Research on the Relationship between Rape and Dressing

Opening Statement

The issue of rape and dressing continues to generate interest. Although, I wrote this article in 2014 and I have observed that it has generated a lot of traffic over the years. Five years down the line, I have seen the need to update this article.  I have included more recent research and removed some of the content for conciseness.

Introduction

In case you missed it, my last article on this blog was on rape, is the woman ever to blame? You can read the article here . I have received a lot of feedback on that piece some of which I must confess, I find downright hilarious. But an Igbo proverb says “it is not only a cadaver that can have its neck strengthened”. I have therefore decided to do a mini content analysis on research that has been carried out on the relationship between rape and a woman’s dressing. This, I have gathered, is an issue so knotty that someone posited that any article that puts rape and dressing in the same sentence should be left in the drafts.

This is going to be a long read so buckle up and promise not to puke (I joke).

Types of Rape

Before I share my findings on this issue, let me clarify two other points. There is a school of thought that by categorizing rapists, I am in some way saying that one group can be justified. According to this group, all rapists and rapists and should not be categorized. Let me say at this point that categorizing rapists did not start with me. In fact, this research by identifies four types of rape and goes ahead to show that society views each type of rape from different lenses. In this work, Social Psychologist, Dr Gloria Cowan referenced four types of rape “stranger, acquaintance, date, and partner rape”.

Another research work says: The four motivations for rape are sexual gratification, anger rape, power rape, and sadistic rape. Sexual gratification is generally believed to be the motivation behind acquaintance and date rape. Anger rape is generally not premeditated, but it is violent and spurred by anger and resentment toward women. Power rape is spurred by the need to control and dominate. Sadistic rape is usually premeditated and ritualized, frequently subjecting victims to degradation, mutilation, torture, or murder. (Rathus, S.A., Nevid, J.S., and Fichner-Rathus, L. (2005). Human sexuality in a world of diversity.(6th ed.) Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon )

Would it be true to say that by categorizing rape, sociologists are supporting any type of rape?

A Question of Grammar

The second issue is more of a grammatical clarification. Does saying that a woman can be raped because of what she is wearing or her demeanor mean that she should be raped? The word “can” is used to denote possibility while “should” can denote desirability and expect-ability among other uses. I shall answer both questions again for clarity: Can a woman be raped based on her dressing and demeanor? In other words: Is there a possibility that a woman’s dressing or demeanor could lead to her being raped? The answer to this question is yes. The “controversial” Victim Precipitation Theory explained here makes it clear that it is possible to assign a level of social responsibility to the victim of a crime without assigning the victim legal responsibility. Of course, Feminist Scholars generally refer to this as “victim blaming”. But then again I ask: Should a woman be raped because of her dressing and demeanor? In other words: Is it desirable that a woman be raped because of her dressing and demeanor? The answer to this question is NO. There is no justification for rape. No matter what a woman wears, does or does not do when she says NO it means NO, not maybe, not try harder. It means STOP. The second question put the responsibility of raping on the rapist. The first puts the responsibility of knowledge on every woman.

Rape or Sexual Harassment

There is a need to make a distinction between rape and sexual harassment. Although these two terms are usually used together, when discussing rape and dressing, it is important to make this distinction. he reason for this is that as noted earlier, just as there is a difference in perception when discussing the different types of rape, (clearly a lot of people are uncomfortable about these distinctions and would rather it did not exist) there is also a distinction between the causes of rape as opposed to the causes of sexual harassment. The latter has in the last few years become broadly defined to include “micro-aggression”. Some regard flirtations from a man in whom they have no interests as sexual harassment.

What Research Says About Rape and Dressing

But really, can what a woman wear lead to rape or is this just a myth? Let me share the conclusions of some research I found. I will be including links so that if you choose you may read the entire research. Let me start by pointing out that most of the research I found can be categorized (I’m sorry but the word is here again) in two: rape by strangers, which in my article I referred to as sociopathic rape and date rape which I called opportunistic rape. This is what Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Andrea Parrot’s contributes to this issue from her book, “Coping with Date Rape and Acquaintance Rape” : Unlike stranger rape, most acquaintance rape is not premeditated for the purpose of doing violence to a woman and degrading her…Acquaintance rape is premeditated or planned sex and ends as aggression only if the victim does not comply with the rapist’s demands. Her views are supported by this study  shows that “the majority of the sexual attacks (55-61%) committed by these men were premeditated across their first, middle, and last rapes, while fewer rapists reported their crimes as being impulsive (15-22%) or opportunistic (22-24%).”

