Julianne Roth is a journalism senior and Mustang Daily sex columnist.
It’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and in honor of its victims everywhere, I decided to discuss it.
To start, a man struts down a dark street in his partially buttoned shirt and tight, black jeans. Suddenly, he’s dragged into an alley by two men and his expensive pants are ripped off.
What did he expect to happen? He was asking for it in that outfit.
If blaming a rape on a person’s outfit didn’t sound idiotic to you before, I hope it does now.
This narrative is not meant to generate the slightest bit of comedy. Rape is not funny under any circumstances. In my opinion, “rape jokes” perpetuate flawed thinking in the subconscious, which seeps into our conscience, corrupts our tongues and (sometimes) manifests itself in our actions.
Men aren’t lions
I watched a YouTube video recently titled “How to Avoid Getting Raped.” The “YouTuber” in the video had large breasts, and she was proudly showing them off.
One of the comments read, “Women should expect to get raped in an outfit like that. It’s like throwing meat in front of lions.”
I wouldn’t use an abhorrent example like this if it was an anomaly. Sadly, I have read and heard numerous comments that spew this senselessness — the only difference among these comments is the feckless moron behind each one.
First, let’s address the fallacy in this inane metaphor that men are equivalent to lions.
It’s beyond me to even attempt to comprehend what it is like to have a Y where I have an X.
The plasma concentration of testosterone in men is seven to eight times greater than that in women.
Notice I specify concentration and not production because of the fact that men use and need loads more of it than women.
I briefly discussed the positive effects of testosterone in my column “Sex does a body good.” However, the same hormone that makes men so tasty also makes them scary.
In laymen’s terms, testosterone gives most men increased strength, and more aggressive tendencies and sexual urges when compared to most women.
If so desired, a strong, sexually charged man coming at you with a hard-on can be exciting — but if not desired, it’s a terrifying predicament.
So why don’t men mount anything they want whenever they want?
The separation between man and beast lives within the skull — mostly in the frontal lobe, where reasoning and higher functioning are controlled.
Therefore, when a man catches a glimpse of a woman barely dressed in a short skirt, pair of heels and cleavage-revealing top, he has the cognitive power to control his physical hungers.
Women aren’t pieces of meat
Clothing is just one way for a person to express themselves.
When I wear cleavage-revealing tops and dresses, I’m not asking for people to put their hands on me and force their appendage(s) into my orifices.
I’m not asking for anything.
I’m sure many women can vouch for this statement.
Putting on a little black dress, red heels and Ruby Woo lipstick in no way says, “Please, have sex with my body.”
The only true indicator that a woman is willing and able to have sex with you is simple, really: she will tell you with her words.
And “no” really does mean “no” — even if her tits are out and she’s drunk off tequila. No matter what.
Your basic right to give consent doesn’t mystically disappear when you put on or take off a certain piece of clothing.
Boundaries can get blurred when alcohol and sex are mixed — this dangerous cocktail deserves a column of its own, so I may discuss this later.
Furthermore, if covering every inch of skin protected people from being raped, burkas would be popular all over the world.
Blame the rapist
Rape can often be about dominance, power and control. Sometimes, it has little to do with how the victim looks or dresses.
For many reasons (some are stated above), women are blamed for being raped. I can name at least 10 women who have been raped and have yet to report it.
It’s estimated that only 11 percent of rapes are reported in the United States. Could this be the result of victim-blaming?
You already know what I think.
Believe the victim
The Start by Believing Campaign is an important tenant of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, which I hope remains a way of thinking and responding to sexual assault in the Cal Poly community even after this month concludes.
For further information about the campaign, Sexual Assault Awareness Month or sexual assault you can visit Safer in the Gender Equity Center in the Julian A. McPhee University Union.