I don't know why we keep having to point this out again and again and again, but let's say it one more time: There is never any excuse for raping someone. And yet, excuses are continually trotted out, with the phrase “she was asking for it” being one of the worst of the bunch — so here we are, calling it out yet again. The latest installment of Cut Video's One Word series has women reacting to “she was asking for it,” driving home yet again the fact that no one is ever asking to be raped. It's a familiar argument, but given how prevalent victim-blaming still is, it bears repeating. As these women — women of all ages and types — highlight, no matter how old or young someone is, or what they look like, or how they dress, that's no excuse to assault them. Ever.
The One Word video series asks groups of people to respond, in one word, to words and phrases that bear particularly heavy weights in our society. Past videos have featured women responding to words like “feminism,” “mother,” “abortion” and “bitch”; others have shown men responding to words like “father” and “gay,” or gay men responding to words like “marriage” and phrases like “acting gay.” Often the responses are more than just one word; the initial word association has a tendency to expand into a deeper discussion, which highlights exactly how much power language has.
“She was asking for it” is one of the longest phrases One Word has ever put forth for consideration; I would also argue that it's one of the most loaded. Most of us would probably say that “she was asking for it” is never, ever an acceptable explanation, reason, or excuse for someone to harass, assault, or rape someone — and, indeed, that there is never an acceptable explanation, reason, or excuse for someone to harass, assault, or rape someone, period — but victim-blaming is still alive and well neverthless. “She was asking for it” may have fallen out of favor (and rightly so), but over time, it has twisted into versions that are even more insidious: “Legitimate rape,” referring to “victimhood” as “a coveted status that confers privileges,” the simple assumption that the way someone is dressed entitles someone else to help themselves to their body, whether it be verbally or physically. All of these words and behaviors — and the countless variations on them we encounter every day — still say “she was asking for it.”
Let's be clear on this: She is never asking for it. Neither is he. Neither is zie, or xe, or ne, or ve, and neither are they. No one is ever asking for it.
Here's just a small selection of the reactions the women in the video had. Scroll down to watch the whole thing.
“No one ever asks for something like that to be taken from them.”
2. “Lame Excuse”
“It's an act committed on somebody in a non-consensual way. … So, no. No one is ever asking for it.”
And she's not the only one to have answered this way. Multiple women all said the same thing.
6. “Not True”
“It doesn't matter what she looked like, what she was saying… Nobody deserves to have the control over their body taken away from them without their consent.”
7. “The Easy Way Out”
As an excuse, it allows the perpetrator to divorce themselves from taking responsibility for their actions. But as many have said time and time again, instead of telling people not to get raped, how about we tell people not to rape in the first place?
We've come to expect people to use “she was asking for it” as an excuse. And that? Is truly horrifying.
9. “No, She Wasn't”
Watch the full video below:
Images: Cut Video/YouTube (9)