Case Studies for Rape and Dressing

Theresa Meiner’s Research on Workplace Harassment

This study by Theresa Meiner, focuses on the topic: Sexy Dressing Revisited: Does Target Dress Play a Part in Sexual Harassment Cases?  She focuses on workplace harassment and concludes that when cases go to court defendants do not use dressing to try to “weasel out of claims”. Instead, the plaintiffs “frequently raised comments about their dress as part of their sexual harassment allegations”. Ms Meiner’s findings are not unexpected. In legal settings, it would be counter-intuitive for the defendants lawyer to argue that his client’s actions were a result of how a woman dressed to the workplace. There generally are expectations of formality at the workplace. Note though that plaintiffs raised the issue of their clients dressing in order to show that they were not welcoming of harassment. Looked at on its own merit, this finding does indeed draw a link between sexual harassment and dressing. Meiner’s research shows that dressing is like the elephant in the room. Defendants don’t want to use it, Plaintiffs don’t mind using it. But, the elephant is in the room and refuses to go away. Also note that Meiner’s research does not say Defendants never used dressing as a plea, she says it was “rare”. Defendants interested in winning a case for their clients would raise the argument if they had to but only IF – another proof that there is a relationship between sexual harassment and dressing.  Meiner states,”It is clear, however, that comments about dress directed at plaintiffs are a component of sexual harassment allegations. Comments about dress are used to undermine working women’s authority…”

 NOI POLL (2013)

In January 2013, NOI polls published the following findings: Furthermore, in view of the debate that often arises about the cause(s) of rape in the society respondents were asked the following: What do you think is the prevalent cause of rape in the society? From the result, the majority of respondents (34%) were of the opinion that most prevalent cause of rape in the society is “Indecent dressing”; followed by 18% of respondents that cited “Unemployment”. Also, “Lack of moral values” and the “Inability to control sexual urge” were each cited by 9% of the respondents as the prevalent cause of rape. Other reasons mentioned by respondents include “Faulty upbringing” (7%), “Ungodliness”, “Illiteracy about women rights” and “Bad Company” (all with 5%). What should the finding that the majority of respondents (34%) were of the opinion that most prevalent cause of rape in the society is “Indecent dressing” mean to advocates? Amnesty International’s Kate Allen said: “The poll shows a shocking proportion of the public blame women for being raped. The Government must launch a new drive to counteract this sexist culture.” Ms. Allen added: “The poll highlights the public ignorance of the problem as well as the dreadfully low conviction rates. Joanna Perry, policy manager at Victim Support, said: “It is alarming to read that so many people seem to believe that a woman is responsible for inviting a rape or sexual assault because of what she was wearing, what she drank or how she behaved.

UK Study (2018)

A more recent study conducted in the UK provides similar finding. ’55 per cent of men believed that “the more revealing the clothes a woman wears, the more likely it is that she will be harassed or assaulted”.’ Interestingly, 41% of women held the same view which is often described as a “myth”. It is important to clarify that the myth which ought to be dispelled is that a woman deserves to be raped because of what she is wearing. As noted earlier, nothing a woman wears or does not wear should be interpreted to mean that she ought to be raped. However, we must also admit that when it comes to rape, we are not dealing with people who are acting rationally. No rational male would countenance rape under any guise. Speaking on this, Dr Hannah Bows, of the Centre for Research into Violence and Abuse at Durham University, is quoted as expressing her frustrations about how little progress has been made on dispelling rape myths. She said, “It is very depressing people think this despite awareness-raising campaigns from rape crisis centres and the police trying to dispel myths around rape.”

Lennon Et Al (2017)

Sharon Lennon and a group of other scholars did a content analysis of various research that has examined a link between sex and dressing.  The studies they analysed was carried out over a 50 year period ending in 2015 and led to the propagating of various theories including the Prospect Theory and Attribution Theory and Objectification Theory. A holistic review of these research works shows that mankind has hardly evolved in the way they view dressing as a signal of intent or in the use of dress as signal of intent.  Their findings conclude: it is clear that dress is used to infer a range of information about sex. They added: researchers have demonstrated that revealing dress evokes objectification of the woman so dressed.  Robust correlational, as well as experimental, evidence has been found  between objectification and subsequent dehumanization “in explicit reports of male sexual aggression attitudes and interests.”

