Straight Talk: Did girl’s risqué attire contribute to close call?

By: Lauren Forcella
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Dear Straight Talk: A friend almost got raped. We were at a club and she can be really insecure about guys, so she was flirting to the max, wearing 4zinch heels, short shorts, cleavage and tons of makeup. She went out to the parking lot with this guy and he apparently got rough with her. She re-turned really shook up and crying. I think she was dumb to dress like that – even without going to the parking lot. But other girls think you should be able to wear whatever you want. What do you say? ~Steffi, Toledo, Ohio Sarah, 19, Redding: It was probably her insecure vibe, not her outfit, that got her in trouble. One of my friends was similarly insecure. She would dress as sexily as possible and then complain about only attracting guys who treated her badly. Brie, 20, Santa Barbara: How you carry yourself is what matters. I’ve heard this from law enforcement. Lots of girls dress provocatively when they go out – myself included. I love heels and the higher the better. But I avoid sketchy situations and al-ways stay with my friends. Christina, 19, Marysville: The media teaches girls that being less-dressed and flirty is how to win guys. So we dress accordingly and are accused of “asking for it.” I’ve experienced uncomfortable at-tention wearing certain clothes and have become more careful. Please support your friend. It is men who need to change. Justin, 24, Redding: I respect the word “no.” But porn-star looks can lead to being treated like an object by some men. Personally, I’m not attracted to slutty dress because the girl appears promiscuous. Rachel, 20, Los Angeles: My university supports the SlutWalk movement, which started after a To-ronto woman was raped and police said her attire was to blame. Dressing provocatively isn’t “asking” to be raped. Sexual violence is never the victim’s fault, no matter their dress or actions. Liva, 22, Santa Barbara: A girl dressed like your friend can send a message that she wants to “hook up,” even if that’s not her intent. It was poor judgment to be alone with someone she’d just met. Nonetheless, rape is never the woman’s fault and rapists are responsible for their actions. Dear Steffie: I feel for your friend. We indeed live in a rape culture. In a 1995 nationwide survey, one-third of college men reported they would rape a woman if they knew they wouldn’t get caught. Only 4.4 percent of rapes involve provocative dress or behavior. The vast ma-jority of victims are wearing jeans and a T-shirt or sweatshirt. Most are un-der age 30. Over 90 percent know the rapist. Rapists look for vulnerability. A woman dressed like your friend attracts a lot of male attention. If she is naive or insecure, she is a target because guys know she can be conned into thinking they care about her and she’ll agree to stupid things (like going somewhere alone). Bottom line: The average young woman is not se-cure or streetwise enough to go out dressed like your friend was and safely handle the con artists/rapists she will attract. ~ Lauren For more discussion, to ask a question or inquire about being a youth panelist, visit http:// or write P.O. Box 963, Fair Oaks, CA 95628. ----------- More from Lauren Forcella: Rape culture is kept alive by the high percentages of surveyed men (and women) who believe forced sex is justified in certain situations. Examples of those situations: If a woman “leads” a man on; if she first says yes, then changes her mind; if she goes to the man’s house; if the man has spent a lot of money on her; if he is so “turned on” he can’t stop. Because of our collective mindset, most men who commit legally defined rape don’t even think it was rape. According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, one out of every six American women and one out of every 33 American men have been the victim of rape or attempted rape in her or his lifetime. These victims are 13 times more likely to abuse alcohol, 26 times more likely to abuse drugs and four times more likely to commit suicide. If you know a victim and are in a position to help, see to it that they get professional counseling – the sooner the better. It’s our own thoughts that keep rape alive. I hope my readers will take some time to look inside and adjust their moral compasses to make sex a more joyous, sacred act and the world a kinder, freer place.