Society’s habit of victim blaming has to end

In today’s society, the major issue at hand regarding rape is victim blaming. Did the victim do something that led the abuser to believe they were asking for it? Is it their fault for putting themselves in the position to get raped?

Rape is “the crime of forcing another person to have sexual intercourse with the offender against their will,” according to the Oxford University Press.

According to Estelle Freedman, rape has been a controversial crime since the early 1600s. The question is not whether or not the victim is at fault for the sexual assault; instead, the root of victim blaming is what constitutes as consent, and what does not.

The most commonly misinterpreted situations are the ones in which the victim was wearing provocative clothing, the victim was already in a relationship with the abuser prior to the abuse, or the victim gave consent while being intoxicated.

Victims do not give consent to any sexual relations by wearing provocative clothing. Many believe that wearing revealing clothing leads the abusers to believe that the victim wants to participate in sexual relations.

According to Georgetown Law, “Neither provocative dress nor promiscuous behavior are invitations for unwanted sexual activity.”

As a matter of fact, the abusers do not attack victims because they are attracted to what they are wearing or doing at all. The abusers feel the need to be in “control” and to feel dominant.

Victims of sexual abuse also do not give consent just because they are in a relationship with their abuser prior to the abuse. A common belief is that if the victim is in a consensual relationship with their abuser, he/she gives assumed consent.

Regardless of the relations prior to the abuse, the abusers still crave the feeling of dominance and attempt to achieve that feeling by using violence and forcing sexual relations with another individual.

According to Katharine Tellis in “Rape As a Part of Domestic Violence: A Qualitative Analysis of Case Narratives and Official Reports,” “Suspects use their body weight to prevent the victim from moving. The most common strategy involves the suspect pinning the victim’s arms above her head while on top of her.”

If the victim gives consent while being intoxicated, it is not to be considered valid consent. Many people argue that if law deems a suspect guilty of a crime committed during intoxication, then the law should also deem the victim responsible for consent given to sexual relations during intoxication. But, the complexity of the thinking processes required to be responsible for the abuser’s actions in addition to the victim’s own actions far surpasses the complexity of thinking processes required to commit a crime and is nearly impossible to achieve when the mind is clouded by intoxication.

In Alan Wertheimer’s “Consent to Sexual Relations,” he states, “The mental capacities that are required for responsibility for criminal wrongdoing are different from and less robust than the mental capacities that are required for responsibility of consent.”

By holding the victim accountable for the consent given during intoxication, the law would also be holding them accountable for the actions of the abuser. Because of the complex thinking processes required consenting to sexual relations, consenting while being intoxicated should not be considered consenting at all.

Society preaches that each individual needs to take precautions and live in fear of being raped. There is a preset notion that people have complete control over sexual assault and it is solely their fault if they do get attacked. Instead, society should adopt the ideology that the only people that can stop sexual abuse are the abusers themselves. If they are determined enough, they will abuse victims no matter what precautions the victim takes, or whether or not they provided clear consent.