This topic is nothing new; yet, it seems to continue to rear its ugly head often. Today a news article was published on a Libyan woman's plight after being raped for 2 days by 15 men. WHAT? Yes. And let me also mention that where this woman, Iman al-Obeidi, is located, being raped is seen as dishonorable and she risks being killed via an honor killing. So, let's recap: first she is raped for days by multiple men and then she is revictimized when having to fear that she'll be blamed for the rapes and perhaps punished by death. Ultimately, Iman came forward with her story and hence its publication and publicity. Her courage and fight is inspiring. Iman is an educated woman, having received her law degree, and is now safe in Romania.
Iman is one of MANY woman that are raped during times of intense war and strife. The Democratic Republic of Congo is well-known for rape as a weapon of war. The UN estimates 15,000 women and girls are raped annually in Congo. In fact, the article on Iman mentioned that between June 10-June 12, local medical reports say 258 women were raped in Congo. Unbelievable.
In times of war, some women do not even know which side their rapists fall under. Women are held captive and repeatedly raped as a means of "getting back at" their enemies. Women are impregnated to further torture them and then they are thrown out of these rape/death camps once the baby can no longer be safely aborted.
Why is it women and their bodies are treated as disposable? Why are women seen as a tool? A weapon? A means of retaliation upon one's enemy? And, why, if a woman was raped, such as Iman, is she then held accountable for the rape when her rapists are not? Victim blame much? I think so!
Personally, I think victim blaming is coming back with a vengeance. Take for example the more local and very publicized case of Lauren Spierer, the 20 year old female who was walking home around 4:30am one morning and never made it home. I have heard over and over, "Well, she really shouldn't have been out then." "Why was she walking alone at that time anyway?" "She should have known better."
Huh? Why are women not allowed to walk alone? Why are women not allowed to be out at any time day or night? Why is it HER fault? I suggest we change our words and ask ourselves, 'why does someone think they have the right to harm someone else?'
Whether it is the women in the Congo, Lauren Spierer, one of your close family or friends, or maybe yourself...it is not the victim's fault. Women are trained to walk in groups, in daylight, with mace, after self-defense class, dressed conservatively, and fully aware at all times of their surroundings. Locate the nearest emergency phone on campus. Have your cell phone ready to dial 911. So FEAR (of rape, or kidnapping, or attack, etc) is also a weapon. Is it not? It is a means of control.
Let's think back to the tips from Slutwalk Denver. It is not the victim's fault if she is kidnapped, raped, beaten, or harmed.