@steenfox’ Twitter Poll (2014)

Nigerian Twitter user @Cherox  shared this buzzfeed piece in which I was copied . The original Tweeter @steenfox  had asked her followers to tweet and share what they were wearing when they were sexually assaulted. She got an overwhelming response. The responses suggest that “provocative dressing” did not play a role in their being targeted.  However, a majority of the women who responded were victims of assault from an acquaintance or were molested as minors. These instances hardly provide a basis for drawing the conclusion that dressing does not play a role in sexual harassment. It is impossible to tell if the acts were spontaneous or premeditated.  What conclusion can be drawn from this poll however is that a woman is more likely to be assaulted by someone she knows.

Slut Walks

The SlutWalk protest marches began on April 3, 2011, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, with subsequent rallies occurring globally. Participants protest against explaining or excusing rape by referring to any aspect of a woman’s appearance and call for an end to rape culture.  Slutwalks are organized (where some of the women dress like sluts) to show it is wrong to rape a woman because of how she dresses. These walks in themselves go to show that there is a relationship between sexual harassment and dressing. Telling men not to rape a woman because of how she dresses is an admittance that some men could be moved to rape women because of how they dress. Do you still remember the difference between ‘can’ and “should’? (Sorry, just checking)

Profiling a Rapist

It has been noted that rapists are “extremely heterogeneous”.  The different types of rape leads to different ways of profiling a rapist. One thing is clear, it could be anyone. Also, the victim could be anyone. But, some factors lead to a higher propensity of a person either getting raped or committing rape.  The Arizona State University Center for Problem-Oriented Policing has this to say about stranger rape: Offenders may pick a victim at random or because she has certain characteristics (e.g., ethnicity, hair color, size, dress style) that symbolically represent something that has angered him. Women who are alone and appear to be distracted or otherwise unaware of their surroundings may also be targets. You may also like to note some of the information presented in this piece on profiling a rapist  I share excerpts: • Cross-cultural studies of rape identify the following factors as contributors to sexual violence: sex-role socialization, rape myths, lack of sanctions for abuse, male peer group support, pornography, adversarial sexual beliefs, lack of empathy, and all-male membership groups such as fraternities and sports teams. • Alcohol abuse has been identified as a strong correlate of college rape.

Should we talk about Rape and Dressing?

What then is wrong with giving women realistic preventive advice that includes the link between rape and dressing? Many people feel that giving women guidelines about things that can be done to stay safe actually shames them. However, in the United States Colleges, sexual assault prevention workshops are conducted.  Research has shown that the type of instruction provided during these workshops can be counterproductive and have a boomerang effect. Rapists are not deterred by messages such as, “The only way to prevent rape is for men to stop raping”. In fact, a study that looked into the effectiveness of these campaigns concluded that it could be doing more harm than good in “high risk males”. It is also important to note that provocative dressing is a relative term. What can be termed provocative in one culture can be seen as modest in another.  So women need to be Aware of Non-verbal Cues. Know that if you dress sexy and flirt, some men may think you want to have sex. This doesn’t mean your dress or actions are wrong but know that they may create misunderstanding. This report on the Efficacy of a Sexual Assault Resistance Program for University Women shows that offering information and teaching and practicing skills “with the goal of being able to assess risk from acquaintances, overcome emotional barriers in acknowledging danger, and engage in effective verbal and physical self-defense” reduced the risk of rape among college women in the study in both attempted rape and completed rape.

Conclusion

Maybe the feminists are right. Talking to any woman about rape and dressing and non-verbal cues may lead to victim’s blaming. But, you are not a victim until you actually become a victim. I may be wrong, but will it not amount to perpetrating the victim-hood mentality if we hold back information from women just because that could ‘victimize’ victims? The researches that say most rape has nothing to do with dressing is right, this is because most rape is acquaintance rape. The perpetrators use rape as a tool not as an end. For them it is a tool of oppression. It is all about power over the victim. But what about Stranger Rape and other instances that may have to do with dressing. A a US study by the University of Utah  (now deleted) said about 4.4% of rape could be attributed to “provocative behaviour”. No other study has added a statistic because it is simply impossible to provide a figure. First, it would require analysing data by type of rape and then asking perpetrators why they did it. When you factor in the fact that less than 20% of rape accusations leads to convictions then you will find that as much as 60% of rape/sexual assault is in the realm of conjecture: perpetrators deny it happened, victims insist it did.

