A particularly disturbing religious pamphlet titled 'Women & Girls' has been brought to light by the Bristol Herald Courier. Handed out in Bristol, Virginia, 'Women & Girls,' -- signed "anonymous" -- makes the argument that female victims of rape are responsible for the crime perpetrated on them because of the way they dress. "Even though nothing is showing, you're being ungodly," one recipient of the pamphlet was told. "You make men want to be sinful."
The pamphlet goes on to describe in detail the ways that rape victims are responsible for rape:
"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?"
"Scripture tells us that when a man looks on a woman to lust for her he has already committed adultery in his heart. If you are dressed in a way that tempts a men to do this secret (or not so secret) sin, you are a participant in the sin," the leaflet states. "By the way, some rape victims would not have been raped if they had dressed properly. So can we really say they were innocent victims?"
This is not the first time this argument has been made -- a recent study found that more than half of the women surveyed believed that some rape victims should take responsibility for what happened -- but it is an exceptionally extreme example.
The sexual assault program director in Bristol said that confronting arguments like these are a regular part of her work:
"This idea that men don't have enough self control - and evidently they shouldn't have to - plays into all the old myths that we've tried for years to overcome: Rape happens to 2-year-olds and 92-year-olds, not just attractive young women. How about we hold the person doing the action accountable, whoever it is going against the will and consent of somebody else?.. Blaming victims is the way we who have not been victimized feel safer. If it's their fault then I'm safer because I wouldn't do that."
Read more details here.