If you haven’t seen the video that’s going viral yet, a 19 year old was raped at a house party and was asked by a judge, “Why couldn’t you just keep your knees together?”
Upon hearing this, I became instantly sick. I’m not even usually a crier, but I cried because this is a signal to young women everywhere that despite the fact that a person could wrongly feel entitled to your body, the court may not see it as a crime. Not only did her rapist just get a verbal slap on the wrist, he was acquitted and currently roams free. Judge Robin Camp is a monster for letting this happen, but his view doesn’t just exist in his mind.
The same people who think that rape victims often had some role in being attacked are often the same people who believe that a woman’s sexual worth can be derived from her clothing choices. If I wear a skirt that comes above my knees and knee-high boots that day, that doesn’t mean I’m promiscuous. I am still the same person who wore jeans and an oversized sweater the day before.
Clothing doesn’t tell you whether or not a woman wants to have sex, a woman will tell you whether or not she wants to have sex.
Her body is just that, hers. Hers to choose to sit or stand, jump or run, go to the party or stay home, and leave with someone else or leave alone. The fact that anyone could honestly believe that someone deserved or was asking for sexual violation just because of where she was, who she was with, how much alcohol she’s had, or anything else other than her asking for sex (which is no longer violation) is misogynistic and frankly illogical.
Women are not objects. We’re not here solely for sexual amusement. We also aren’t here to be openly judged because of our appearances. Attractive is not the rent you pay to exist in the world as a woman, so no one should feel comfortable expressing their views on your appearance.
Realistically, how you present yourself does make a difference in terms of how people view you, but just like they are entitled to have their own opinions, you should not be forced to hear them. That goes for your clothes, your hair, your weight, and whether or not they stupidly thought you were asking for sex simply because you had some alcohol.
Surround yourself with people who care about you and other women as a whole, because this judge is a reminder that we have a long way to go.