When I look at this photograph of myself I think “damn girl, you look sexy!” Isn’t that wonderful for us to feel? It is so pleasing when your outfit comes together and your hair and make-up (if you choose to wear it) is on point. it can make all the difference to ones confidence and enjoyment of the night. I am sure many of you can relate to times when we have not felt like this. Maybe you feel awkward and uncomfortable in the clothes you are wearing or your hair just wont play ball. It can completely negative effect the wedding, party or date you are attending.
Feeling sexy and confident are perhaps the best feelings to have because once you feel confident, everything else usually falls into place. Who has ever gone out wearing simpler clothes than normal or less make-up and for some reason felt even sexier than normal. Sometimes we can’t put our finger on the exact reason but whatever it is, it feels wonderful. What isn’t wonderful however is the reaction we most likely get from others around us.
I can hold my hand up and say that I have, countless times, been groped by men in a night club or had women turn their nose up at me because, in their eyes, I have too much cleavage on show. Most of us dress up or try to look good for our own sense of contentment, so that we feel sexy and beautiful in our own skin, not for a reaction or leering from others, men or women. Those instances are mostly completely unwelcome and can make us question our outfit or lipstick choices in the future. It is becoming much more publicised, these instances of abuse, groping and even rape that we face everyday. There have been some ground-breaking campaigns recently, such as the #metoo campaign, which have highlighted just how common sexual abuse of women actually has become. Sadly it seems that not everyone is in agreement with the #metoo campaign. The actress Lindsay Lohan gave her opinion on the subject of reporting rape or sexual abuse:
“You have these girls who come out, who don’t even know who they are, who do it for the attention.”
There are probably millions more instances of molestation that have occurred and not been reported to the police or publicised. Instances women may think are too insignificant to report because of that age old excuse, “well that’s what men do.” Even if you have been touched in a way that you think is inappropriate, such as a pinched bottom or grabbed breasts, it should still be reported, even if it is just to the bouncer or your boss. who knows if that may dissuade the person molesting you to go on and commit more heinous crimes.
But as I write this I feel fiercely hypocritical. You see, at 17, I was a victim of rape, and I didn’t report it to the police. The main reason…I thought I had somehow brought it upon myself, that I had been too sexually suggestive, that I was wearing clothes that enticed my attacker, that somehow it was my fault.
I was at 17 quite a sexualised young individual. what I mean by that is I did like to flaunt my assets, I enjoyed the male attention I got from it, I equated that, I guess, with love. so in essence, when I awoke from my sleep to find someone grunting and writing inside of me, It raced through my mind the question…had I put out signals to this person that I was fair game, that I wanted this even.
Now, many years later, I know that my reasoning for this horrible crime came from a place of extremely low self esteem, of no self-worth but sadly there are many of us in society who still believe the notion that if women dress suggestively the are “asking for it.” Ultimately this state of mind needs to stop. There is never, NEVER any excuse for rape. It doesn’t matter if a women decides to go out in the shortest skirt you could imagine and a crop top that you can see her nipples underneath, she is not displaying an automatic free pass. It is completely wrong to perpetuate the notion that if a woman dresses sexually, she is up for sex. I could not put it more eloquently than the model Amber Rose, who during a conversation on the subject of #blameculture she stated
“It doesn’t matter how far I take it or what I have on, when I say no, it means no.”
You would think that all women would be united in this notion but sadly that is not actually the case. Statistics, compiled in the ‘Wake Up to Rape’ report summarised that women are actually more likely than men to blame the victim! I am not sure what that shows about society but it is a fact that shocked me to the core. Unfortunately the patriarchal mindset from the past has been so deeply embedded into society’s psyche that it will take a long time for us all to be on the same page, that a women or a man for that matter never deserves to be raped. I believe that the more people who speak up about this issue and make it more prevalent and less taboo to discuss, the more likely #rape victims would be to report their attack. I wish deeply, in hindsight, 16 years ago, that I had felt blameless.