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Why blame the victims..?

Reem Antoon

Two men were warned by officials after they were sexually harassed by a group of spinsters at a party.

The two, who had shown up in tight jeans and shirts, were strictly advised to avoid crowded parties that had single women attending.

In another incident a Speedo clad man was harassed by a group of women at a water park. Officials said the women involved were arrested.

Seriously? What if it was these stories that broke out?

A recent incident at a water park in Bahrain has left many reeling with rage and anger at the response of government as well as park officials and others blaming the girls for their attire.

Many, including myself, were angered at the response of the park as well as the government officials who in essence blamed the victims instead of actually apologising to the concerned girls and detaining the boys involved.

I do not actually care if the girls knew the boys or not, or whether or not after the fact they were ok. The incident itself is NOT ok.

Regardless of where, or who the incident involved, such behaviour should never take place anywhere to anyone.

Women’s wardrobes are often cited as the cause of sexual crimes from an Indian politician blaming a mass molestation on women wearing ‘western clothes’ to a Canadian police officer telling a group of law students, ‘women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimised’ or actress Dame Angela Lansbury’s comment of ‘women must accept some blame for sexual harassment and abuse because they “go out of their way to make themselves attractive to men. We can’t make ourselves look as attractive as possible without being knocked down and raped.’

To me that is just abhorrent.

I am seriously amazed as to how some people can blame the wardrobe of an individual for the criminal behaviour of another.

It’s a common argument that is quite ridiculous!

A US Federal Commission on Crime of Violence study found that just 4.4 per cent of all reported rapes involved “provocative behaviour” on the part of the victim.

It also found that most convicted rapists could not remember what their victims were wearing.

Studies show that women with passive personalities, who tend to dress in layers, long pants and sleeves and high necklines, are actually more likely to be raped.

In one study, one in three college men said they would force someone to have sex if they could get away with it and that has nothing to do with clothing.

Let’s be frank anyone can be a victim of sexual harassment or rape, a nun, a girl in full hijab, a soldier, a young boy.

When boys or men are victims of sexual assault, do we insist that it was the way they dressed that prompted the assault?

We don’t warn men not to tempt women with their bare biceps, knees or other body parts or regulate what they wear so why does it fall on the woman that she is to blame for being the victim?

Reem Antoon is a former GDN news editor. She can be reached on:

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