Yesterday, Nigeria was shook by a video that surfaced online. The video showed two men basically saying that mode of dressing among females, (both children and adults) is the cause of sexual abuse and sexual assault.
Sexual abuse, also referred to as molestation, is an undesired and unwanted sexual behavior from one person upon another. It is often perpetrated using force or by taking advantage of another. When force is immediate, of short duration, or infrequent, it is called sexual assault. The offender is referred to as a sexual abuser. The term sexual abuse also covers any behavior by an adult or older adolescent towards a child to stimulate sexually; they are referred to as pedophiles.
Sexual assault can be verbal, visual, or anything that forces a person to join in unwanted sexual contact or attention. Examples of these are voyeurism (when someone watches private sexual acts), exhibitionism (when someone is naked in public), incest (sexual contact between family members), and sexual harassment. It can happen in different situations, by a stranger in an isolated place, on a date, or in the home by someone you know.
It’s hardly a new concept to hear people say that wearing “provocative clothes” is the main cause of sexual assault, and the argument has been lampooned many times. Yet clearly, it persists.The question is why?
The stupid argument rests on the conclusion that women dress in a way that causes a powerful sexual arousal response in a man; that he’s stimulated beyond the limits of his self-control. They believe that a woman made the decision to dress like she does, and that the man doesn’t have any choice about becoming so aroused, so the fault lies with her.
There are evidences that suggest male arousal is far more visual in nature than female arousal; but then my question is; why don’t these men get aroused when they see a mentally unstable woman walking the streets naked? Legally, this doesn’t work at all. Regardless of how a woman’s dressed, she retains autonomy; even if she desperately wants sex, it remains her decision regarding WHO she has sex with. Consent is and would always be important, regardless of how supposedly ‘confusing’ many find it.
So yes, it’s arguably easier or rather more visible for men to be aroused by a “sexy” appearance, but does that mean they can be provoked beyond self-control? No!!! Sexual arousal may be a powerful thing, but the brain also has many processes that counter it. Lets get biological for a bit,shall we? The orbitofrontal cortex, for example, is charged with the responsibility of regulating/suppressing sexual behavior. One of the more sophisticated neurological regions, it’s the part that says “this isn’t a good idea, don’t do it” when you’re aroused or excited by an opportunity, particularly a sexual one, which won’t have great long-term consequences. How women dress has nothing to do with avoiding sexual assaults; this myth has to go away. For example, Rape in Saudi Arabia has been researched by various observers and entities; In 2002, sexual offences stood at 0.3 rapes per 100,000 population. This is a country where the women cover every part of their bodies (from head to toe).
Putting the burden of prevention, by insisting women take precautions to avoid assault will only make them feel responsible when it does happen. They’ll regret every choice that they made that led up to it, they will feel guilty, blame themselves, and will then be far less likely to report or even speak about what happened to them. All this does is just further entrench and promote rape culture; but by putting the blame squarely on the perpetrators, we can effect change and build a society where people feel comfortable sharing their stories and feeling secure in themselves—wearing whatever they want to wear, being free.
Why blame fashion for the deeds of uncultured men who can’t keep their shit together?