as a boyfriend.
    Let me say that if we are talking of modesty here, men also need to have modesty in their own eyes, and not look at women simply as sex objects.

    Like

    • shariqus says:

      dipali: if you are taking rapist as men, then you are wrong as rapists are not men, they are animals.

      all i was talking was how to reduce the potential damage from these animals!

      Like

      • Sue says:

        Shariqus I think you don’t quite understand the idea of rape. It’s about power, not satisfying sexual urges. Sexual urges can be satisfied cheaply and far more safely with a whore. Paid well, she’ll even pretend to struggle.

        You, for instance, could be raped. Many men are. And it’s never because of what they wear or how attractive they are. People (not necessarily women) are raped by other people who feel the need to show them that the rapists are more powerful than the victims.

        It’s not about modesty, it’s not about humility, it’s not about attitude. You will only get that when you understand that you in your loose pants and t shirt are in as much danger as me in my saree should a power-crazy individual decide to attack either of us.

        Like

      • shariqus says:

        AND because i know i could be raped, i wont wear loose pants and tees! and so should womens do! wearing sexy/ revealing clothes will take you closer to rape, either be that a male or female. so, a modest clothing is essential to keep us away from potential damage of being raped..

        Like

    • Aathira says:

      “Let me say that if we are talking of modesty here, men also need to have modesty in their own eyes, and not look at women simply as sex objects.”

      Completely agree with you!! A crime is committed by a criminal, and whatever is the reason the criminal is to be blamed.

      Like

      • Sue says:

        Shariqus, sorry you’ve completely lost me. If you don’t wear loose pants and tees what do you wear? Tight ones? I don’t follow your logic.

        Like

  16. Nitya says:

    My friend S has always been in hijab being a traditional Muslim girl. As have her cousins. Yet two years ago the night before Diwali, her cousin, a young 16 year old got brutally raped. And she was wearing her hijab. So no. How you dress DOES NOT matter. it’s an excuse and a flimsy one at that.

    Like

  17. dipali says:

    Animals do not rape, men do.
    I doubt if rape exists in the animal kingdom. Also, so many rapes and molestations take place within the four walls of the home- you will not imagine how many perverts lurk behind respectable facades.

    Like

  18. Hi Kiran,

    Stumbled upon your blog and totally dig it!

    What you wear can get you raped is the kind of cavalier caveman thinking that seems genetically embedded in some men. But that doesn’t mean women have to accept it. We need to define/create/embrace a new role model for ourselves. I did a post on this – We Need a Sita Redux – on my blog.

    You can read it at http://the-long-walk-home.blogspot.com/2010/11/we-need-sita-redux_15.html

    I’ll be back 🙂
    Cheers,
    Manreet

    Like

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