repost from my Tumblr
There is one thing about this whole discussion about rape and “asking for it” and feminism and everything connected to it that has been bothering me for a long time.
Rape, violence, robbery, any crime defined as such by laws, is inexcusably wrong. It is a failure of society and history that such crimes exist to begin with, just as much as it is part of that failure that crimes continue to exist. Be that as it may, they DO exist. They are committed, every day, all over the world. That doesn’t make them right or anything. Fact is though, the world is far from being perfect.
Now, imagine the following. You walk on the sidewalk and someone heads towards you. The sidewalk is narrow and that idiot heading in your direction is engrossed in their phone. Has maybe even headphones on. What do you do? Do you continue walking until the person runs into you? Or do you step aside? I, most certainly, will complain very loudly so that the person will notice me, even despite headphones, and hopefully their own wrongdoing. I wouldn’t mind either if people around me notice. But that doesn’t mean I won’t step aside also.
Point I’m getting at is something I learned a few years back and that has changed my world view drastically: You can’t change others. You can’t change the behavior of a random stranger in the streets. In case of such stranger you can’t even know what they are thinking, or what they are about to do.
Rapists, just as much as robbers and other criminals, exist. It’s a fact. You won’t recognize them as such when they walk by. They don’t have funny noses, special clothes, or a note on their forehead. Neither can you go to them and tell them what they *think* about doing is wrong because you won’t know the think about it until they do it.
So when I go outside with a short skirt, I should be able to do it without having to fear that some people out there take it as invitation to assault/rape me. I should be able to live my life without having to worry about what might others assume is “asking for it”. In reality though, I can’t. Because I know there are people who will believe I dressed like this just for them, and that it allows them to do to me everything they want without my permission.
Consequently, I don’t wear short skirts. When I know I have to take public transport to go home late in the evening or at night, I choose my clothes accordingly. I try not to be alone outside at these times even though I think compared to other places in the world it is rather safe around here.
I can’t change others, as much as what they do or want to do is wrong. Burglary/theft is wrong as well, but just because I think so doesn’t mean I will leave my door unlocked. Just because I, and everyone else who would never commit a crime, have common sense, doesn’t mean others have it. My common sense won’t simply transfer to potential criminals just because I walk by, or because they enter a property that bears my thinking in whatever way.
So what I do is not wearing a short skirt or leaving my door open simply because I know anyone taking this as invitation to commit a crime is wrong. I know, and you know, but some people – too many people – don’t. Don’t care either. It doesn’t make the world any better, but maybe it can make our lives, your personal life, a little bit easier if you try to make sure that you don’t do anything you endanger yourself with. Because the sad truth is that we live in a world where not everything is all right, where crimes are committed, and where people think a short skirt or an open door is all the permission they need.
Do I like being limited like this? No, definitely not. Is it okay that our society that flies to the moon and heals deadly diseases can’t stop rapists and burglars and other criminals from doing what their twisted mind makes them believe is okay to do? No, not in the least. But am I rather safe before I live a freedom our world sadly doesn’t allow? Yes.
There is still a long way, a long fight, ahead. So let’s be safe. And fight till what now would be considered a freedom becomes normality.