Final Word

I remain unconvinced that talking to young ladies about how to prevent rape/sexual harassment by addressing rape and dressing does more harm than good. The human brain continues to see dress as a signal of sexual interest or disinterest. We have that 34% of Nigerians out there who think that the way a woman dresses is a kind of free pass to rape her.  I will use every strategy available to prevent rape including talking to ladies about sending out the wrong signals in anyway. I will preach preventive measures but I will NEVER blame the victim if rape occurs. I will educate everyone around me that rape is wrong whether it is committed by a stranger or acquaintance. I will encourage anyone who is a victim or has witnessed a rape to report it. I will contribute to talks to ensure that the right legislation is in place to help actual victims get justice. Legislation plays a key role in ensuring that when a rape occurs, no one will be allowed to use the way the victim dresses to deny them justice. THE FACT REMAINS THAT WHETHER A PERSON TAKES STEPS TO PROTECT THEMSELVES OR NOT RAPE IS NEVER THE WOMAN’S FAULT.

Addendum

You may find this contribution in this research titled “Prosecuting and Defending Rape: Perspectives From the Bar” interesting. It contains perspectives from Barristers who have actually handled rape cases. The full research can be found here  This article discusses a qualitative study which involved in-depth interviews with a sample of ten highly experienced barristers. “Complainants were viewed by some barristers in an uncomplimentary and negative light. It was felt, for example, that juries were very affected by the appearance of witnesses.”  BAR3 said: I think it’s just common sense that if a woman looks like a scrubber she’s going to get less sympathy from a jury than someone who looks respectable. BAR2 said: It would be useful if they could sit down without showing their knickers. BAR 6 said that jurieswere not very good (at convicting) when somebody can be depicted as a slut‘. p.s I am fully aware that my views as expressed in the last article will be seen as controversial. But, they represent my convictions. I have noted the deliberate distortions of my words and I have chosen to ignore them. My personal stand remains: Rape is wrong and nothing a woman does should give anyone a right to rape her. If she says NO it means NO. Whether she said no at the beginning or just when the man is about to penetrate. Even if she is a prostitute and you have paid if she says n, do not FORCE her. The worst a man can do is ask for a refund. p.p.s Comments are welcome. I shall be polite to even rude comments. Promise.

62 thoughts on “Research on the Relationship between Rape and Dressing”

  1. People are too emotional to think of preventive measures. “Sexy dressing” is has become highly influential to some women’s self confidence. A girl I like so much blocked me on Twitter for sharing these same views.

    Ladies do not want preventive advice.

    For instance, A “normal” guy is more likely to “want to have sex with his wife” when she’s wearing “a short skirt” than when she is wearing “Jean trousers”.

    Funny enough, even when “his wife or girlfriend is not in the mood”, a few kisses and “space for the fingers to reach the vagina” is a motivation. This is how a lot of men think, especially in Nigeria. “I have had that bad mentality” (which has changed now), to “TRY A BIT MORE” (usually, a few more kisses, touching and BEGGING) even when she says she is not in the mood, and half of the time, “she happily gets in the mood”. The question is: “Is this date rape?”.

    I also had a bad mentality that a “lady wants you to try more kisses, etc”, before she says YES.

    Sadly, so many Nigerian women “have this mentality” that “if she say YES” at first kisses and touching, it means “she is a lose girl”.

    For example, my girlfriend (ex now) once told “she was not in the mood”, and I stopped the advances for that day, only for her to say later, “you should have tried harder”.

    If most people will be honest, especially in Nigeria, there seems to be a thin line between “date rape” (especially in a sexual relationship) and “begging her for sex”.

    In conclusion, both Nigerian boys and girls (from 12 years) need serious “SEX EDUCATION”.

    I for instance, as well as many other boys got “our first sex education” from peers and the teaching is usually “KISS AND HOLD HER TIGHT UNTIL SHE IS IN THE MOOD” (especially if she likes you “a bit”).
    …and that sounds like date rape.

    You’ll be surprised at how many “twenty-something” year old boys still think date rape is okay.

    1. unfortunately you are right. There is a need for education on both sides. The ladies should say what they want and mean it and the guys must stop when she says so.

      The decision as to whether it is date rape or not falls on the lady if she had said no and you pushed she could say she was raped. Which is why I believe communication should be clear and straight forward. No should be no.

    2. FALSE

      Excerpt:

      While people perceive dress to have an impact on who is assaulted, studies of rapists suggest that victim attire is not a significant factor. Instead, rapists look for signs of passiveness and submissiveness, which, studies suggest, are more likely to coincide with more body-concealing clothing. In a study to test whether males could determine whether women were high or low in passiveness and submissiveness, Richards and her colleagues found that men, using only nonverbal appearance cues, could accurately assess which women were passive and submissive versus those who were dominant and assertive.

