Happy New Year and a huge ‘Thank you‘ to Annan Boodram (‘Rapists do not prey on women and girls skimpily dressed, rather on those they know,’ Stabroek News, January 1) for unwittingly making the argument for modesty and decorum in dress. According to Mr Boodram, “three quarters of rapes are committed by someone known to the victim.” But, what about the quarter of women whose attackers were unknown to them?
Mr Boodram cites Michael Kimmel, a sociologist whose research indicates, “violent men often view their actions as revenge or retaliation. They say, women have power over me because they’re beautiful and sexual and I want them and they elicit that and I feel powerless,” he says. “Just listen for a minute to the way in which we describe women’s beauty and sexuality. We describe it as a violence against us. She is a knock-out, a bomb-shell, dressed to kill, a femme fatale, stunning, ravishing. I mean all of these are words of violence against us. It’s like, wow, she knocked me out. So the violence then, or the aggression or the sexual violence is often a way to retaliate.”
Isn’t the intent behind Mr Hack’s dress code to prevent this very sort of violence/rape against women who are “dressed to kill” or “ravishing”? Mr Hack’s recommendation of modesty and decorum in dress is a proactive step that women can take to protect themselves from attack by social deviants who are threatened by a woman’s beauty and sexuality. Everyone recognizes that dress alone will not prevent violence/rape but at least modesty in dress will lessen the chances of a woman presenting herself as a potential victim. No one is blaming a woman for being beautiful and sexy, and rape under any circumstance is indefensible.
What does Mr Boodram and his cohorts propose? At least Mr Hack had the courage and vision to suggest: First, respect women and treat them as your own. Second, promote education to teach alternative dispute resolution; in his parlance to use head instead of hands. Third, create a violence free home by refraining from alcohol and other drugs. Fourth, refrain from pornography, advertisement and any “culture” that promotes violence against women. And fifth, adopt a dress code of modesty.
Once again, I thank Mr Boodram for unwittingly making the argument for modesty and decorum in dress.