Opinion: Rape expectations - a classic tale of shedunnit

Life As I Know It with Lesley Apps

THAT ol' chestnut 'rape' is back in the headlines once more.

This time it's Chrissie Hynde, lead figure of British rock band The Pretenders, who has sent the R-word trending in the Twittersphere and firing up Facebook because in a recent interview she blamed herself for being forced to perform sexual acts on a member of a biker gang as a 21-year-old.

She came to this conclusion because she put herself in the situation (going to a party) with people sporting questionable morals and learned a good, hard lesson for doing so in an abandoned house.

In a way it's great to see the veteran rock star was able to work through such an ordeal and some four decades later come out the other side a wiser, more astute judge of character, while enabling other victims of rape to retain similar esteem by sharing guidance such as don't wear high heels as they entice and make fleeing rapists a difficult prospect. Oh, and never get drunk or be seen in your underwear.

Thanks Chrissie, I'll be sure to share those nuggets with my 20-something daughter and her friends.

The confusing part will be that I'll also have to tell them joggers aren't appropriate footwear either.

Particularly if they are worn with exercise clothing and then you go outside and start flashing your fitness all over place.

In this case offending precincts can include parks, the roadside and footpaths because men drive in cars and men are also pedestrians. Well der, haven't you girls learnt anything from 10,000 years of raping and pillaging?

This kind of exercising was 'asking for it' according to the who-ha a recent article on the subject generated. Everything from arse-slapping to verbal threats and stalking is all fair-game if you are 'fit' and asserting yourself in Lycra (or sweats) in the public arena.

The humble ponytail also crops up in conversations about what not to wear while out and about being a woman. Don't forget that practical arrangement of hair which prevents it from flapping in your sweaty face also doubles as handy pulley system to attackers who can now more easily latch onto a stupid woman who didn't see it coming. Also don't be distracted by your mobile phone while out walking around. You should be looking out for rapists not LOLing with your friends.

Of course there are also women who do see it coming. Quite frequently too because they co-habit with their attackers.

Being married or in a long term relationship can insinuate a self-serve mentality that up until recently was still confusing to the legal fraternity. "Thou shall not covet their neighbour's wife but you can do whatever you like to your own," must have been carved into that stone.

And while navigating this minefield of manhandling can be tricky, with or without high heels, before we wrap up this lesson in Rape 101 I'll revisit what we've been over today because it can be as confusing as 'no and no'.

Possible formulas to avoid include: ponytail + high heels = rape; ponytail + exercising = rape or physical/verbal abuse; party invite + provocative clothing + naivety = rape; married + burning dinner = rape.

Of course there are thousands of more formulas (female + breathing = rape is one of my trickier favourites), but I don't have the space or time to spell them all out.

Maybe it's best to take 63-year-old Chrissie's advice and don't put yourself in a situation (refer aforementioned formulas) where you may find yourself with a man thrusting his penis into one of your orifices without your consent.

Parties, exercising, walking to your car, going out in the evening and drinking wine. It's a jungle out there ladies, best you adhere to its laws.


FOOTNOTE: For readers incensed by this article because, as common thinking will tell us, not all men are rapists, then please, feel proud about that, but if your first response is to be defensive rather than supportive on this issue think about what effect that has on fixing this heinous situation faced by millions of females around the world. Yes men get raped too but that's for a completely different reason and nowhere near as ingrained as the rape culture faced by females. Admitting something is broken is much more helpful (and braver) than just saying you didn't break it.

Hopefully the day will come where there'll be no need to resort to satire to get the message across.


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