Those Women Who Walk Around Just Asking for It


It is absurd (and terribly sad) to fight for the right to be free, just to turn around and exist in (socially expected) self-confinement.

After I decided to participate in the Denim Day 2013 link-up, I invited a few friends who don’t have blogs to send me a picture and a message with their thoughts on the topic. A lady who works for a faith based nonprofit organization that assists individuals affected by HIV and AIDS, emailed me to say that she thought the whole thing was an excellent idea. She also told me, “Don’t go around wearing anything skimpy. You don’t want to look like those women who walk around just asking for it.”

I got angry. So much so that I told a group of my friends that I wasn’t going to participate on Denim Day. I was a bit afraid that my rage would translate into negative vibes that would only hinder the efforts of a cause that calls for strength, courage, and the embracing of freedom. Then my Wicked Darling friends Loren and Lorelei (the Ls are strong with these ones) reminded me that I should never allow anyone’s lack of insight to take away my voice.

So today, I summon the bravery of every survivor who asked a sexual attacker to stop, and I add my voice to their plea in order to scream that: no item of clothing, no certain look, no sexy smile, no accepted date, NOTHING a person wears or does should be taken as an excuse for rape.

Anyone who suggests otherwise…
- would be spitting in the face of a 16-year-old girl who was nearly raped by her uncle, and then was told by her grandmother that “she would have never been attacked if she didn’t dress like a whore.” 

- would be laughing at a woman who was thrown into a car, sodomized by a couple, and when she asked the man and woman to stop, they knocked out her front teeth and shattered her face with a beer bottle.

- would be helping the beast who tied up a man to his toilet for ninety-six hours, and every time the man asked him to stop, the beast would answer by burning the man’s testicles with a hot spoon and raping him again, and again, and again…  
The 16-year-old girl was sleeping on her couch; she was wearing a sweat suit. The woman was coming back from a Thanksgiving dinner; she wore an oversized flannel shirt and jeans. On the day the beast abducted the man, the victim was wearing a camouflaged uniform that covered him from neck to feet.

No one is “asking for it.” The mere suggestion of such a thing puts the blame on rape survivors and violates them all over again. Don’t say anything that gives power to attackers. Instead, let’s aim our energy towards educating the public, fighting ridiculous legislations, and building a society where a piece of clothing doesn’t have to remind those charged with protecting our freedom of their responsibilities.

I am a 36-year-young woman. I have earned the right to wear whatever I want.
My choice of attire should not suggest to anyone that I’m “asking for it.”
If you think you heard my clothes asking you to do something to me,
then you need to go ask a psychiatrist about those nasty lying voices in your head.

In the words of my friend Renee’s husband, “Keep your hands in your own pockets…” 
Fly over to Secrets of a Sweet Southern Girl and see who else is wearing denim and spirit in 2013. 


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65 comments:

  1. Awesome!! Post Magaly. You did it again. This reminded me of the night I was almost raped and I was fully clothed. Like the 'L' ladies said you should never let anyone stop you from speaking this is who you are and not speaking is letting those who what you to be quite. SO please never stop. :) <3

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    1. I think people mean well (most of the time), but their good wishes can sound very harsh (and straight out stupid) when it comes to issues as difficult as rape. We shouldn't let anyone think that to do that is okay in any way.

      I'm sorry someone tried to hurt you.

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    2. Thank you. It was longtime ago and my husband has helped me heal. Sometimes I do remember it but I try most of the time to be positive and think of the good things in my life and that the goddess was looking out for me that night.

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  2. You are great.

    And the things your friend said make me so sad, and so angry. I know so many people who clearly did not ask for it - no matter what they were wearing. I hope she steps on a lego.

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    1. I'm awesome... and modest, don't forget ;-)

      Good gracious no! that woman isn't my friend. Had she been, I would have told her everything that was in my mind. She is a prevention counselor (go ahead, laugh) at a nonprofit the educates people about HIV and AIDS. One of my former clients told her about Denim Day and she contacted me. We were exchanging emails about the upcoming NYC AIDS Walk when she spilled her bit of 'wisdom.'

      I hope that lego is set precariously on a three-foot tower...

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  3. Such an actual cause in the light (or darkness?) of all the events here in India. Now news channels every day speak about different cases of rape..including that of children! did THEY ask for it? Nonsense! Those psychos are dragging our society into **hit! Shame and no excuse!

    You look fabulous wearing jeans and denim shorts, we all do, and it is important to stand our ground otherwise things will never change.
    Hugs and blessings your side, Magaly!

