To All the Rapists Who Blame Women for Their Fashion Choices

To All the Rapists Who Blame Women for Their Fashion Choices

by Jessica Gaertner - Sep 23, 2019
Fashion News

It is a difficult time for women in South Africa right now. In fact, femicide has now officially been declared a national crisis.

Statistics show that a woman is murdered every three hours in South Africa, and many are assaulted and raped before their death.

It is no hidden secret that men often accuse women of dressing provocatively and ‘putting themselves on display’ when it comes to their fashion choices.

I decided to ask powerful women how they feel about the topic. Here is what two of the most influential celebrities in South Africa had to say.

Bonnie Mbuli

SA: How many women do you personally know that have experienced some form of sexual assault?

Bonnie: I know at least 5 women that have experienced sexual assault.

SA: How would you respond if a man questioned a survivor on what they were wearing when the attack took place? 

Bonnie: A man questioning what a survivor was wearing is saying that it’s okay to rape someone if you feel attracted to them, it’s saying that they are asking to be violated and deserve violence, there is something very debased about that question.

SA: Do you believe women should dress however they want, wherever they want? 

Bonnie: I think women have a right to dress however they want, secondly, they have the responsibility to dress in a manner that makes them feel free and beautiful, as well as in a manner that suits whatever activity they are participating in.

SA: Did you know that you can now purchase anti-rape underwear? How do you feel about the fact that people are now manufacturing anti-rape clothing?

Bonnie: Any rape underwear is an attempt at protecting women from getting or rapped or at least creating a barrier to entry, I get it. It’s an idea that might work in some instances, but rape is about more than sex, if a man is intent on hurting a woman, he will.

SA: Did you know that people advise for women to wear specific hairstyles in order to avoid rape? According to statistics, rapists are most likely to go after a woman with a ponytail, bun, braid or other hairstyle that can easily be grabbed. They are also likely to go after a woman with long hair. Women with short hair are not common targets.

Bonnie: I have heard about the hairstyle theory, and It’s a crazy idea to wear your hair in a way that protects  you from rapists, although if all women wore their hair short, it wouldn’t stop rape.

SA: While marching against gender based violence, what message would you boldly hold high while taking a stand?

Bonnie: A nation that murders its women and children is one that seeks to commit autogenocide.

SA: Do you feel that women’s fashion choices are the problem? 

Bonnie: I certainly know that women’s clothes are not the problem, because we also then have to ask, are children’s clothes the problem?

Tumi Morake

SA: How many women do you personally know that have experienced some form of sexual assault?

Tumi: 5 who have experienced some sort of sexual assaults, and a few more who have experienced sexual harassment of some sort.

SA: How would you respond if a man questioned a survivor on what they were wearing when the attack took place? 

Tumi: I would ask them why they don’t ask what the perpetrator was wearing since the attack left me bare right down to my soul anyway.  I would also ask what outfit makes them crave a rape.

SA: Do you believe women should dress however they want, wherever they want? 

Tumi: Absolutely. Unless you are in an establishment that comes with a dress code for men and women I don’t understand why we need extra special instructions on how to dress. Women get raped dressed in full hijab, people must not come talk nonsense about clothes and violation.

SA: Did you know that you can now purchase anti-rape underwear? How do you feel about the fact that people are now manufacturing anti-rape clothing?

Tumi: I think it is telling of the world we live in. And if that underwear is barrier to entry or a castrator I’ll buy it. I just wish it would repel the very thought from a would-be rapist though. It doesn’t solve the problem though, does it. 

SA: Did you know that people advise for women to wear specific hairstyles in order to avoid rape? According to statistics, rapists are most likely to go after a woman with a ponytail, bun, braid or other hairstyle that can easily be grabbed. They are also likely to go after a woman with long hair. Women with short hair are not common targets.

Tumi: That is hilarious! Where was this research done? WHAAAAAAAT?

SA: Did you know that no matter how a women dresses, there are rapists who will carry scissors in order to cut through any clothing? 

Tumi: I didn’t know that. I guess we need to start carrying scissors to defend ourselves. And guns. Maybe full on war regalia because it feels as though we are now walking targets.

SA: While marching against gender based violence, what message would you boldly hold high while taking a stand?

Tumi: YOU DON’T OWN ME.

SA: Do you feel that women’s fashion choices are the problem? 

Tumi: I think it is hilarious that anyone would suggest that the clothing is a problem. Honestly.  Maybe we should all walk around naked so our clothes don’t confuse or entice these men.

I would love to remind you that Style Authority is a proud ambassador for the TEARS Foundation.

TEARS Foundation provides access to crisis intervention, advocacy, counselling, and prevention education services for those impacted by domestic violence, sexual assault and child sexual abuse. Confidential services are provided to all victims at no charge.

TEARS is a women led organisation that provides help regardless of ethnicity, religion, culture or socio-economic background or location. TEARS Foundation provides assistance nationwide with a 24 hour free SMS service to anyone who has access to a cellphone.

For more information, please visit www.tears.co.za.

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