She who has ears to hear: truly, the giant slut doth ask for it

Posted at 6:40 AM Mar 04, 2010

By Andrea Grimes

high heels by duygu.jpg
"And yea, though I walk through the well-lit city street, I shall fear every man, for I wear skinny jeans. My heels and my eyeshadow, they maketh me ask for it."

Repeat this to thyselves, base female sinners! For remember, if you wear the unholy clothes of whores in the VA-TN Tri-Cities area, you may be flagged down in the street and given a religious pamphlet admonishing you for your Satanic dress--and warning you that if you keep dressing like a giant slut, you are probably going to get raped, and if you do, it's your fault. Props to the local paper, the Bristol Herald Courier, covering this thoughtfully ... or at all:

Nineteen-year-old Keshia Canter handed three burgers, fries and milkshakes to a car-load of Tuesday afternoon customers at the Hi-Lo Burger's drive-though window. A lady sitting in the backseat leaned forward, between the two men in front, and handed her a leaflet: "Women & Girls" it said across the top.

"Even though nothing is showing, you're being ungodly," Canter recalled the woman telling her. "You make men want to be sinful."

What was Canter wearing? I don't know if I should even say, because if there are men reading this, they might go hunt down Canter and rape her: boots, a zipped jacket and a lip ring.

Canter was wearing boots pulled up over jeans, a pink zebra-print shirt with a black jacket zipped up over it. She has blond hair, dark eye make-up and a little red lip ring. "I just asked if she needed any salt, pepper or ketchup," Canter said. "I mean, how do I respond to that?"

Minutes later, Canter's mother, Pam Yates, who owns the restaurant, returned from the bank. Canter handed her "Women & Girls" and Yates started reading.

"You may have been given this leaflet because of the way you are dressed," it begins. "Have you thought about standing before the true and living God to be judged?"

It continues with one essential theme: The sins of men are, in part, the fault of women, specifically women in tight-fitting clothing.

The anonymous pamphlet doesn't say what is appropriate dress, it seems, only that "ungodly" attire will get you raped. So I guess throw on a toga and a big white beard, ladies, and you're good to go.

A pastor in the local community who was interviewed by the paper rebutted its main points from a religious point of view, but it's important to remember that rape victim blaming is not the exclusive domain of religious crazies. In fact, it's incredibly common. For a number of possible reasons: it creates a "This could never happen to me, for I am smart," false sense of safety for some women; or people truly believe dudes just can't control themselves around women; or because men are supposed to be the "dominant" and "aggressive" ones, and are thereby rightfully provoked; or because women are liars who secretly really wanted to have sex ... I mean, the reasons go on and on. The reason that pops up less frequently? Saying outright that a rapist is a criminal who forces a woman to have sex against her will, regardless of who she is or he he is or what she is wearing, who commits a horrible, horrible crime.

[Via Care2]


Seminymous Coward said:

Few articles say rape is "a horrible, horrible crime" for the same reason that few tell an adult that 3 + 4 = 7; it's hardly edifying to anyone that's capable of learning. Even a sociopath understands the issue perfectly. The only reason to mention such a thing is to rebuke someone who idiotically claims otherwise.

Andrea said:

Seminymous - Did you click on the "victim blaming" link up there? Plenty--PLENTY--of normal, non-sociopathic people will go to great lengths to excuse rape.

Seminymous Coward said:

I'm not sure if you mean the TriCities article or "A Tuesday twofer..." from here. I read the TriCities one today. I'd read "A Tuesday twofer..." before, and I just skimmed back over it.

In any case, I think that both are evidence that lots of people are incapable of learning. Furthermore, both include evidence of children not being given an opportunity to learn basic morality. It's a fundamental responsibility of a parent to impart a simple baseline of knowledge like arithmetic, literacy, and "violent crime is wrong." Society also has a moral imperative to assist with this education, based on its requirement for functional citizens.

When someone claims a victim is responsible for forcible rape, there's plenty of reason to call them out for it. It's also fine to just decide to write an article stating the obvious. I'm just saying the reason that the obviously correct answer "pops up less frequently" is that it is obviously correct, which means less people feel a need to voice it in the absent of dissent.

A decent person opposes racism, of course. Someone decent rarely has a reason to voice this opposition, though, since overt racism is rare in random public situations and every form of racism is vanishingly rare in decent company. Decent people don't generally hang out with or look for racists. A decent person who happens to hunt racists down to denounce them, though, sees lots of them. I think a parallel line of reasoning reveals why I think there are relatively few "people will go to great lengths to excuse rape" while you think there are "PLENTY" of them; you actively look for victim blamers so that you can rebuke them, and this naturally affects your perception of their frequency.

Then again, it's also quite possible that I implicitly defined "decent" to the exclusion of a majority of the population. I'd defer to the "Wake Up to Rape" (shudder) poll, but it's not a controlled study. In the absence of a strong source, I'll stay silent about whether "decent" as I just used it covers a majority of the population of developed nations, and the same applies to the phrase "capable of learning" from my prior comment. I find it sad I can't muster enough faith in people as a whole to claim either without evidence.

BorgQueen said:

Never mind that most criminal psychologists believe that stranger rape (which is what I am assuming these religious nutbags are trying to "protect" these women from) involves little to no actual sexual desire and is more of an act to show force/hate/dominance over a woman. So if Mr. Rapist is looking for a target he will most likely seek out a woman who looks like she would be easy to overpower and less likely to fight back. Not whether her clothes would be considered "slutty." So, argument fail on their part. Along with the like, 10,000 other fails on their part.

almost30 said:

I went to a very conservative church camp when I was a teenager. If a girl's swimsuit was deemed too skimpy, she was required to wear a t-shirt over it. I was a smart kid, and I always thought that a sopping wet, white t-shirt clinging transparently to a 16-year-old body was way sexier than a tankini.

Tasha said:

I'm just glad I wasn't drinking milk when I read the line "So I guess throw on a toga and a big white beard, ladies, and you're good to go" as I would have cow juice running down my screen right now (and probably dripping from my nostrils). Brilliant.

Easygenius said:

How terribly sad is this article? Terribly terribly. However, I think it's an isolated incident that's been blown up by the media. Certainly worth discussing even if it amounts to nothing more than a couple of wackjobs with a kinko's giftcard and a screwy moral compass.

That said, take a break from the outrage and have a cathartic laugh with your friends at

eeyoreo said:

My ex, who started taking our son to the Mormon church without my permission (against a court ordered parenting plan outlining "no unilateral decisions" regarding cultural, etc., upbringing), sent a couple of the fresh-faced youngsters to my house one night in case I had "any questions" about it. Ironically, they had "Elder" on their name tags. I told them my ex's attendance at the Mormon church as a child didn't keep him from becoming an adulterer, so I didn't take any stock in it as far as moral guidance. I then told them I believed it was sexist, as are most organized religions, and that I wouldn't interfere with the ex taking him, but they wouldn't see me there, and that if I ever heard my son telling me he thought a woman couldn't get into heaven w/o a husband to welcome her, I'd have something to say about it. After the fact, I wished that I had my own pamphlet on common sense, agnosticism, atheism, real world morality and/or critical reasoning skills to hand them. Whaddaya think?

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