We need to stop blaming the victims of rape

Dear Editor,

I read yesterday in SN (December 28) that in India the 23-year-old medical student gang raped, beaten and thrown out of a bus has died.  Her injuries were far too extensive for her to survive.  I am not ashamed to say that I cried.  Over the years I have found myself crying too often, immobilized by my own helplessness when I hear or read stories such as this or worse when I am confronted by real women who have suffered similar fates.

I cannot count the number of times the thought has crossed my mind that perhaps women need to be armed whether with pepper spray or guns. Over the past week or so I have been following in SN a discussion centred on the modalities of dress and how it has the potential for leading to rape.  So here is my response.  Take it or leave it.

To say that a woman’s state of dress or rather undress can be a causative factor for rape is probably the most simplistic, unintelligent garbage I have come across in a long time.

It is an old excuse trotted out by some men and women to shift blame from the rapist to the victim.  It has fuelled many debates and controversies over the years.  So I will say what many have said before. Clothes don’t cause rape.  Rapists cause rape.

We need to stop blaming the victims of rape for being raped.  Don’t come to me telling me mini-skirts and low-cuts tops gives a man, any man the room, the space, the right to access a woman’s body.

Are men such savages that the mere sight of a cleavage or stretch of thigh will cause them to lose control to the point of beating, raping, murdering women?

The student in India travelling home on the bus wasn’t dressed provocatively, neither was the 11-year-old girl in the US gang raped by 18 men, nor the elderly woman in the UK raped and murdered outside her home.

What about all the women and children, here in Guyana, in all parts of the world who were raped for reasons that had nothing to do with the clothes they wore.  The list is long, too long of women and children raped because they are physically weaker, vulnerable for reasons of financial, social, cultural and political inferiority or invisibility.  Do any of us really believe that by donning garments that shroud our physical form rapists will stop raping?   I think not.  As one writer pointed out in a recent letter on the subject, women in burqas are also victims of rape.

By its very nature rape is about the domination of the powerless by the powerful.  It empowers the rapist whether he is driven by lust, anger, boredom or any other “cause” that fuels his need.  Any attempt to shift the focus, the blame for this most abhorrent of crimes to the victim is truly despicable.

Yours faithfully,
N Sagar

More in Letters


About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning:

Most Read This Week

  1. The medical school sign on the Buddy’s building

    Buddy’s Pool Hall, Night Club closed after business falls

  2. Barry Dataram

    Who is to blame for Dataram escape?

  3. Wayne Isaacs (New York Post photograph)

    Guyanese-born cop charged with killing unarmed civilian in NY

  4. Lakeram Kewlachand

    Gangaram man takes his own life

  5. The Rio Inn at Forshaw and Oronoque Streets

    Teen shot dead outside Rio nightclub

  6. Courtenay Griffith’s home in Lodge that is earmarked to be demolished.

    City to tear down 52 derelict buildings

  7. Barry Dataram

    Absent Barry Dataram found guilty of drug trafficking

  8. The bus in the trench along Homestretch Avenue.

    Bus ends up in Homestretch trench

  9. Ryan Sergeant

    Youth killed, friend wounded after nightclub shooting

Recommended For You