Youth Ki Awaaz is undergoing scheduled maintenance. Some features may not work as desired.

This Bold Fashion Show Tears Apart The Myth That Clothes Are Responsible For Rape

Posted by Leepi Agrawal in Sexism And Patriarchy
April 20, 2017

I recently came across a video, titled ‘Guilty Clothes Fashion Show’, while scrolling through my Facebook feed.

I never knew that clothes too were guilty or that we should be guilty about what we wear. What was this all about? I clicked on the video, and the very first thing I observed were the sub-titles. The fashion show was supposed to be about women wearing ‘seductive’ clothes. The projector in the fashion show displayed sexy models with sexy clothes, and everyone was waiting for the climax.

Dim lights fell, the tick-tock of the stilettoes got more audible and then came the models.

But what happened to the models? They were all dressed up like normal girls. Wasn’t the show all about seductive clothes?

Models walked with full denims, casual tees, long shrugs, shirts, skirts and stood in a queue. Viewers started mumbling and a few looked astonished. Just within a few seconds, lights fell out and there was a slideshow where a question was asked, “Was it erotic? Was it revealing? Or provocative?”

The projector ran a video of rape survivors, where women revealed what they were wearing when they were raped.

One of them said she was raped while returning from office, and she was in her formal pant and a shirt. Another said that as she was having a holiday, she was in her track pants and a vest top, and a really very thin green cardigan, and still she was raped. “It was not revealing anything,” she cried.

Other girls were also wearing different kinds of clothes. It couldn’t prevent rape from taking place. This fashion show was actually based on the clothing collection based on real stories of sexual violence.

The survivors had started to hate themselves, one started drinking heavily, some dealt with mental trauma, others never went out alone and never trusted a stranger.

The fashion show.

A presentation in the fashion show claimed that 85% of the women who faced sexual violence never contacted health centres. Do you think the clothes are guilty and this is the reason why these women were raped? Are women guilty? Or the rapist? We always blame rape survivors because we think that their clothes are ‘inappropriate’. However, it’s not the clothes. It is the rapist. I found this video very powerful.

So, I decided to share it with one of my male friends. After watching the whole video, he said that it was nice.

Nice?” I replied, with utter shock. Do you think this message deserves just a comment like ‘nice’? Without hesitation, he said that all this looks good in the media, but in reality, ‘inappropriate’ clothes are the reason why rapes take place.

I asked him to explain to me with more details, as to how rape was connected with ‘inappropriate’ clothes.

He began with a very simple example. “Imagine that you are regularly visiting your tuition class and right exactly in front of your tuition there is a paan shop, and every day a few group of boys sit thereFew boys see you go for your classes and you are always dressed up beautifully. It is but obvious that their eyes are going to catch you. So, you go for your classes with very sexy wear like shorts, deep neckline t-shirts for 10 days and on the 11th day you go to the class wearing a long burka. The one who has noticed you will know who is under that burka. One day a guy from that group who is drunk or may have consumed some aphrodisiac, will have your physique in his mind, and if he finds you, and a vacant place, no one can help you, and you become a victim of rape. You had no idea about that guy, but one who rapes always knows, and at that moment, it doesn’t matter what you’re wearing since they have observed you every day.”

So, this is what I get to hear from a well-educated guy. Many educated people still think that it’s because of the clothes.

I tried to explain, if this is the case, then women are not free to wear anything. To that, his answer was, “I didn’t say that women should not wear what they wish. But they should not show off their body which can provoke a guy.” Again, I felt unsatisfied with his answer.

If this is the case, then we are not educating our son correctly. It begins with the family, where we should cultivate a proper education about women. We should always focus on our boys. What we all do is that we keep ‘educating’ girls on how to dress appropriately, what to wear, where to go. However, we never put any effort to teach a boy.

It’s always the girl who is being taught. Why? Are girls not humans?

Even girls do see a man with shorts, roaming shirtless and fearless, but girls are never lustful about it, because of the guidance they have been given. From childhood, we don’t make our girls fearless and we don’t allow them to follow their choices as we allow a boy.

After getting into a very healthy conversation about this with my friend, I saw that he still thinks rape takes place because of what the woman wears. It won’t be stopped by giving such kind of a guidance.

Please stop telling me that rape happens because of ‘guilty clothes’. It happens because the guy isn’t educated properly. This takes away a woman’s freedom to dress and to live.


Image source: YouTube