Slut Shaming is not Rape Prevention

Phyl CampbellStarred Page By Phyl Campbell, 26th Aug 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/177tpbm7/
Posted in Wikinut>News>Education

After the article I posted yesterday about modesty training and slut shaming, I was involved in many conversations about the topic. For the most part, I knew to what choir I was preaching – in addition to putting the article on my wall, as I normally do, I went a step further and shared on the walls of a few of my outspoken feminist friends. Yet even that is contributing to rape culture.

My first suprise

I expected some negative backlash on the wikinut page. If the comments on the news article FB page were any indication, I expected a lot of negative backlash. People around here have been brain-washed into believing that if a girl is raped, it must be her fault. Many around here also believe that scantily clothed females bodies stir male lust.

In the past two days, that article has received approximately 1,000 views on Wikinut. The response has been very positive. After the first day, as I mentioned, I posted on my friend's walls. But the reason I say I am contributing to rape culture in doing this is because rape isn't just a feminist issue or a woman's issue. I wrote about how everyone was affected. However, I am still caught up in a world of trying not to offend people who want to bury their heads in sand or tell me to shut up. I reached out to those women whom I felt would support me and also those who I felt would share the article with other like-minded people. It's a small step in the right direction. This article is another small step in the right direction.

On my post, I received support and more support. But then I received a PM from a friend thanking me for the article. She is an ultra-conservative, ultra-modest, high school friend of mine. You see, I had forgotten, or hadn’t realized, that she is also an executive director of a women’s shelter. She loved my article. I don’t know why I thought she wouldn’t. I don’t know who would object to my article – besides rapists and slut-shamers. She gave me some statistics about rape so I could be informed if I wrote more articles. But one thing I noticed -- there is no statistic that tells what percentage of underwear must be showing before a rape occurs. Don’t you find that interesting?

A different angle

A different person thought I should have written from the angle as the mother of a young man. And she’s right that I should do that. I have a son. He’s 10. He is distracted by everything. Girls, Pokémon cards, dust molecules, even his own hands and feet can be major distractions. He would be equally distracted whether the girl was fully clothed, topless, in a bikini top, or nude.

His being easily distracted, however, is his problem, his teachers’ problem (times nearly every boy in class), and my problem as his mother who wants him to do well in school. It is not the problem of his young female classmate to make sure that my son learns. She is not the teacher. She is not responsible for the decisions he makes. Taking girls aside and telling them in essence that they are responsible for my son’s behavior is demeaning to him because it asserts that he cannot control his body against sexual impulses. That is insulting to him and to me as his mother. My child is not allowed to fight on the playground. He isn’t allowed to take things that don’t belong to him. So why would anyone THINK to tell a young lady that her body was different? That the effect she would have on some boy like my son was more important than how she felt about herself and whether she was in comfortable attire for her own learning. As the mother of a young man, I will repeat: boys are not rapists and girls are not sex objects.

Why do school officials present slut-shaming as modesty? Two possibilities:

What really worries me is one of two possibilities: first, that school officials believe they are doing girls a favor and protecting them from potential rape by slut shaming. Slut shaming does not equal rape prevention. If it did:

<*>nuns would never be raped.
<*>Women wearing burkas (or burqas) would never be raped.
<*>Old women would never be raped.
<*>Babies as young as two would never be raped.
<*>One out of 33 males would never be raped*.

Countless experts can tell people that rape is not about the victim. Rape is not even about sexual desire. For more statistics, here is an excellent site. Rape is about control, plain and simple.

*http://www.rainn.org/get-information/statistics/sexual-assault-victims

Spread Awareness to Prevent Rape and End Slut Shaming

So I’m just one more advocate – just one more voice among the people standing up and standing out to speak out. There are more eloquent speakers and bloggers about this subject. One is Melissa McEwan with this blog post on rape culture. Another is bass_chick57@lovelyish who posted on datingish. There is also a phenomenon known as Slutwalk, where people march in protest to slut shaming. You can read more about Slutwalk here.

