Saturday, 28 September 2013

The Sluts are Out and A Walking in Johannesburg, this day of September!

The Slut Walk movement aims at opposing dress and attire advice to women, if that advice is aimed at preventing women being raped. The movement started after a Canadian police official stated that dressing more modestly, might make a woman less of a target for rape. The movement also desires to legitimise the idea of a slut in a positive way, and to rid scantily attired women from being associated with shame.

This article seeks to combat some much promulgated misconceptions about rape, as well as to seek to combat the scourge which is rape. The author seeks to state that the Slut Walkers while well intentioned it would seem, are perhaps perpetuating the problem. Objectification of women is often associated with rape, as is pornography and prostitution use. This article seeks to find a better unifying solution, and to note the problems with the Slut Walk movement.

Latest studies suggest concerning trends

While the Slut Walkers and media tend to treat rape as a purely violent crime, the latest and still controversial studies on the terrible phenomenon, suggest that a large portion of the world's male population have raped and even gang raped women, and that this is often said to be for entertainment according to surveys of rapists. Other reasons include to prove the power the rapist has to his fellow men. The tendency of certain men to rape has also been correlated with the payment for sex and with use of pornography by rapists. Surveys suggest that many men believe it is not wrong for a woman to be raped if she dresses provocatively.

c.f. The Anatomy of a Rapist: Lancet study looks at the demographic indicators of men who rape.

Case examples from Italy show that women who dressed provocatively or stripped on Italian television found themselves subjected to sexual violence or stalking from viewers. A child who was dressed provocatively on the cover of Vogue also suddenly caught the eye of criminal men.

In his rape trial, His Excellency, Jacob G. Zuma, President of the Republic of South Africa stated that if a woman wears a short skirt she is asking for sex. His view, however unfortunate, is reflected by many other men in South Africa. A phenomenon known as corrective rape has emerged where women in short skirts are publicly raped as a punishment and where lesbians are also raped.

While nothing justifies rape, it is an unfortunate fact that many rapists seek to rape for entertainment or to boast. A person is unlikely to want to boast about raping a 90 year old woman or an ugly woman. Rapists often also solicit sex from prostitutes and also are known to gain a detached view of women as objects for their entertainment via pornography and other means, research has noted. The concept of operant conditioning might therefore apply to rapists also.

The Slut Walk has also adjoined a general opposition to rape and sexual violence to its primary mission in South Africa. Like Femen (founded and run by a man to 'get girls'), however, it engages in the use of women's bodies to promote its cause via sexualizing women.

Certainly, an opposition to rape is vital in South Africa where a third of girls and a quarter of boys are allegedly sexually abused. Reports that one in ten South Africa men have engaged in gang rape are also highly concerning.

However, a woman dressing in a provocative manner, especially in South Africa is endangered, given that many men have stated in surveys that a woman who does that is in their opinion: asking to be raped. Men are more likely to commit a horrid act if they feel entitled to.

Stating that certain behaviour creates the danger of making a victim a target is in no way taking away from the horror and violence of the act, nor does it make the victim guilty of her or his own rape. In fact, it is rather an insight into what actions can help a person be safer: in as much as advice that drinking alcohol can make a person more likely to be raped, is not saying that drunks deserve to be raped. The Slut Walk movement is essentially reactionary in that sense: stating that no matter how a woman acts that she is not guilty of assisting a culture of rape in its formation. The co-incidence of rape and pornography suggests otherwise: that objectifying women in pornography and sex trade might increase likelihood of rapes.

What is required is a national consciousness opposing rape, opposing the sexualization and objectification of women, which objectification hardens some men to the fact that women are their equals and deserve not to be hurt. As many rapists in any case watch pornography and solicit sex, seeing women dressed in a sexually provocative manner is unlikely to change their hearts. Combating the co-incidentals that are associated with rape, insuring proper forensics, fighting the violence in society which perpetuates via post traumatic stress and creates another generation of criminals, such efforts might be better placed to unite South Africa.

Rape is never acceptable, but sexualizing women, turning them into objects in the minds of misguided individuals, certainly is not the solution. If anything, the best solution would be to change the culture into opposing rape, but attacking the religions and morals and culture of South Africa to do so is hardly the correct route. A solution which is tailored to South Africa and can be championed by the moral figures of the nation, would more likely stop rape.

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