Women are often reluctant to report incidents of sexual assault for many reasons. The aftermath of the victim-blaming they may face is just one of many, but the insults that come can be ugly, sexist, and to be honest, completely idiotic.
Take, for example, Dan Rottenberg, editor-in-chief of the Broad Street Review (an online Philadelphia arts and culture website), who recently had some choice words about Lara Logan, the CBS journalist who was sexually assaulted by a mob in Tahrir Square while covering the political protests.
After finding a picture of Logan in a low-cut gown displaying cleavage, Rottenberg basically makes the argument that her sexual assault shouldn’t be surprising given her decision to wear a cleavage baring dress. Under the picture reads the caption: “What message was the TV journalist Lara Logan sending here?”
Well apparently it was an invitation for unwanted sex.
“Earth to liberated women,” says Rottenberg, “When you display legs, thighs or cleavage, some liberated men will see it as a sign that you feel good about yourself and your sexuality. But most men will see it as a sign that you want to get laid. Forewarned is forearmed.”
Rape is Not About Sex
Women are not raped because they choose to bare cleavage, wear a mini-skirt, or strut down the street in thigh high boots.
Rape isn’t about sex or attraction. It’s about power.
Logan was of course not wearing the cleavage baring dress Rottenberg refers to in Tahrir Square and I doubt the men who attacked her have ever even seen this picture. They didn’t attack Logan because of what she looks like or what she was wearing, they attacked her because they wanted to exert their power over a female journalist who, in their minds, was poking her nose in their country’s business. To suggest that a picture in a cleavage baring gown is to blame for her attack is ignorant, not to mention insulting.
Men Are Not To Be Trusted
In addition to avoiding skin baring clothing, Rottenberg adds:
“Don’t trust your male friends. Don’t go to a man’s home at night unless you’re prepared to have sex with him. Don’t disrobe in front of a male masseur. If you take a job as a masseuse, don’t be shocked if your male customers think you’re a prostitute.”
If I were a man I would be insulted by these comments. Are men such sex crazed animals they can’t keep it in their pants?
And Rottenberg doesn’t stop there:
“Women today are technically free to do all sorts of things that were forbidden to their grandmothers, which is all well and good. But in practice, rape and the notion of sexual conquest persist for the same reason that warfare persists: because the human animal— especially the male animal— craves drama as much as food, shelter and clothing. Conquering an unwilling sex partner is about as much drama as a man can find without shooting a gun— and, of course, guns haven’t disappeared either.”
So what? Women are supposed to just accept the fact that men have an animal instinct to rape them? And men are you supposed to accept this imagine of yourself?
This guy is ridiculous, not to mention completely ignorant. I really hate to give him any more attention, but there was no way I could let this go without adding my own two cents.
What did you think about Rottenberg’s comments?
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Photo copyright: Photo from Wikimedia Commons.