Whenever a woman is sexual assaulted or harassed, people always point out their clothes for being responsible for the mishap. They are always blamed for having enticed men into sexually harassing them. Either their over-friendly behaviour or their seductive clothing, according to the preconceived notions of the society, it’s always the women’s fault if they are raped or assaulted. Unfortunately and as offensive as it sounds, victims of sexual abuse are often asking for it, going by what they wearing at the time of the mishap. This is not what we believe, but that’s what the ongoing notion says.
But what surprises us is that, if provocative clothing was the reason behind women’s rape, we wonder what the innocent toddlers and teenagers must be wearing when their modesty was outraged by the predators. Did their pink coloured frock entice the men? Or the shabby dresses of the old women led them on?
To shun this humbug, and dismiss the idea of victim shaming, the Centre Communautaire Maritime in Brussels has put up an exhibition that doesn’t feature the pricey artefacts of 15th century. Instead, it has put up the clothes worn by the victims of rape at the time of attack, on display. This is done to drive home the fact that one’s choice of dressing cannot be attributed for the assault perpetrated on a woman.
The exhibition features items such as pyajamas, tracksuits and even a child’s My Little Pony shirt. This exhibition was organised with a hope that people would understand that a person’s outfit can never be seen as a mitigating circumstance or provocation by a rapist.
The clothes worn by the victims were obtained on loan from the victim support group which goes by the name CAW East Brabant.
''What you immediately notice when you walk around here is they are all very normal pieces that everyone would wear,'' Lieshbeth Kennes, a training and counselling employee of CAW, said.
The exhibition began on January 8 and will continue till January 20.