Clothing does not speak for sexual assault survivors

Brianna Carmack, Print Editor-and-Chief

During those few years of being a teenager, it seems like there is a new struggle you have to face every second of the day. Because of that, a lot of teenagers have low self-confidence in themselves. 

However, when a teenager finally begins to gain some of that self-confidence back, it seems like they get ridiculed, not necessarily for having self-confidence but in the way they display that confidence. When it comes to changing your style to something a little less modest, this tends to happen quite frequently. 

Many teens go through a period of constantly changing their style. This is primarily because during your teenage years, you are going through a time of figuring out who you are as a person. In some cases, teens will change their style in an effort to empower themselves and feel more attractive in their eyes, which may consist of wearing less. But, from an opposite perspective, this is disgusting and provocative, and may even be as “asking for it.” 

Based on an article from, this kind of victim-blaming is when someone defaults to question what a victim could have done differently to prevent a crime. Questioning someone’s outfit to say that they wanted the attention is victim-blaming that happens quite often in sexual assault and rape cases. Other common ways people will victim-blame is through criticizing the victim for getting drunk or “overreacting.” 

There will be moments when I walk out of my house with a pair of ripped jeans and the rips might be a little high up, and my parents will tell me to change my jeans because it’s too revealing. Why is it that I have to change my outfit because it’s “too revealing?” Parents should teach children that people who wear something slightly revealing aren’t “asking for” anything. In most cases, they want to wear whatever because they like it. Even during the Victorian era, people were still blamed, and they were fully clothed with suits and long skirts. Clothing does not equal consent in any case.

Victim-blaming is a reason why a lot of people, especially women, won’t report their assaulter or rapist. Not only are other people victim-blaming, but a sense of doubt is created in the victim itself. They begin to think that it was their fault and they were the cause of what happened to them, which is completely and utterly wrong. Victims — and their choice in clothing — should never be the reason why what happened to them happened. People assault and rape others, not clothes. 

Learning about how to ask someone if they’re ready or comfortable engaging in intimate activity will help teach kids that they don’t automatically get what they want based on someone’s clothes. No one should ever have to experience rape or sexual assault because they chose to wear something that empowers them. It is not a clothing issue, it is a people issue.