For fuck sake! Just when you think that adult humans have gotten to the point of supreme intelligence and understanding something happens to make me wonder whether we’ve ever actually dragged ourselves out of the primordial soup. Today, we can all thank Tory MP Richard Graham for that. Both he and his comments about rape have made me wonder whether he’s spotted pillaging Vikings on the bloody horizon.
Here’s why. The no-doubt usually delightful Mr Graham (I won’t invoke the inaccurate term of ‘right honourable’) has said that women increase their risk of being raped by wearing short skirts and getting drunk while out n about. “If you are a young woman on her own trying to walk back home through a park early in the morning in a tight, short skirt and high shoes and there’s a predator… if you are blind drunk and wearing those clothes, how able are you to get away? It’s not about the impact of your clothes on a potential predator – it’s about whether the clothes you’re wearing make it harder to get away from a predator. “
Graham claims that he’s not blaming the rape on the clothes, he’s simply saying that women are hindered in escaping from marauding sexual attackers by dint of what they wear.
Perhaps if all of this is about escaping from rapists we should start dressing for nights out by wearing trainers, running vests, sports bras and lycra shorts, just in case we need to make athletic getaways. Oh, hold on, though, not lycra. It’ll cling to your curves and enflame your rapist even further. So stick to cotton, OK? Baggy cotton. Ideally grey, because black is sexy and red is slutty, yellow will draw attention to you, pink suggests virginal and blue might be too demure. Oh and for Christ sake, stay away from green. Green will just holler ‘go!’ giving any given attacker the green light to rape even if they’d not thought of it beforehand.
Well thanks Graham. No really, thanks. There I was labouring under the notion that rape was a crime perpetrated by men when really the crime is perpetrated by women, slutty short skirted women who are willing to gamble their safety for the sake of fashion.
See, it doesn’t matter if Graham’s comments are about women attracting rapists or being able to escape from them. They all amount to the same thing: that women are culpable for their own sexual assault. So what if the rapist was there anyway, lurking in the alleyway waiting for a passing victim? It’s the victim’s fault that her assault was so prolonged because had she been wearing flat shoes and jeans she could have legged it sooner, perhaps somewhere between him pulling down her knickers and sticking his penis into her.
Look, you must be sick of me banging on (Oooh! I said ‘bang’! Rape me!) about rape, so imagine how I feel having to write about, yet again, why so many people fail to understand why rape has nothing to do with what women wear.
Women get raped in a thousand different situations. The woman in a burka in a war-torn nation as she’s protecting her kids, the victim of domestic abuse who’s in her dressing gown, the factory worker in her uniform and the office worker tramping home in the winter in her long coat, scarf, gloves and hat. So do you really think that what they wear contributes to whether they’re raped? No. So how in the fuck does that rule change just because a woman is wearing a short skirt and fucking sequins?
MP Graham thinks he is clever and nuanced for making the distinction between the rape and the escape but the truth is that he’s as bad as anyone who claims that clothes are to blame. Because the blame doesn’t then lie in the clothes, it lies with the woman who chooses to wear them.
It looks like Graham had better be wearing his own trainers and shorts because attack on him for his remarks is likely to go on for some time to come. And yes, he’s been asking for it.
So what do you think of this guy’s remarks? Has he got a point? or is he talking cock? Do let me know, darlings.