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Offbeat – 22 February 2013



I want to be happy and complacent again. I don’t want to think that I and my daughter and my friends who are women are sharing the planet with men who are so clearly unable to control themselves.

By the time you read this, you should have noticed a lot of women wearing mini-skirts and possibly one or two men wearing shorts. I hope you don’t (or didn’t) stare to hard.
I am not a big fan of anger. It doesn’t improve things. It’s the soot on a white wall, that just won’t go away or the disease on a plant that you know, just know, is going to kill it. It’s the stubborn grease on the bottom of the pan in which you roast the chicken. I’m usually able to avoid it. I center myself, breath, have a cigarette and head outdoors.
The whole thing with the mini-skirts is well documented. According to the logic of the thing, if a woman shows up anywhere in a short skirt, she invites rape. That logic is well documented by both sides of the debate.
At this point of the column, note that logic depends on who is making the statement. For some it is perfectly logical that a woman in a short skirt is attracting rapists. There are also people who still believe that the world is flat as well, and some who believe that dinosaur bones got into the ground when they dug in to avoid a catastrophic comet (I think, but I may be called out on this).
I normally accept the logic of other people, or allow them their own beliefs, but the whole thing with the minis-skirts left me feeling very grouchy and upset, especially as a father. If my daughter wants to wear a mini-skirt, or even a swimming costume, she should damn well be allowed to do so, and she should be able to do so without being damn molested.
Anyone who even thinks about molesting her should be castrated as far as I am concerned, and then have both of his hands removed, just to be safe and for good measure. That’s also conventional wisdom
The thing still left a niggling question in my mind, and half-hearted, or violent, thoughts began to form. A post on Facebook clarified the whole thing for me.  There’s no sense in rethinking clear thinking and trying to come to the same conclusion, only in a different way, so I’m going to quote it in its entirety now.
“Men should be offended when someone claims that women should prevent rape by not wearing certain things, or not going certain places, or not acting in a certain way.
That line of thinking presumes that you are incapable of control. That you are so base and uncivilized that it takes extraordinary effort for you to walk down the street without raping someone.
That you require a certain dress code be maintained, that certain behaviours be employed so that maybe today, just maybe, you won’t rape someone.
It presumes that your natural state is a rapist.”
I can’t find an attribution, other than Aallia, the owner of the page, but it is utterly important to put this in your head.
I want to be happy and complacent again. I don’t want to think that I and my daughter and my friends who are women are sharing the planet with men who are so clearly unable to control themselves.
A comment on the post points out that sexual abuse of men by men, as well as abuse of children, is rife. It also points out that women who are fully veiled, wearing the niqab over the head and burqa over the body, are subject to sexual abuse.
There is no logic in seeking fault with the victims, nor any common denominator. The fault lies with the perpetrator. That’s where the blame must be put.
Here’s a thought. We’re a country, and we are measured by national values. Those values measure myself as much as anyone else. If we say that a mini-skirt leads to rape, what are we saying about ourselves as individuals and as a nation?
We are enlightened. We are diverse. We are tolerant. We can smile in a friendly way and accept the beliefs of someone who insists that the sun rises in the west and sets in the east. We cannot accept this sort of thinking. If someone walks down the street, even in the nude, that person has the right not to be molested.

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