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Some People Say the Darndest Things: Blaming the Victim

It is going to be a challenge to be politically correct about this one, but here goes:


In summary, Al-Haashim Kamena Atangana, a Muslim street cleric in Toronto, claims that rape would be far less common if women dressed more modestly (presumably in the fashion of women’s Islamic dress, is the drift I get from the article).

Though I have different beliefs, I don’t disagree entirely with Mr. Atangana. I think North American popular culture isn’t doing women any favours; women are over-sexualized in the media, in particular. Dressing more modestly is perhaps one way that women can uphold their dignity in a society that puts on such pressure to be young, beautiful, and sexually available.

Where I vehemently disagree with Mr. Atangana is this: women do not get raped because of what they are wearing. Women (or more accurately, people) get sexually assaulted because of the disordered thoughts (and subsequently, actions) of their attackers.

Has Mr. Atangana not read news stories about elderly women being sexually assaulted by young men? This sort of atrocity is in the news on a regular basis.

And what about Muslim women being abused in their own homes? I have had the pleasure of getting to know one of these women, and the horrific recounting of the physical violence and infidelity she endured from her husband left me reeling. That is by no means to say all Muslim men treat their women as property; I know several personally, and each of them is a humble, gentle soul. What I’m getting at is the picture that Mr. Atangana is trying to present is not entirely accurate.

Even “redneck” Alberta has some explaining to do.

Women are not to blame; it is the patriarchal cultural climate, in my opinion, that maintains the fallacy that women are less than men, that women are objects, that women are possessions. This is not specific to race or religion. I see this among my own “countrymen”, those who share my ethnic heritage. I see this on TV. I hear stories from other perfectly respectable women from many cultures.

The filth is not in how people dress, it is between the ears of those who justify their bad behavior by blaming their victims for their own evil actions.


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