The website Black Girl With Long Hair published on January 8, 2016 an article on the rape of Amber Amour, a 27-year-old African-American activist whose work centers on creating a culture of sexual consent and empowering sexual assault victims to report their assaults.
Right after being raped in South Africa where she took her “Stop rape, Educate” tour, she posted a picture of herself on her Instagram account (the picture illustrating this article) with a graphic description of what happened to her.
After reading the description, the first thing that came to my mind was “Is she crazy? She got what she asked for! How could she take a shower with a man and expect him to behave? She definitely knew what the guy was up to… and she was up for it too”. The young woman was to be blamed to me. She accepted the invitation of taking a shower with the guy and said “NO” when he tried to take the obvious step forward.
Then I continue reading the article, being on the side of those blaming Amber, especially those saying she put herself in a position to be raped to promote her cause. Then I read this :
I realized how wrong I was. The word CHOICE did not even cross my mind, the fact that she is the one to decide what she wants and what she does not want for herself, who she wants to have sex with and, most importantly, WHEN! The saddest thing is if I were in her shoes, I would have blamed myself for what happened, I would have told myself it was entirely my fault and I should have said YES since I went that far. And I would have remained silent.
I realized I never thought men should behave around women, but rather the contrary: a woman should not give the impression she is easy to get. She should not smile too much or be too friendly or get too close to a man. She should not ignite any sexual desire. Anything that may happen would happen because she did something that meant YES. Something. Anything.
How is it that the rapist is the victim? How is it that we unconsciously bear with him because he has been “tempted” and reacted to that temptation? How is it that the woman I am is ready to take the blame for being sexually assaulted? How many women and young girls keep quiet about being raped because they are convinced they asked for it some way or the other? As stated in the article, “The discussion around Amour’s story suggests that many believe certain situations JUSTIFY rape and there is a point beyond which men cannot control themselves, and will have no choice but to rape. Thus the victim, and not the rapist, is held accountable for her assault”.
I think this article is food for thought. I do not know much about Amber or her work as an activist, but I admire her: despite what happened and the trauma she went through, she is still fighting for the right to say NO any time, anywhere.
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