Jun 282011
Authors: Dan Cope

Since April, women and men around the globe have been gathering together for “Slut Walks” in order to protest a culture that places blame on the victim of rape crimes and not on the aggressor.

The walks were organized shortly after a Toronto police officer’s remarks implied, “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order to not be victimized.”

These walks have been held across the world: from Amsterdam to Wellington, London to Boston. More are planned and turn-outs have been great so far.

There’s just one catch…

These walks address a problem that exists at the basis of our society and is largely unfixable.

No matter how much we want to wish them away, bad people exist in our world. Crime exists — be it theft, arson, rape, or murder.

We don’t live in an idyllic utopia and, despite our best efforts, we never will. Sexual assault crimes have decreased by more than 60 percent in the last 13 years, but in 2007 there were still 248,300 victims of rape, attempted rape or sexual assault in the United States.

That’s one every two minutes.

No victim asks to be raped, and dressing in a revealing manner is certainly no excuse to be raped. Even if someone walks down the street completely naked, the rape is not their fault.

But we live in an ignorant world; and for better or for worse, the way someone dresses affects their risk for sexual predation.

I don’t leave my windows open, my car unlocked or my valuable things sitting outside my house because I don’t want them to be stolen. I never “ask” to be burgled, but over my life I have had, and seen, theft happen to both me and my friends. I took the steps necessary to minimize my chances of being stolen from, yet it still happened.

Perhaps it seems a bit crass to compare a simple burglary with any sexual assault. But as it turns out, the kind of person who commits those simple burglaries is the same kind of person who is likely to commit a sexual assault crime.

According to data from the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), 46 percent of rapists are rearrested within three years of their release for another crime. Of these, 18.6 percent are for a violent crime, and 20.5 percent are for a public-order offense.

We are all responsible for our own safety, and it’s immature of us to not be accountable for that responsibility.

The majority of people in our country will never be jailed for a crime; even fewer will ever be arrested for sexual assault or rape. Most people are good, just going through their daily business like the rest of us.

We, as adults, should be able and expected to restrain ourselves when it comes to provocative dress and sexual advances — and most of us do.

The real problem isn’t that our culture is one of “blame the victim” and “she was asking for it,” it’s that for every hundred people out there who won’t ever hurt someone in this way, there will always be one bad apple who will.

I think we can all agree that how a woman dresses does not dictate whether she wants to be raped or not –– nobody wants to be a victim.

So don’t blame our culture for these crimes; place the blame where it belongs — squarely on the shoulders of those members of society that perpetrate the rapes and sexual abuse.

Educate everyone on how to avoid those few bad people in our world, and not on how to change a culture that is still, for the most part, great.

Dan Cope is a senior economics major. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 12:29 pm

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