What Were You Wearing?

*Trigger warning.


Last week, we got a hit on here when someone searched “what do rape victims wear.” I’m never sure how the internet crawls and returns information, but to the person who searched that term and landed here, I hope you learned something. Not knowing the context in which he or she was searching, I can’t directly address what they wanted to know.

I am perplexed why anyone would have to ask that. But I live in a world where I do not believe a rape victim is to blame for being raped, no matter what she or he is wearing. Not everyone lives in that world. I do not know that the person’s intent was to blame the victim. I can not infer that from the question.

Rape has nothing to do with what the person is wearing. Absolutely nothing.

I have no pictures of me after my father fondled or raped me with his finger, but this is an example of what I might have been wearing when I was asleep in my room or when he would call me in on Sunday mornings.

as a kid

It is not a great picture and it is hard to see what I’m wearing, but I’m wearing my pajamas. They probably had Care Bears, Strawberry Shortcake, or Rainbow Brite on them. Those were the things I was into at the time my father was raping me.

I have no picture of this, but it is one of the things I distinctly remember wearing when he would unzip my pants and feel around and feel up my shirt. We were going to cut firewood, just the two of us, out in the country in some farmer’s pasture. There were cows milling around. I thought that was fascinating. I was wearing underwear, pantyhose, and jeans on the bottom, a t-shirt tucked into my jeans, and sweatshirt on top, then snow pants and a winter coat. Not exactly easy access. I also had several pair of socks on inside my snow boats. Before we got out of the truck, a small, red Toyota, he unzipped my coat and snow pants, pulled up my sweatshirt and untucked my t-shirt. He had taken off his gloves so as not to hinder his hands. I just sat there wondering how many cows were in the field and if I would see them. When he’d finished, he told me to make sure and zip back up so I didn’t get cold. I was already cold, chilled to my soul. He left me in the truck to zip up and then I had to run to catch up to him so I didn’t get lost among the trees and the cows.

People who are raped are usually clothed, fully or partially, or they are nude. The clothing has nothing to do with it. The look of the person being raped often has nothing to do with it.

Rape is about sex, but it is more about power, control, and complete disregard for the other person. Rape is about filling the need of the rapist.

Rape and childhood sexual abuse have no boundaries. There is not a look, a religion, an ethnicity, a group, an age range, a location, a sex, a gender, or a profession that makes someone more or less likely to be raped.

It is my hope that the person who searched that phrase and landed here learned something. If not, I hope they check back again. One never knows when one will learn something helpful, like hope.

What have you taught your self, your kids, your neighbors about dispelling rape myths such as a rape victim wears something specific?

As Jennifer has said, when someone is robbed or their car is broken into, we do not ask what they were wearing or where the car was parked. Why is it any different with rape?

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