What was she wearing - By Charlotte Farhan

“What was she wearing” – Art to end the silence on rape culture

What was she wearing - By Charlotte Farhan
What was she wearing – By Charlotte Farhan

 


 

“what was she wearing”

is the first question asked

“how could she be so daring”

judging her on her past

“her clothes are provocative”

society proclaimed

“her innocence is impossible”

her gender is shamed

“why didn’t she cover up”

the jury quiery

“she seems grown up”

which makes them uneasy

But still their judgement spills

“this doesn’t happen to good girls”

say the old men looking for thrills

but even “good girls” get raped

clothes don’t invite

however they might be draped

this is not black and white

they want power

not sex

they want to deflower

to treat us as objects

clothes can’t protect us

nor can the word “no”

consent we must discuss

for a better tomorrow.

(poetry by Charlotte Farhan)


When I was raped at 15 my clothes were taken as evidence. I wore a gypsy top (off the shoulder) with some black leggings. When the police said that my clothes would be used as evidence I presumed in my naivety, that it would be in case of DNA samples, which of course was part of it. However, I in no way knew until told that they would be used by the defence – against me. This archaic procedure affected me greatly, I internalised the blame and shame that was being thrown at me, believing that the responsibility was mine, that I had invited this. That women and girls are responsible for not getting themselves raped. I didn’t challenge this until much older, when I was able to see this entire situation from an adults perspective.

If I had been naked would it have been OK to be violently raped and forced to perform sexual acts, leaving me bruised and bleeding, needing surgery? The answer is NO!

If it is my fault for “dressing provocatively” then this must mean that women in modest attire or religious clothing such as the hijab or nikab, don’t get raped? Which is NOT true.

All survivors of sexual violence, assault and abuse, whether they are women, men, non binary or trans – were not violated because of their clothes or lack of. Otherwise we could assume that there is a standard “rape outfit”, a pattern in certain clothing items which were worn by victims. But there is NOT!

For example, “What were you wearing?” the exhibit at the Centre Communautaire Maritime in Brussels features replicated clothing items to those worn by victims of sexual assault. The exhibit states that it wishes to: “create a tangible response to one of our most pervasive rape culture myths” because “The belief that clothing or what someone what wearing ’causes’ rape is extremely damaging for survivors.” Please take a look at the link below.

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/rape-victims-clothes-displayed-brussels-belgium-debunk-victim-blaming-myth-a8152481.html

If you have ever thought along these lines, please think again, logically break it down and you will soon see that this is a patriarchal rhetoric which only lends itself to rape culture, WE NEED CONSENT CULTURE!

 


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