When it comes to sexual assaults, there’s a common myth that suggests the victim’s clothing might be responsible for the attack. This harmful belief not only shifts the blame onto the victim but also perpetuates the idea that certain outfits invite unwanted male attention. As an erotic writer, it’s essential to understand why clothing is irrelevant when it comes to rape and why it’s vital to debunk myths and prejudices in literature. Let’s explore the topic further.
The truth is that clothing has nothing to do with rape. Since March 2014, the traveling exhibit “What Were You Wearing?” by Jen Brockman and Dr. Mary Wyandt-Hiebert has been touring the world. Both advocate for survivors of sexual and domestic violence. The exhibit explores the question, “What were you wearing?” – a question often used to blame survivors. The exhibit has aroused much attention and has been shown in various venues, including universities and museums. It serves as a platform for survivors to tell their stories and reclaim their narratives.
By highlighting the clothing worn during assaults, the exhibit challenges harmful stereotypes and promotes understanding and empathy. Brockman explained in an interview that the exhibit aims to “debunk the myth that if we just avoid that outfit, nothing will happen to us, or that we can somehow eradicate sexual violence by just changing our clothes. She further elaborated that she hoped that viewers would be surprised at the normality of the clothes shown and would see the similarities between the displays and their own wardrobe, therefore enabling them to see themselves reflected in the stories.
Regardless of what someone is wearing, nobody deserves to be sexually assaulted. Rape is an act of violence that involves the perpetrator disregarding the victim’s consent and autonomy. Sadly, society has convinced some individuals that certain outfits send the wrong signals, giving rapists permission to act. This is never the case. Nobody has the right to touch someone without their express and enthusiastic consent, no matter what they wear.
Another reason why debunking this myth is so important is the fact that it can lead to victim-blaming. When someone suggests that rape is somehow the victim’s fault because of what they were wearing, it allows the perpetrator to evade responsibility. By focusing on the victim’s clothing instead of the perpetrator’s actions, we’re not only protecting rapists but also shaming and devaluing the victim.
Fictional works don’t escape the flawed beliefs surrounding rape and clothing either. In many erotic novels, female characters are portrayed as passive, helpless individuals who are incapable of rejecting sexual advances. Plus, their dressing is often described in a way that implies their choices are somewhat responsible for how they are treated. This reinforces dangerous stereotypes and promotes unequal power dynamics between male and female characters.
As an erotic writer, it’s vital to be aware of these issues and promote consent and autonomy in works of fiction. Characters should always be portrayed as individuals with agency, who have the right to say no and be respected. Clothing descriptions should be based on personal likes and dislikes and not used to imply that someone deserves what has happened to them. In short, do not let harmful myths and prejudices seep into your writing.
Sexual assault is never the victim’s fault, and clothing does not cause rape. As erotic writers, it’s essential to debunk myths and prejudices in literature and promote consent and mutual respect in sexual relationships. The way we write characters, and describe their clothing can have a significant impact on how society perceives rape. Let’s do our part in eradicating the harmful beliefs surrounding rape culture and empowering readers to speak out against violence.