Walk this way.

I happened to catch a conversation on Radio 4’s Womans Hour last week, in which they were discussing the recent slut-walks, or as it turned out, having an argument about how women dressing like a slut would invariably lead to them getting raped.

Now most of the furore over the comments of Ken Clarke and indeed the discussions that always follow talking about rape, always seem to focus on what the woman must have done to be raped, in effect why she “deserved” it. To be fair a lot of the debate has now recognised, begrudgingly in some cases, that there can never be a reason for rape but still, some sections of the media and society in general seek to pin the blame on the victim first.

Personally I’ve never believed the way a woman dresses, speaks, or acts whilst in public should be seen as a reason for any form of abuse. And, if in a one on one situation she says “no”, then that should be respected without recourse to force.

But then maybe I’m just one of your typical Guardian reading, wishy-washy lefties who believes in all people being created equal, regardless of race or gender.

And, as if to highlight my point, the article by Tanya Gold below is revealing not so much for its content, though it is a strong piece, but rather the many comments in the thread below that range widely from “it’s my body” to ” dress like a slut, get treated like a slut”.

Which takes me back to my original point, the discussion on Radio 4 highlighted the simple reason why so many feel we struggle to have a serious debate about rape , focusing as it did on how a woman is somehow responsable for everything that happens regardless of situation or the people involved. The need to get away from the tired old arguments will forever be wishful thinking whilst we still hold the view that in some way she “deserved it”, especially when these views are held by other women.

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