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    1. If we don't speak for ourselves and hold on to our own freedoms, it is very likely that others won't care to do it for us--at least not forever.

      Rape is a horrible thing, and when the victim is a child the horror multiplies... the idea alone leaves me nervous, suspicious, and ready to retaliate.

      Hugs right back at you, my friend.

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  4. As if there EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER could be ANY, ANY, ANY, ANY justification for rape.

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    1. Some people seem to have forgotten about this. And in an effort to explain something horrible, they end up justifying the monster and destroying the victim.

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  5. Your passion left me shuddering.....a woman who works with HIV sufferers thinks clothes say your asking to be raped???????? I hope she will be reading your post, if not you should mail her a copy. Sending love , comfort and courage to all survivors XXX

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    1. You understand the hurt. Her ignorant comment would have annoyed me if she was someone else--in a different position. But few groups have been so unjustly blamed for their pain as those affected by HIV. I wanted to slap the woman; remind her that if she had no compassion, at least she could do the job she's being paid to do.

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  6. I have no use, no compassion for rapists. They are worth less than dead soil. I have even less use for laws allowing a rapist custody/visitation rights to children born of their crime. This also means that a rapist can file an injunction request should the woman make it known she is going to abort. I believe that Ct. is one of these states.

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    1. I have a friend who has had to deal with something similar. It has been more than devastating for her family. It should be a no-brainer. A person who molests/abuse/hurt/rape/traumatize a child should be given no chance to do it again; not even the suggestion of a possibility. Instead, my friend and her family have been up to their necks going to court because the abusers are asking for custody and the court is considering. It's a painful shame.

      And right now, I want to puke on CT.

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  7. This post is the need of the hour...My country is mired in rape cases. Two days back a 5 year girl was brutally raped. Two candles and a bottle was inserted into her vagina.Last month, there was another rape case where the women died. I still do not know how to take all these.

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    1. Oh my sweet gods, 5-years-old? I hope she can heal... and I pray the soul of that poor woman finds peace. Things shouldn't be this way... we should be better to each other.

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  8. It makes me totally sick to see those rape apologistic and victim blaming statements. The only reaction to it, is to become angry as heck and be all over the place with it. *nod-nod*

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    1. Sometimes I try to make sense of their reasoning, then I have to stop because I just end up getting angrier. Some things shouldn't be that freaking harder to see. But some people have made holding on to their blinders into an art. It's sad...

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  9. Important post. Important message. The woman who wrote about 'asking for it' was coming from a different place and time and hopefully is open to change. When I was your age my anger over things like that knew no bounds, these days I am less angry, more cognizant of the fact that she needs help too. (Some benefits to aging??) You look fab in your denim, girl!

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    1. I am getting better, Francie. I'm not sure if I would have been able to keep myself from smacking the woman, had she said that 15 years ago. Today, I have gone a bit Canadian (like one of my friends say) I write a lot of letters to those who have the power to get rid of people who shouldn't be in certain positions.

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    2. "gone Canadian" - love that!

      And Francie M, thanks for posting your comment. You've just talked some sense back into my angry head. :)

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    3. She is a wise one, our Francie.

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  10. Heres to a little 7 yr old girl, who blamed herself for her brothers perversity, because she was wearing a very modest night gown in front of him. May no child grow up blaming her/himself for the terrible actions of others.

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    1. No one should. The idea is repugnant. And like Francie said, people who think otherwise need help--only a very sick individual can believe something like that. I hope that 7-year-old babe is a better place, today.

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  11. People need to stop "blaming the victim." Events like this help raise consciousness -- good for you!

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    1. The more we know, the less horribly we behave, right? Some out of common decency others out of fear of the law. Whichever works for me, as long as people are not getting hurt.

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  12. GOOD FOR YOU !!!!!!!!!!

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  13. Magaly this is so very close to home for us here at the Cuckoos Nest. Both the grands deal with their part (none) in their treatment by their father and grandfather in SC. They are still in the stages of "what did I do to cause this", the why. I myself was molested by my father for many years. I am dumbstruck when it comes to how many times in my 6 decades I have heard of rape, molestation, incest from people. Today I am still angry, hurt and betrayed by the perpetrators of this violence. I shall wear my denim today with pride and whole lot of "up yours" to all those filthy humans who would rape.
    Thank you for bringing this to our attention. I'm sure I never would have heard of it otherwise. And woe to the woman who contacted you and spouted her ignorance.
    Oma Linda

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    1. I had you and the babes as I wrote this post. Their suffering and that of so many other children in their place made that woman's comment a lot more difficult to digest. After I wrote the post, fumed (and read Francie's comment) I sent her an email. She hasn't replied yet, but I hope she does. I asked her if she would be willing to have coffee or tea with me. I asked if she would be willing to explain her reasoning, for I sure want to explain mine.

