Saturday, June 14, 2014

Immodesty and Rape

Does immodesty lead to rape? If a woman wears a low-cut shirt and a mini-skirt, isn't she inviting inappropriate attention? If she's dressed like that, and a man rapes her, it's partly her fault, right? Doesn't she have to take some responsibility?

I have not thoroughly studied the mind-sets of rapists. I suspect their motives are varied and complex. And oftentimes women are raped when they are covered from head to toe, so immodesty has nothing to do with it.  But let's address this notion that women should bear some of the blame for being raped if they dress immodestly.

First, define immodest. The definition changes based on culture, time and situation. What American culture calls modest attire on a beach would be considered immodest at a wedding.

But let's assume we can agree that a certain woman is dressed immodestly. Then, yes, she is guilty of sin, first and foremost against God and herself. She is not treating her own body with respect. She has also sinned against other women and against men who may see her because (1) she is encouraging men to see women as objects, and (2) it's possible men will be tempted. HOWEVER, if a man sins as a result, she is NOT to blame for his sin.  He bears full responsibility for it. After all, which of us can say to God in ANY situation, "It was the tempter's fault that I sinned"?

We spend a lot of time telling women not to put themselves in situations where they could be raped. This is good information to have. But we must not overemphasize it, or it leads to the idea that it's a woman's responsibility not to be raped. How often do we tell men, "Don't rape"? Men need to hear, "No means no. Remember, sir, you control your own body."

Everyone should dress with modesty. But when it comes to crime, don't blame the victim.
Agree? Disagree? Let me hear from you. Leave comments here or on Facebook.

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