      Clothing was one of the key cues: “Those females high in passivity and submissiveness (i.e., those at greatest risk for victimization) wore noticeably more body-concealing clothing (i.e., high necklines, long pants and sleeves, multiple layers).”

      This suggests that men equate body-concealing clothing with passive and submissive qualities, which are qualities that rapists look for in victims. Thus, those who wore provocative clothes would not be viewed as passive or submissive, and would be less likely to be victims of assault.

      Source:

      http://scholarship.law.duke.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1109&context=djglp

  2. One quote you said was:

    “The four motivations for rape are s-xual gratification, anger rape, power rape, and sadistic rape. Sexual gratification is generally believed to be the motivation behind acquaintance and date rape.”

    I was discussing this recently; I said that dress is a factor in rape, though not necessarily to the person in question. What I mean by that is, the general way that women dress (considering we are stereotyping here) is something that makes it easy to see them one way, ( if one wanted to that is). And, as the quote says that ‘gratification’ is one reason, in other words, desire, this implies again that dress and appearance is a factor. But my point, in case you missed it, is, that the one raped may be answering for the dress and actions of others. I think though that rape has many reasons, for certainly a lack of empathy is strongly involved, hence the reason that when alcohol is involved, there is more chance of rape.

    The reason we think policemen are policemen, is because they dress like policemen- right? If that is the case, then men and women (especially) should dress accordingly, and act accordingly, to not put temptation in the way of those who are obviously wrong, ie, the rapist, whether it be man or woman. This is why we put locks on doors is it not? Even without locks, no one should break in, but we know they will. So rape is wrong, but lets put the locks on doors. This means not putting oneself in the wrong situation, wrong dress, wrong attitude, drink etc.

    1. And you’re proving that you’re ignorant of the facts with your own conservative proclivities.

      Excerpt:

      While people perceive dress to have an impact on who is assaulted, studies of rapists suggest that victim attire is not a significant factor. Instead, rapists look for signs of passiveness and submissiveness, which, studies suggest, are more likely to coincide with more body-concealing clothing. In a study to test whether males could determine whether women were high or low in passiveness and submissiveness, Richards and her colleagues found that men, using only nonverbal appearance cues, could accurately assess which women were passive and submissive versus those who were dominant and assertive.

      Clothing was one of the key cues: “Those females high in passivity and submissiveness (i.e., those at greatest risk for victimization) wore noticeably more body-concealing clothing (i.e., high necklines, long pants and sleeves, multiple layers).”

      This suggests that men equate body-concealing clothing with passive and submissive qualities, which are qualities that rapists look for in victims. Thus, those who wore provocative clothes would not be viewed as passive or submissive, and would be less likely to be victims of assault.

      Source:

      http://scholarship.law.duke.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1109&context=djglp

  3. Rape is never woman’s fault but we have to consider preventive measures. Social Behavior & Dress code for men & women are meant for prevention. Preventive measures are often inconvinient. More inconvinient for the vulnerable sections. Women are vulnerable, hence they have to take more precautions. In Islam both men & women are given certain instructions like lowering gaze, not staring at each other, dressing properly, avoiding intoxicants, preventing intermingling of sexes, prohibiting dancing & singing sexually provoking songs.

    1. FALSE. Dress has no statistical significance.

      Excerpt:

      While people perceive dress to have an impact on who is assaulted, studies of rapists suggest that victim attire is not a significant factor. Instead, rapists look for signs of passiveness and submissiveness, which, studies suggest, are more likely to coincide with more body-concealing clothing. In a study to test whether males could determine whether women were high or low in passiveness and submissiveness, Richards and her colleagues found that men, using only nonverbal appearance cues, could accurately assess which women were passive and submissive versus those who were dominant and assertive.

      Clothing was one of the key cues: “Those females high in passivity and submissiveness (i.e., those at greatest risk for victimization) wore noticeably more body-concealing clothing (i.e., high necklines, long pants and sleeves, multiple layers).”

      This suggests that men equate body-concealing clothing with passive and submissive qualities, which are qualities that rapists look for in victims. Thus, those who wore provocative clothes would not be viewed as passive or submissive, and would be less likely to be victims of assault.

      Source:

      http://scholarship.law.duke.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1109&context=djglp

          1. LOL! Really now I’m done. And I have to ask you to go look for someone else to bother. Plus if you post any other abusive comment in this site, I will delete it like I deleted the last two. Remain blessed.

