Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

AR Wear’s Anti-Rape Clothing

[Content warning - rape] I am seething with rage after AR's promotion for 'anti-rape' clothing was brought to my attention by Louise Pennington. I feel compelled to add my voice to the indignation and anger she has so eloquently expressed. I agree wholeheartedly with Louise's accusation of victim blaming and racism. What I want to add is that AR seem to display complete ignorance about what an actual attack is like.

If you live in AR world, you will be happily skipping through the park at night, safe in the knowledge that you locked your knickers on before setting out. Mr Rapist comes along (because rape is only perpetrated by strangers, right?) and attempts to rape you. You show him your 'anti-rape' undies and he recoils. Drat, he says, Foiled by those protective panties! And off he trots, presumably to attempt to rape some other woman. And you carry on with your run through the park, feeling very victorious.

Except attempted rape isn't like that. It is violent, terrifying, brutal,and a traumatic ordeal in itself. The act of rape is not, as AR seems to suggest, a sex act. It is an act of power/hatred/domination/violence. Being unable to force his penis into a woman's vagina or anus does not mean the other elements of rape are abated, such as physical assault (or even murder). Men don't just rape with the penis either. They use a variety of more reliably rigid things to penetrate with, such as bottles and even knives. And the mouth can also be the target of a sexual attack. The protective underwear would do nothing to stop that.

To suggest that because a rapist can't force his penis in you then you are free from attack is dangerous and frankly, very very stupid. It is also a very male, phallocentric way to look at assault. All kinds of men attack all kinds of women in all kinds of ways, and in all kinds of places. Lockable underwear will not protect you.

Meanwhile, as you lock yourself and your daughters into these ridiculous garments, your son is out raping because...well that is a whole other issue isn't it? Apparently.

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