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Blaming the way girls dress

Jacob Ninan

Q. As a girl I am very upset that many men are blaming girls for the way they dress for the fact that rape is increasing. Why aren't men willing to take the blame for such heinous acts?

A.Let me say at the outset that no boy or man has any excuse for raping a girl or a woman, no matter what the provocation is. It is a heinous crime which needs to be punished. But since both boys and girls would be reading this answer, let me try to explain what is going on with boys and girls in this regard, in some detail, so that everyone can learn something.

You know that God has created us male and female, right from the beginning. In God's eyes, He values everyone the same; He makes no difference between men and women with regards to their worth. At the same time, He has made men and women different; they are not the same. God has certain roles for men and He has certain different roles for women. And men and women are specifically designed to fulfil those roles, both physically and psychologically. Over the centuries many men have viewed and treated women as if women were of inferior worth and capabilities. Unfortunately many men continue with such an attitude even now. But when Jesus was here on earth He showed by His own example how men and women need to associate with one another.

The women's liberation movement rose up powerfully especially in the wake of the second world war, seeking to uplift women from a state of neglect, suppression and bondage. It succeeded in creating an awareness about these issues among people. But in trying to show that men and women were equal, some of them went on to claim that there were no differences between men and women. Women putting on clothes which used to be distinctly what men wore was a step in this direction.

But there are differences between men and women because that is the way God has made us. I repeat, we are equal but we are different. In trying to prove equality, let's not obliterate the differences.

God has made male and female differently because they are meant to be complementary to each other. There are things men and women can give to and receive from each other in marriage, which is what can be the most enriching factor in a marriage! But let's focus on the question we are looking at right now!

When a boy and girl meet, what goes on in each one's mind is different! Both of them automatically start appraising or evaluating each other, yet entirely in different ways. Generally speaking, the first thing the boy notices is her physical appearance. Girls know this instinctively and that is why they go to great lengths to make themselves attractive! As they get to know each other, the boy may develop an emotional attachment with the girl. But remember, the physical attraction is stronger for him, because of the way he has been designed.

Girls also notice the physical appearance of the boys they meet. But more important to the girl in her mind is how the boy behaves; unconsciously perhaps, she is sizing him up to see if he would be 'nice' to her, whether she can trust him, rely on him, etc. For her, emotional security is more important than the boy's physical appearance. If you don't believe me, figure out why some pretty women are happily married to plain looking men!

Men and women are also different when it comes to sexual relationship. Unless one has studied this matter, it is difficult for one to understand how people of the opposite gender feel, think and behave. If we don't understand that the other gender is different, we may assume that they should behave just like us, and that would be a great mistake.

Generally speaking, men are designed to be initiators in this area, and women are designed to be responders. Men get excited by what they see. They also get excited by what they think and imagine. It is when they get excited and they are unable to control their excitement that sometimes they commit sexual offences. There is no excuse for this lack of self-control, but girls need to be aware how this works out for boys. If men get excited by what they see--a provocatively dressed girl in a movie, TV or in real life--they may not always act out towards that person who provoked them. You must admit the media is becoming more and more provocative. If the men don't have proper understanding or self control, the excitement in their mind may cause them to take a chance later with some helpless girl in a situation which they think they can get away with. The girl who gets molested may not provoke these men, but she just happened to be in that place at that time.

On the other hand, a girl may begin to like a boy for emotional reasons, and when this bond is strong she may give in to sexual advances from the boy for fear of losing him. Girls must realise how boys get excited and avoid being in the wrong places with them.

As I said earlier, girls know instinctively that they need to look good. But they need to realise that exposing more 'skin' by scantier dresses and also showing off more 'curves' by tight clothes can both provoke men. Some girls seem to think that as long as they are 'well covered' they are ok, not realising that body tight clothing can also be provocative.

So, it is not right to blame the way girls dress as an excuse for the lack of self control for men. But you will agree that as a girl it would be wise for you not to dress provocatively and ask for trouble. You will also agree that men without understanding or self control are all over the place, and so it would be good for you to be careful where you go, who you meet with where, etc.

You may like to read Dealing with temptation

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