Women have been bearing the highest burden of rape cases. The high rape cases among women are because they are perceived to be of weaker gender. Some rape cases have been attributed to the vulnerability of women and opportunities that present itself. Over the years, rape cases have been on the rise among women with public opinion divided on the increase. Many people attribute the rising rape cases to the dressing styles among the women since it triggers the rapists. On the other hand, some argue that rapists are taking advantage and looking for opportunities and because of that, clothing does not matter. The debate seems to be favoring women’s clothing as one of the common provocative factors to the increasing rape cases. Today, the mode of dressing is different from what it used to be as women wear the western world fashion that exposes most parts of their body. This indeed triggers the rapists because they take advantage of the exposed body parts and finds it easy to tear the loose female’s clothes. In this paper, I will oppose the notion that the dressing mode contribute to rape culture.
Women have a right to dress the way they want to enhance their self-esteem. This means that dressing in a certain manner is not a guarantee and call for rape. Women normally dress in short skirts to bring confidence in them and to look good (Willoughby 4). Similarly, some short skirts are meant for official use or attire at some workstations. This means that dress codes are not meant to provoke the rapist to do what they think is good for them. Therefore, it is unfair for women to wear long dress simply because the other dress triggers rapists. Women have a choice just like men to wear what they feel suits their personality. Because of this, there is no connection between rape and dress. After all, there are few cases of women being raped when in certain dress and the rape occurs to even those who are decently dressed such as those who are going to church.
Raping takes place when opportunity presents itself and this occurs when one is decently dressed or not (Sandra 40). For instance, people are raped in the bushes and parks where they are alone. At these places, the rapists do not consider the clothing that women have wore but are looking at ways of tearing the clothing so that one remains naked to favor him. In many times, women have been raped even when in tight jeans and sometimes when in clothes that does not provoke the rapists as claimed. Therefore, there is evidence that rape cases happens as per the prevailing opportunities. According to some studies, a woman who stays and walks alone presents a good opportunity for rapist (Peter 389). Similarly, the rapist does not consider the types of clothing that one wore but the opportunity that presents itself. This means that even a colleague whom you know very well can rape you. It is reported in some African states that even grandchild’s rape their grandmothers (Costello 3). This cannot be eluded to dressing styles of the grandmothers but the prevailing opportunities that permit rape.
Vulnerability is another factor that is associated with rape and not clothing (Beiner 127). Today, it is seen in both print and mass media that rapists are even in the family. Young children are raped by their close relatives or even brothers. The rape cases to this group of people do not happen because of the clothes they wear but because of their vulnerability. When children are left at home with male caretakers who have thirst for sex, they end up raping these kids not because they were clothed indecently but because they are propelled by the desire to rape. In other instances, female old colleagues are raped in their homes and this is not triggered by what they wear but the desire of the rapists. Even the Muslims women who cover all their bodies are raped when they are alone in their houses. The Muslims women use hijab to cover their faces so that they do not provoke the sexual hungry men but they are raped when vulnerability presents itself (Beiner 130). Therefore, it is false to say that clothes that women wear makes men to rape them; men rape even those who have all their bodies covered as in the case of the Muslim women.
Sexual objectivity among women has been rampant in schools and at the workplace and it has contributed to the increasing rape cases (Costello 5). Today, women are seen as sex objects by their male counterparts and this perpetuate the rape culture among the males. Similarly, no matter what one wears, women are seen as sexual objects that should be used anytime a male colleague feels he should have sex. Therefore, even the times a woman is not ready for sex, they are forced to have one, which is a form of sex. Sexual objectivity does not align to the clothes that a woman wear, decent or nude but it is gender based. It has a notion that a female gender is a sexual object that a male colleague can use anytime irrespective of age, life style, race, religion among others. Rape cases happen to all women from all the social backgrounds thus making it a universal affair. This conform that clothing plays no role since even the decently clothed women are perceived as sexual objects among men.
Although there are many reasons that denounce dressing codes or styles as causing rape among women, to some extent it is true. The dressing styles that are seen today among women are the major causes of rape cases witnessed in today’s society. Before the modern dressed were designed, rape was not a major concern because there were few cases being reported. Today, the mass media is celebrating the nudity of women and dresses exposing them. Thus, the rape cases are on the rise.
Current dressing styles are a provocation to rape. Although it is important to condemn those who rapes, it is equally important to go into the root causes of rape. Human beings are animals that only act on provocation and this is witnessed when women dress in tight dresses that expose their body parts in unprotected areas. It is true beyond doubt that prostitutes dress that way so that they attract the attention of male clients (Daily Mail 2). The same thing happens when female colleagues dress in a way that is not decent by exposing their thighs. As said by researchers, sex is in the brain and the much exposure to the nudity pictures of the female colleague is the more a male person develops a sexual desire to have sex and that pushes him to look for it from anywhere leading to rape (Daily Mail 2).
Other forms of rapes such as expressing the desire of using vulgar languages are because of the exposure among women from their dress codes. In some cases, men are tempted to touch women because of their figures that is exposed because of the clothing they wear. Were it not the clothing that women wear there ought to have been no problem and things would just be normal. It is also true that no one should be raped but at the same time, there should be measures to prevent rape by dressing in a manner that is accepted by the majority. In the traditional African society, there were no clothing and people, men and women walked half-naked in the streets but never raped one another. This mean that the circumstances under which the modern society operates requires decency because morality has been eroded. Therefore, as much as women have a right to dress in a way they want, they should be aware that we are in a society with decayed moral where media and fashion has a lot of influence in promoting rape culture. Thus, they should not dress in a way that provokes the male colleagues otherwise they will be raped and it will be too late for them to reclaim, meaning, prevention is better than cure.
Lastly, when women dress in a way that is not accepted within the society or by many people, they communicate a message that they need sexual intercourse. In every society, there are those dresses that are worn in the public and those worn in the public and when worn at the inappropriate place, they communicate a lot. It is for this reason that there are bedroom dresses that should not be worn in the public. Bedroom dresses triggers the couples so that they be in the sex mood. Because of this, there is a good correlation between the dressings and rape cases witnessed in the society. A woman cannot dress in a suggestive way and complains when raped. Therefore, clothing plays a role in the rape culture witnessed.
In conclusion, women’s dressings are not a right for men to rape them. Women have the right to their wardrobes in deciding what to wear as per the occasion. Rapes takes place everyday irrespective of what a woman wears. Some rape cases are because of the woman’s vulnerability and the availability of opportunities to the rapist. On the other hand women dressings are suggestive and some triggers and provoke the rapists. Therefore, there should be decency among the males and females to avert rape cases.
- Beiner, Theresa. Sexy dressing revisited does target dress play a part in sexual harassment cases. Duke Journal of Gender Law & Policy, 14.125(2007):125-152
- Costello, Carol. Sexy clothes don’t excuse sexual violence. 2014.
- Daily Mail. Women to blame for being raped. 2016.
- Peter, Glick. Evaluations of Sexy Women in Low- and High-Status Jobs. Psychology of Women, 2.3 (2005): 389
- Sandra, Tangri. Sexual Harassment at Work: Three Explanatory Models. Journal of Sociology, 33.40.
- Willoughby, Vanessa. Why it is never OK to blame women’s clothing for rape. 2015.