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  14. OH what a great cause! I am off to put on my blue jeans, the tight ones that according to short minded individuals are "asking for it" but I wear them because they make me feel good not because I want something.

    Great empowering insightful strong wonderful post! I am going to put it on my FB page.

    Hugs
    Caroline

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    1. I can't wait to see your "feel good" jeans. I have a pair of those. They are not in the picture, but they are my first grown-up pants. My dad got them for me when I was in 10th or 11th grade. They are soft, and have some tiny holes, and they fit perfectly... they make me happy ;-)

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  15. So...that woman who said “Don’t go around wearing anything skimpy. You don’t want to look like those women who walk around just asking for it.” was so missing the point, and didn't even realize it. People like that amaze me.

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    1. People like her just confuse me...

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  16. May I share your post on my blog? And my facebook? And my google+?

    Seriously.

    "Asking for it" just pisses me off. I was 6 years old and wearing footie pajamas - the kind that covers everything but hands and head. I hear women say, "oh, but that's not asking for it, that's different." No, no it is not different. If I had been naked, I would not have been asking for it. If I had been older, I would not have asked for it. There is no excuse, no justification.

    Ok, cutting my rant off there. Otherwise you'll end up with a whole post in your comments, lol. Anyway, thanks for posting!

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    1. Ok, I have to ask: what the crap is that thing behind you in the top photo?

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    2. You are more than welcome to share an excerpt with the link for people to come back to it. I'm always interesting in comments that can add to the conversation. That is what Pagan Culture is all about! And, sweet babe, you can always rant here...

      Now my heart is broken. My inner geek is in tears. How can you not recognize the Deep Space Nine Station? Located near the Bajoran planet and the wormhole (or habitat for The Prophets) Okay, I'll stop and just tell you. It is a 'hologram' at a Star Trek convention ;-D

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    3. HAHA! I should have asked Archer - he would have recognized that anywhere!

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    4. Star Trek worshipers, um... fans unite! LOL

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  17. Ok, these things just add the "out" to the rage I carry around on a daily basis. A person should be able to walk NAKED down the street without being forcibly approached, violated, assaulted, sexually harassed or raped! (Though, an arrest for indecent behavior is different in every country.)

    Also - 90% of rape victims know their assailant, and what they were wearing at the time of the assault MAKES NO DIFFERENCE. Rape is NEVER about the victim, always about the perpetrator. He is a RAPIST.

    What the fuck was HE wearing? And why wasn't HE raped, huh? And here's the spit in the eye to many Americans - why is it ALWAYS religious crazies saying this stuff???

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    1. It's not just the religious people, but you are right in the fact that the outrageous comment more often come from the devout. While I was completing my counseling degree, I was sitting in a group counseling session gathering research for a project. One of the clients (a girl who was raped by her father and two brothers) said that she had support at home and was going to get through it. That god had a plan and her rape would make sense in the long run. I couldn't believe her comment or the amount of people nodding.

      I understand that some people need a reason, that for them is too difficult to just accept that there are worthless people walking the earth, but to go that far is just too much...

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  18. I applaud you and this post and the whole of Denim Day!
    Here, here!!
    Hugs
    SueAnn

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  19. The first time I was sexually assaulted was by my own father at the age of 10. Then, at age 12, it was by a family friend who had already gotten his 15 year old daughter pregnant. The last time was at the age of 18, by a guy friend whom I actually trusted, but he figured that trust meant something more.

    I never wore anything more "provocative" than a tshirt and jeans.

    Thank you for your words and your strength against creatures like these.

    \IiiI

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    1. I'm thanking the universe that helped you find a great partner to share your life with and to create those gorgeous girls of yours. It is wonderful to see that the horrible things the beasts did in the past didn't hold you back.

      Much love!

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  20. It is sad that so many people think this way! People judge other people on the way they look, so much! My heart goes out to all the people who have been victims of this horrible crime! Very powerful post Magaly!

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    1. And my heart stands right next to yours in show of support. No one deserves to hurt and then blamed for it. It makes no freaking sense.

