A Tory (British for Conservative) Member of Parliament from Gloucester basically advised women not to wear short skirts and high heels if they didn’t want to get raped on Friday. MP Richard Graham’s exact words were: “If you are a young woman on her own trying to walk back home through Gloucester Park, early in the morning in a tight, short skirt and high shoes and there’s a predator and if you are blind drunk and wearing those clothes how able are you to get away?”
Graham’s unsolicited advise comes on the heels of absolutely disturbing comments from Joanna Lumley, of Absolutely Fabulous fame:
“Don’t look like trash, don’t get drunk, don’t be sick down your front, don’t break your heels and stagger about in the wrong clothes at midnight. This is bad. It’s not me being a snob about it. It’s not me being an old woman talking to young women, its just standard practice for how our species should behave. Don’t behave badly.
I promise you it is better to look after yourself properly, which means behave properly, be polite, be on time, dress properly – I don’t mean dully – but don’t be sick in the gutter at midnight in a silly dress with no money to get a taxi home, because somebody will take advantage of you, either they’ll rape you, or they’ll knock you on the head or they’ll rob you.”
Graham said that Lumley was, “right to highlight the problem.” But it’s totes, cool, guys. Graham, according to Graham, at least, wasn’t blaming rape victims and exculpating rapists. He was merely offering some “risk management” tips: “I stressed the issue was about risk management, about being aware of what behaviour or clothes might put you more at risk and less at risk. Risk management is a million miles from saying anything like ‘she was asking for it’.” I feel so much better.
But not everyone is buying Graham’s “risk management” clarification. Labour party activist Ben Mosley said, ”This talk of ‘risk management’ sends my blood boiling….Risk management should be not cutting the police force, providing better lighting in dark areas such as the park and not cutting CCTV. It should not be about what people choose to wear.” Exactly. Politicians should offer risk management based in policy, not outfit choices.
And Gloucester city councillor Kate Haigh responded by saying, ”It is still not clear to me how he feels women should be managing risks….They should be able to go out, wearing what they want, and feel safe.” She’s also organizing a “slut walk,” encouraging women dressed in short skirts and high heels.
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