  4. I will definitely re-read your blog. We “know” what women should do to avoid being raped. What say you to those who rape people? I see many campaigns telling people like me that I need to do X, Y, and Z and stay away from A, B, and C. However, I have yet to see a campaign that condemns rapists entirely.

  5. Woman who dress provocatively are allowing themselves to be used and abused. It may make them feel good about themselves to show a lot of skin or wear skin tight clothes. I think this also signifies that a woman doesn’t feel confident enough to force people to judge her for personality. There is never an excuse for rape. Anyone, both male or female who dresses provocatively is motivating people to fantasize about them. It is like dangling a piece of candy in front of a child and then telling them they can’t have it. You just hope the child is mature enough to understand. Everyone has a breaking point and tempting people with forbidden fruit just adds to it. I think as a society we should all show some respect for ourselves and other people and just covet up ( I am talking to both men and women).

        1. For your information, if you had read the research study that she herself linked, you would know that was the conclusion. This lady didn’t read the research study that she cited. And I’d thank you not to make assumptions about my behavior based upon your own ignorant proclivities.

          1. “From this study we may be moved to conclude that the more provocatively dressed a woman is dressed the less likely she is to be harassed. This finding seems to agree with this feed shared by @Cherox in which I was copied http://www.buzzfeed.com/jtes/sexual-assault-survivors-answer-the-question-what-were-you-w. Most of the women in this interview were definitely not provocatively dressed”. This is a direct quote from the article. Did you read it?

          2. Did you read the study you’re referring to? That Buzzfeed post isn’t a study and you’re just showing how ignorant you are of statistics.

          3. It’s interesting how you throw around words. If you had bothered to check where the above quote was taken out from, you would see that the quote was referring to the same study you are here touting. And the Buzz feed piece was used to provide additional support for this position.

            Perhaps I need to point out at this time that you antagonistic approach is helping neither you nor this case. There is no disputing what the research says even if this stand is not entirely sacrosanct. You may choose to keep taking this research in isolation of all others or you may choose a more holistic approach. It really does not matter how loudly you scream that a dog is a pig, it won’t make a dog a pig. I wish you the best in your quest to get people on to your side of the argument.

          4. No, you’re just being patronizing now because you clearly never did your research. If you can’t even discern fact from your own opinion then this conversation is a total waste of my time.

            Oh, but just to disprove your summation:

            Excerpt:

            While people perceive dress to have an impact on who is assaulted, studies of rapists suggest that victim attire is not a significant factor. Instead, rapists look for signs of passiveness and submissiveness, which, studies suggest, are more likely to coincide with more body-concealing clothing. In a study to test whether males could determine whether women were high or low in passiveness and submissiveness, Richards and her colleagues found that men, using only nonverbal appearance cues, could accurately assess which women were passive and submissive versus those who were dominant and assertive.

            Clothing was one of the key cues: “Those females high in passivity and submissiveness (i.e., those at greatest risk for victimization) wore noticeably more body-concealing clothing (i.e., high necklines, long pants and sleeves, multiple layers).”

            This suggests that men equate body-concealing clothing with passive and submissive qualities, which are qualities that rapists look for in victims. Thus, those who wore provocative clothes would not be viewed as passive or submissive, and would be less likely to be victims of assault.

            Source:

            http://scholarship.law.duke.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1109&context=djglp

            As I mentioned, I do my research.

          5. You said this is a waste of your time, yet you remain here? Posting long and multiple comments? I am confused at the moment. Again, this is one research and you say you do your research by quoting a research already quoted? Permit me to laugh. I repeat, this is one of a number of researches quoted and acknowledged by the writer. And if after reading the entire content analysis you choose to run with just this one, fine.

          6. Yes, I choose the research that actually cites interviews with rapists themselves and that determines the pattern of behavior based upon case studies involving women being raped.

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  7. Most rape is about power and domination, not about sex. However rape is also often a crime of opportunity, which means that the rapist generally acts more or less on impulse, choosing a victim who seems available and vulnerable. While the victim is NEVER to blame, women can and should be aware of situations in which they are at higher risk, and take steps to avoid these when they can. In most cases this has more to do with location than with clothing, though. Women need to avoid being in isolated locations with a potential rapist, and they need to avoid becoming drunk or high on drugs in a situation where rape could occur. Because of the prevalence of rohypnol and other “date-rape drugs”, many women’s self-defense classes now recommend that a woman out on a date or at a party or club should never set her drink down or drink anything that is handed to her by another person. It’s sad that women must go to such lengths to protect themselves, but it is important that they do so.