Coitus Interruptus

My friend from the women’s shelter reminded me about date rape, or perhaps the difference between consentual sex, date rape, and the term “coitus interruptus” – the condition of sexual failure because the girl’s parents walked in. Or the roommate walked in. Or the phone rang. Or someone rang the doorbell. Or pulled up in the driveway. Or knocked on the bedroom door.

If sexual urges were as in-controllable as slut-shamers claim, these events would not stop sexual encounters. Stopping rape generally takes a stronger threat of force.

The Second Possibility

The second possibility that worries me is more sinister – and it’s the belief my husband ascribes to: that these school officials know the statistics. They know that the words they are saying will have zero impact on rapes that occur all too often among their student body. They are well aware that it is nationally estimated that 65% of rapes never get reported (Source: RAINN) or that less than 2% of rape allegations are determined false, which is in line with false reports of theft and other crimes. So if these officials know the statistics, my fear is that they don’t care. Like rapists, they want to control the minds of young women, and they don’t have a problem with using slut shaming to do so. Why else would 65% of rapes -- which happen by people the victims know in many cases -- not get reported (Source: RAINN)?

Recognition of Gender Equality, Respect for Others -- These Will Reduce Rape

In this country that I love, a country that is supposed to be the model for equality and freedom, there is a huge divide on equality related to sex and gender. Homosexuality is frowned upon. Abortion is considered evil. Slut shaming is commonplace. Rape happens too often to think that there is enough being done to prevent it. Teenage pregnancy is shameful. Women who file for child support have to provide greater detail about their sex lives and partners than the man who evades paying child support – even though paternity is determined solely by DNA. Boys who are virgins when they marry are uncool nerds. Women who aren’t virgins when they marry are called “whore,” "slut,” and worse. Double-standards abound. The great debate still exists on whether or not women belong in the workplace with men on equal footing. And none of this takes into account those who are transgender or intersex – groups of people who have taken lots of abuse for being born differently gendered.

It is the job and the responsibility of those of us who are strong to help those that aren’t – through our words and through our actions. If someone is in a bad situation, I hope they have the courage and the support to get out. Our public schools should be the forefront of that support. When they are not, it is our job as parents to call them on it. Nuns get raped. Nice girls get raped. We need rape to stop. Rape of the body, rape of the mind – it all needs to stop.

Tags

Abstinence, Behavior Modification, Behavior Pattern, Behaviour, Boys, Boys Versus Girls, Date Rape, Girls Clothing, Rape, Rape And Law, Rape Solution, Rape Victim, Rape Victims, Slut Shaming, Teach Etiquette To Children, Teachers, Teaching

Meet the author

author avatar Phyl Campbell
I am "Author, Mother, Dreamer." I am also teacher, friend, Dr. Pepper addict, night-owl. Visit my website -- phylcampbell.com -- or the "Phyl Campbell Author Page" on Facebook.

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Comments

author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
29th Aug 2013 (#)

It is a tough and rough world and women have to be on guard against perverts in many countries. I do not know whether the perception can change anytime soon. Bullies are after soft targets all the time. Thought provoking topic Phyl, thanks - siva

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
29th Aug 2013 (#)

Thanks, Siva!

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author avatar Terry Trainor
30th Aug 2013 (#)

Rape is a brutal hate crime there are no excuses or any misunderstandings.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
31st Aug 2013 (#)

Agreed.

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author avatar VennerRoad
12th Nov 2014 (#)

Empty vessels make most noise; most of this nonsense happens on campus and has no relation to real rape. I suggest you check out "Who Invented Rape Culture?" to start with, and the rational analyses of people like Angry Harry.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
12th Nov 2014 (#)

I don't know you, VennerRoad, but I've studied plenty. Rape Culture is not an invention and I'd appreciate your help putting an end to rape. There is no need for me too accept anything less from you.
Nonsense on campus? Please have a care, sir. If you do not understand the problem, than you need to educate yourself. A woman's clothing is not an invitation to be raped, as my article clearly points out. Changing the argument does not dilute any point I have saliently made.

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