We Are Never “Asking For It”

By Guest Writer

The following is a guest post by Alane Miller Howell, Ph.D.

Imagine you are a man in a deserted area. You see a woman walking naked and drunk down the street. Nobody is around. Nobody will know. Do you rape her or help her?


Chloe, a college freshman, goes to a fraternity party and passes out from drinking. She is raped by three fraternity brothers. When she returns home, her father and older sister say she was “asking for it.”

Chloe was in therapy for six months before going away to college. Her brother, with whom she was very close, was dying of cancer. She struggled with the decision to go to back East for school and miss what would likely be his last weeks. He wanted her to go. She decided to go. Four weeks after going to college, Chloe’s mother was driving home from the hospital late at night when she was hit and killed by a drunk driver. Chloe returned to school after the funeral and went to that fateful fraternity party to try to “be normal.” It isn’t clear whether she drank a lot, or whether she was grieving, sleep-deprived and hadn’t eaten. Either way, she was passed out when they raped her. She was far from “asking for it.”

When a girl who has been date-raped comes into my office, she has often been asked why, but the wrong “why?”

Why were you walking alone? Why did you go that party? Why were you dressed like that? Why were you alone with that boy? Why were you drinking?These “whys” reflect our desire to believe that we, as women, are in control and can prevent rape – but they also infer that women are responsible for the aggressive behavior of a man.

Instead of those “whys,” we need to be asking, “why are women and girls still held responsible for rape?”

Our media is full of stories of young men assaulting young women. Teenagers at parties that “got out of hand.” But while there are many articles discussing what we should or should not tell our girls, there is little said about teaching boys to manage their sexual feelings – to understand what is and what is not consent, and to tolerate feeling rejected or frustrated by a girl.The following scenarios are meant to help us challenge our long-held cultural beliefs that hold girls responsible for sexual assault. I would like to encourage moms everywhere to share and discuss them with their children.

1. You are a generous person. You let several people borrow your car in the past few weeks for various reasons. These are people you trusted to take your car. One day you go to get your car and it’s gone. Your neighbor took it. When you confront him later, he says you let other people borrow the car so it was obvious you wanted to let him take it …read more

See full article at : modernmom.com

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