    Those who rape children are psychologically ill. For them, too, rape is a attempt to exert control and power over the victim. Pedophilia is virtually impossible to treat, and in a great many cases the rapist was once a child victim, so the cycle goes on and on. Most pedophiles use shame and threats to keep their victims from revealing what is happening, so the victims do not get the help and support they need.

    1. You’re proving that you never researched this subject:

      Excerpt:

      While people perceive dress to have an impact on who is assaulted, studies of rapists suggest that victim attire is not a significant factor. Instead, rapists look for signs of passiveness and submissiveness, which, studies suggest, are more likely to coincide with more body-concealing clothing. In a study to test whether males could determine whether women were high or low in passiveness and submissiveness, Richards and her colleagues found that men, using only nonverbal appearance cues, could accurately assess which women were passive and submissive versus those who were dominant and assertive.

      Clothing was one of the key cues: “Those females high in passivity and submissiveness (i.e., those at greatest risk for victimization) wore noticeably more body-concealing clothing (i.e., high necklines, long pants and sleeves, multiple layers).”

      This suggests that men equate body-concealing clothing with passive and submissive qualities, which are qualities that rapists look for in victims. Thus, those who wore provocative clothes would not be viewed as passive or submissive, and would be less likely to be victims of assault.

      Source:

      http://scholarship.law.duke.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1109&context=djglp

  8. The flaw in your logic is this. If only 1% of rapists will target women dressed provocatively but 80% will target women dressed in a conservative fashion, dressing conservatively is a greater risk factor. The research indicates that this is very likely the case. In my experience, men are more likely to be intimidated into silence by provocative clothing and forward behavior.
    Who to victimize is a personal choice. The person 100 offenders would pass up needs only stumble across one offender who sees her as the perfect victim.

    1. The flaw in your logic is thinking 1% is negligible. The question is 1% of how what? 1? This 1% refers to humans and you are reducing them to insignificant statistics. Someone can and will benefit from the information presented. So don’t strut in and find the flaw in my logic, pick out the log in your eye first.

      1. No, you’re just proving that you have a conservative agenda if you ignore the fact more conservatively dressed women are raped as a result of social conditioning making them submissive.

        1. Are you not I the same breath ignoring the fact that less conservatively dressed women may be raped because of the social conditioning that they asked for it?

          Perhaps at this point we should return to can and should. Like I pointed out in a response to someone else, even if the figure is as insignificant as1% of rape victims and I may go down to 0.5%, they may be statistically insignificant to you but not to me. So, I will talk to the ladies around me of how not to dress or act around these crazed fellows that feel they are fair picking. In the same breath I shall spread the gospel among all men I meet, NO FEMALE DESERVES TO BE RAPED. EVEN IF SHE IS WALKING AROUND NAKED, EVEN IF SHE SAUD YES AND THEN SAID NO. LET HER BE.

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  10. I didnt have time to read the whole thing but i have to say the part where you speek of women who dress more provocative are less likely to be sexually harassed and then tie that with the same as rape. First i think, and this is my opinion since at this time i have no proof,but the only reason the defendants dont use the excuse of what the woman was wearing was the reason they chose to harass them is becuse their lawyers told them that would not be a safe argument. The reason why i think this way is because we all know that no matter what a woman wears there is no excuse to sexually harassment, just like rape, no excuse. So in the defense stand point to blame the victim due what she was wearing would make no impact so im sure they try to find a way to use how the woman was acting that provoked the harassment. My problem is how to you tie sexual harassment with rape and use the numbers of sexual harassment to conlude the same for rape?

      1. Yes. Because I took this sentence “34% believe women who flirt can be blamed if they are raped and 26% say if a woman is in sexy clothing she is partly to blame.” from your research to add it to my essay and I need your first and last name please so I can add it to work cited page. Thank you for understanding

        1. My name is Abigail Anaba. I however did not carry out the study you quoted. As stated NOI Polls did: In January 2013, NOI polls published the following findings:

          Furthermore, in view of the debate that often arises about the cause(s) of rape in the society respondents were asked the following: What do you think is the prevalent cause of rape in the society? From the result, the majority of respondents (34%) were of the opinion that most prevalent cause of rape in the society is “Indecent dressing”; followed by 18% of respondents that cited “Unemployment”. Also, “Lack of moral values” and the “Inability to control sexual urge” were each cited by 9% of the respondents as the prevalent cause of rape. Other reasons mentioned by respondents include “Faulty upbringing” (7%), “Ungodliness”, “Illiteracy about women rights” and “Bad Company” (all with 5%). 
          http://www.noi-polls.com/index.php?s_id=3&p_id=220&p_pt=1&parent=11#.UyGGF2JdV5I

