Women, sexual abuse and (what I call) “body value” is a very complex dialogue – this is what I have to say today.
In light of the recent #MeTooOnCampus movement and the larger conversation on Twitter, I’ve identified a few problematic attitudes towards victims of rape and sexual abuse.
Firstly I’ll say, if we continue to let a woman’s sexual activity or sexual partners determine how much she is worth then we are capable of doing the most disgusting things to them. Once you detach value and a voice from a woman then you are putting yourself in the same headspace as an abuser.
Now, let’s be clear. A woman can choose to have as many sexual partners as she wants. If she, however, decides that she does not want to have sex with you then that is her decision and it should be respected. Too often, men can feel justified and entitled to a woman who has/had many sexual partners – so entitled that they deny a woman’s right to give consent. It’s almost as if these women aren’t allowed to say no? This behaviour is pathetic.
People are more liable to sympathise or believe a rape victim that is the conventional “good girl” much easier than a girl who is more sexually active. This is (and I can’t stress this enough) so wrong. It goes back to how we determine a woman’s value. We’ve got to unlearn those principles as rape can and has happened to all kinds of women. Can we learn to approach all rape stories with sensitivity?
Can we stop attaching ‘body count’ to body value?
**Amazing artwork credit: Daisy Mojave Holland