We don’t know what we don’t know. But what we do know is that women who lie on asylum applications can still be rape victims. Women who have shady drug-dealer boyfriends can still be rape victims. Women who themselves deal drugs, or who work in as prostitutes, or who commit fraud can still be rape victims. Yes, in a court setting, a pattern of dishonesty on the part of the accuser will undercut a prosecution’s case. But we need to push back against the developing narrative that only a “perfect victim” (virginal, middle-class, impeccably honest) deserves the protection of the legal system. Women shouldn’t have to be flawless — or even all that “good” — to get justice.
[The image reads:
Rape is caused by:
(check) institutional tolerance
(check) structural violence
Not by women’s clothes, being in the ‘wrong’ place, drinking, or not being ‘careful enough.’]
I created a pdf version of this image, though I changed the text slightly to reflect a few more survivor-blaming excuses. The original image was in response to a Toronto cop telling women they could avoid sexual assault “by not dressing like sluts” – http://www.excal.on.ca/news/don%E2%80%99t-dress-like-a-slut-toronto-cop/ but that’s certainly not the only ‘reason’ survivors are blamed.
The pdf version of this image can be found here – http://hollynorris.ca/rapeiscausedby.pdf so download it, print, and post!