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  21. In my mind... "asking for it" still has nothing to do with the choice the rapist makes to -be- a rapist. I don't care how provocative you are. You can be a kid who's never been taught self-ownership. You can be a stripper out back of the club one night. You can be a drunk girl going home from a night of dancing.

    I don't care. It is still the responsibility of the rapist to make the choice. "No" means "No." The absence of a "yes" still means "no." Period. End of story. And let's not even go into the things I believe should be done to those who choose to ignore being told no.

    Because I've been there. My "no" was ignored... I was 14, he was 17... and because I didn't know any better I continued to date the SOB until I was 17, when my first daughter was born. Part of me wishes I had taken him to court. The rest of me is just glad that my daughter and I were able to move past it.

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    1. I celebrate the fact that you were able not just to walk away, but to realized that you didn't have to stay. There are many people who aren't that lucky. I've heard so many clients saying things, like, "But we were a couple. I never knew it was rape." It breaks my heart just thinking about it.

      Your daughter has a great mama. And your Dragon was blessed with a very strong woman, but you already knew that... ;-)

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    2. To me, it just makes my relationship with my oldest daughter that much more special.

      Thank you, sister.

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    3. Indeed. You have each other to remind you of the important things in live. Hugs!

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  22. No one asks to be brutalized, humiliated and ignored....
    So sad :(

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    1. I'm not sure which is saddest: the fact that the violations happen, the ignorance of people who blame the victim, or the thought that anyone can really believe that someone would "ask" for such a thing. So sad, indeed.

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  23. Magaly, Thank you so much for posting and helping to spread the word about Denim Day and taking a stand against Sexual Violence. I think it's great you decided to e-mail and try and talk with the woman who made the ignorant comments. Those conversations are the only way we can change the way society views the issue.

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    1. Indeed. Open-minded conversation is one of the most powerful weapons. She hasn't replied yet, but I'm hopeful ;-)

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  24. There was this pop psychological test and one of the variables were that a girl had to get undressed to save someone and then got raped by a savage man. And then you had to decide who had more blame of all the people in the quiz. I got so mad when noone blamed the savage and everyone blamed the girl...
    I finished recently AlmaMia. I am so hooked. |And boy do i hate her sister. Her mother by the end i could tolerate, but her sister.Ishhk! I love Mamabuela though!!

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    1. Social conditioning is a total mess. We live in a society where something as natural as showing your body is seen as some sort of crime, and real violence is just 'something that can't be helped.' The whole thing makes me sick!

      Yay! You read AlmaMia. If you write a review, do send me the link ;-)

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  25. Anger at the right things isn't negative energy, I don't think - it's a power source for aiming it at the right place. Which you did here. Thanks for taking this on - that this garbage excuse for blaming the victim instead of the rapist still happens in the 21st century in our supposedly civilized culture makes me sad and angry beyond belief. We fought this fight 35 years ago, and seems to never end.

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    1. It is upsetting and shameful, indeed. This kind of thing shouldn't happen. EVER. I can barely believe that we can be so backwards as a society. Let's hope education and speaking out would help to do something about it. Maybe in 35 more years society will be outraged by the thought of it.

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  26. Too bad I read this today instead of when it happened I would have loved to join in as a rape survivor.

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    1. There is always next year. You have a long time to get ready. Who knows, maybe you can come to The City and we can attend Denim Day NYC together. Heck, we might even do a story/photography for it!

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  27. I would have liked to have read this sooner, but my computer was offline due to a power outage in my neighborhood. I wasn't necessarily angry, as I was saddened by the fact that a woman who is supposed to be skilled in helping those in need is unable to come to terms with rape.

    No one is ASKING for it, and even if they appear to be, the word NO means NO, regardless what language it's spoken in: Ei, He, 无, Ne, Nej, Peu, Nein; Nicht, Όχι, नहीं, Nem, Tidak, Nr, Nao, Nu, Het, ไม่ใช่, No, and Không to name a few!!!

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  28. I'm still waiting for her to email me back. I asked her to have tea with me, I want to see where she's coming from. Like you, I was surprised by her take on the whole issue, and I really want to know how she works with such population thinking the way she does.

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  29. YOU GO GIRL!!! No woman or man ever "asks for it." It takes a sick and demented asshole to get any sort of pleasure in forcing another (by any means) into such submission. Your voice speaks loud and clear, and on behalf of myself and all others who have been subjugated against our will, thank you so much for those storming ovaries who defend those who need it most. (Hugging you tightly) Mina

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    1. Hugging you right back. And my ovaries are feeling very proud right now ;-)

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