  11. I’m coming late (like, really late) to this party, but I find a couple flagrant loopholes with the general way the topic is adressed on the article: first and foremost, the studies used to posit the idea that dressing provocatively does indeed play a factor into favoring sexual assault are not studies abut sexual assault but about perception of sexual assault; It doesn’t matter what the public perception is, because the public perception doesn’t change the fact that the article which claims dressing *less* provocatively could actually be more dangerous actually takes into account instances of rape. If 34% of people think rapists act on an urge produced by dressing provocatively, then 34% of people can be utterly wrong. It’s a very obvious cognitive pitfall to equate public opinion to actual statistics.
    Now for the second point: let’s assume that a woman who dresses provocatively does have even a very small chance of being raped *because* she was dressing provocatively. Even a very small chance is too much of a chance… But here comes the caveat: if *not* dressing provocatively puts the woman at even greater risk (as stated in the first study) then how would dressing less provocatively be a solution at all? It’s like saying “yes, swimming in shark infested areas is very dangerous, but you could be attacked even if you swim in tranquil waters… So I would advise you to avoid tranquil waters”… This article provides no solid defense for the idea that women should be taught to dress less provocatively in order to prevent sexual assault.

    1. Yes, you are indeed coming very late to the party and yes to all you said. Problem is, you came reading with the belief that I set out to prove there is a relationship between rape and dressing. All I did is presebt the data and perception I found on the matter and draw a conclusion on what I personally would do. What you choose to do after analyzing all of this is entirely up to you.

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  13. I’m studying correlation in psychology. Is there a correlation between suggestive dress and rape? Is it positive or negative correlation? Are there any third variables or confounding variables that might affect results?

    1. There is little or no research to prove a negative co relation: that is wearing materials that expose the body could lead to rape. I think that happens in people’s minds. Rape is not a direct result of what a woman is wearing but what a man is thinking. I think further research into the mind of a rapist will show that individual rapists have various triggers. Some could be triggered by a half naked woman or man and others by one fully clothed. This is why some think the only solution is to stop the rapist. In reality though, this may not be possible.

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  15. I think you’re right that prevention should be separated from blame. Those definitely aren’t the same thing, but people seem to conflate them. It’s really complicated and messy though. Not to mention really emotionally charged.
    I’m just sticking with my personal approach of: if they touch me sexually without asking, I kick them in the balls. The only 2 guys I’ve done it to have both collapsed on the floor in agony, allowing me to walk away calmly.

        1. But that’s such a wide category of different things. There’s just casually slapping someone on the ass and then there’s violent rape at the other extreme.
          Do you think ALL of those legitimise a kick in the balls?

          1. “Casually slapping someone in the ass” is repugnant to the recipient and s/he is free to react as they deep fit. If you don’t want to be kicked in the ball, keep your hands to yourself.

          2. I understand it’s not good. But don’t you think you need some kind of gradient of punishment.
            I mean some people consider touching your leg to be a sexual thing.
            Should that get a man kicked in the balls too?

      1. I think the key point Gary is that there’s just clear communication. So if you’re incredibly special about someone touching your leg, you just need to make that obvious because it’s not necessarily universal.
        Whereas I think touching a woman’s breasts and is universally understood as something men shouldn’t be doing. So yes, I make no apology about those guys ending up on the floor with some bruised testicles.

  16. As a feminist , I love the down to earth but the non-victim blaming way you handled the topic . I also share the same sentiments about “protection is not victim blaming” ( Mainly because I live in a third world country . Protection is the only way to survive with a shit police force , and the fact that there is little to no evidence to prove whether it was consensual sex or rape ! )

  17. Thanks very much, as one studying to be a counseling psychologist, this article has been very helpful. I also love the 1% argument because as humans, we ought to do everything we can to save a person.

  18. Hey Anagail, I didnt get a chance to read through your entire article but would you know of any research that studies the relationship between victim’s dress & incidence of rape?
    eg. Out of 100 rape victims, 60% were dressed ‘modestly’ 40% were dressed ‘provocatively’
    I’m also trying to write a similar themed article and it would be a big help. Thanks! And while I wait for your response I will try to read through your article..