wHY THE PINK SKIRT?
What were you wearing?
Why why were you with him?
How much did you drink?
What were you thinking?
When will we learn?
But he’s your boyfriend, that does not count.
You did not say no. (But I did not say yes either)
Have you heard this before? Some of you have probably even said it to someone. These are the very classic rape myths, which take the blame away from the perpetrator and put it on the victim. Which I find it important to talk about because I care about young girls, women, transgender people, boys and men and everyone else who are affected by this pervasive culture. I experienced it first hand when I was 12 and later more violence came at the hands of the people I knew and loved. This project is here to tell you that this does not happen in the dark alleys, when people are at the wrong place and the wrong time. This happens at homes and behind closed doors. Perpetrators are not monsters crawling out in the dark and looking for drunk people in short skirts. They are the people we love, we know and even the people we are related to. I want to help educate more people about rape culture and the very real consequences of it. Victim blaming is the reinforcing part of it, taking the perpetrator away from the spotlight, meaning it is our own responsibility, our own fault.
Victim blaming is real and harmful. It was during the Kavanaugh case where I ‘lost it’ in a way that I could not be silent anymore and protection of abusers such as R.Kelly simply pushed me further. Outrage was present before, but for some reason it was these particular cases that broke the camel’s back. Reading the #whyididntreport hashtags brought me to tears, my close friends talking about their experiences, it was clear to me that being silent is not an option anymore and there are too many of us who are affected by it, yet there are no war declarations, no search warrants, no national tragedies. Rape culture is global, yet the world is turning a blind eye. It's the very essence of the cancer that plagues this Earth. Whilst making this project and sharing ideas with people, I noticed a trend in people’s worldviews – that these crimes happen outside of the Western world and that is something I need to concentrate on. How and when did we become so perfect? I am concentrating on my own experiences, the experiences of my friends and the part of the world that I know. I cannot point the finger at someone else, whilst there is still so much work to do here.
When they say – ‘What was she wearing’ - could you imagine saying that to a 12 year old girl?
When they say - ‘Where were you?’ - in my own home.
When they say - ‘Who was he?'’ - a person I knew well.
When they say - ‘She was asking for it’ I wanted none of this: none of a decade of trauma, none of my life being shaped by this experience, none of being forced to grow up, none of the abuse. In not one of these situations I asked a question or was even allowed or able to speak a word. How dare you blame me for the gross mismanagement of our societies and systems.
Why the pink skirt? Because it was not the one pushing me against that fence, it was a man in his mid-20’s, the skirt was just a piece of clothing I was wearing. Because clothes do not rape people, rapists do. Because most people I know have a story to tell and none of us asked for it, none of us are to blame. Let us change the course of the discourse.