Yesterday Twitter was ablaze (or @squeamishbikini’s Twitter feed was, what with all those feminists we insist on following) with a new Welsh poster urging women not to be such drunken hussies, reminding them alcohol features in two thirds of all rapes. It follows the recent banning of short skirts in some schools around the UK. The schools said this was in a bid to protect school girls unaware that short skirts are involved in over a third of rape cases. I made that figure up. A figure I didn’t make up was this: nearly a third of people say a woman was partially or totally responsible for being raped if she was drunk and a quarter believe a woman is partially or totally responsible for being raped if she is wearing sexy or revealing clothing.
Which is how it creeps in. In a country known for a seedy underbelly and love of tabloid hysteria everything is now examined through a porn filter. This naturally expands into ‘asking for it’ territory because the porn plot is all about knowing what a woman really wants. So, in blame culture, it is clear what message these girls are giving whilst wearing their school uniform. And apparently it’s not that they are going to school.
Of course, as pointed out in the Telegraph, by Bryony Gordon, “schools across the land were reported to be banning them due to ‘serious safeguarding issues’, which I believe is health and safety speak that roughly translates as ‘girls put themselves in danger by wearing short skirts’. Because as we all know, maniac sex attackers never look twice at girls in long skirts, or ones wearing trousers.” As I have mentioned before, becoming a teenager is a pretty heady time and if you can’t fill a training bra the least you can do is hitch your damn skirt up a couple of inches.
And the least we can do is tell them is that they look great. Instead of putting up posters and handing out leaflets about how if they carry on like this they will get raped and it will be their fault. How about we try and give these girls some self-esteem?
There’s no item of clothing women can avoid, or level of sobriety they can reach that will prevent rape. This is the fact we don’t want to face.