• Ash

The Only Thing we're asking for is Our Lives back.

Updated: Mar 5, 2021

Female lives are holding on by a thread. It’s becomes shorter and shorter with every new policy and law that seeks to remove feminine autonomy. Five words excuse this behaviour. Five words that have been used all to often. You’d think a phrase spoken this much, uttered under millions of breaths, laughed about between friends, would have lost its meaning by now. But no. The meaning has been held, preserved, protected in the way the lives in which the words help destroy should have been treated.

“She was asking for it”

She. Was. Asking. For. It

These five words excuse the inability to prosecute rapists. They threaten women’s rights to choose and make women afraid to leave their houses. It destroys female autonomy and renders them completely helpless in the eyes of the law. The law seems to be against women and all because of five stupid words.

Rape. Justified by those five words.

If she wasn’t wearing that, or hanging around with them, or going there, or drinking that, or saying that, or talking, or walking, or breathing.

If she wasn’t…he wouldn’t have done it.

Peru recently threw out a rape case because the victim wore red underwear. The prosecution of a crime was thrown out because of the colour of an article of clothing. Because red clothing symbolises promiscuity, it symbolises sexual expression. The judge's statement reads,

“This type of women’s underwear is normally used on special occasions leading to moments of intimacy, which gives the impression that the woman is prepared or willing to have sexual relations with the accused.”

In the eyes of the judge, It made it look like she was asking for it. It was about perception, it looked like she wanted it. Because of the colour of underwear. It didn’t matter that she repeatedly said no to the rapist. It didn’t matter that she was forced. None of it mattered because of the colour of her underwear.

How many times have we heard clothing being used to justify sexual harassment and rape? How many times have we seen someone criticise someone for having a skirt too short or a top too low because it could attract the wrong people?

Clothing. Who knew clothing had this much power in the face of the law. All because clothing allows people to be defined, to be contained, to be labelled. To be controlled.

Red underwear does not automatically give consent. Clothing should not exonerate a rapist for his crimes. The law seems to be more concerned with perception; if she looked like she was asking for it, then she must have been. It’s disgusting.

These five words are also used when talking about abortion and the woman’s right to have control over her own body. “If a woman didn’t want to have a baby, why did she have sex in the first place.”

The pro-life argument; a shiny wrapping paper, layers of it, all tied together with a nice ribbon of religious morality disguising what the movement is really about. Control. To shun a woman’s “lack of control” over her sexuality, to control how she chooses to deal with matters of her own body. And now this desire for ultimate control over a woman’s autonomy is held in the hands of government, of a cross on a ballot box. Democracy itself preaches on the individual’s ability to choose but now democracy is being corrupted in order to control female bodies. Gloria Steinem says it best when she says,

“Its the basis of democracy that you control your own body and its the basis of totalitarian regimes that you don’t.”

On the 26th October, Judge Amy Coney Barrett was sworn is as the newest supreme court justice in America and this, the very act of her appointment, was and is a threat to female reproductive freedom as ruled in Roe V Wade. The appointment of Coney Barrett by the Trump administration was a complete betrayal of democracy and allowed this woman, who has preached about the ‘sin’ of abortion on multiple occasions, a place in the highest court in the land. She now has the power to take away this freedom. Reverse any of the progress women have sacrificed so much to achieve.

The pro-life movement preach about sanctity of life; that only God should be able to take life as he is the one that creates it. That those who seek abortions are murders, monsters, dangers to society as. This is what they scream in the carparks of abortion clinics in America. Holding up signs with horrible violent images, calling the women “whores” and “sluts” as they are chaperoned into the clinics.

“We are helping women to avoid this agonising choice” One pro-life supporter says.

Agonising choice. Now I agree, abortion is not an easy decision. Many people struggle with the choice. I know it would be one of the hardest decisions of my life but again, it should be my decision.

I can’t begin to imagine how terrifying it would be if I had to dodge mobs of angry pro-lifers on the way into an abortion clinic. It would be true agony.

So this pro-life stance is fundamentally flawed; they are fighting fire with fire. Helping women with an agonising choice by harassing them and causing agonising mental pain for every woman that has to dodge them coming into the clinic. Every woman who cries herself to sleep every night because she can’t get the image of her rapist out of her head because she may have to live with a constant reminder of them. Every woman who hears the voice of the doctor telling her that her baby might not live past birth. Every woman who looks at her world and cannot imagine raising a baby in it. Every woman who accidentally forgets to focus on the sound of her breathe and hears the poisonous words being fired at her from across the car park. “If you didn’t want a baby, you shouldn’t have been a slut in the first place” “baby killer” “murderer.” Painting the woman as inhuman, a monster. Destroying one life in order to potentially save another.

The reversing of Roe v Wade, or any pro-abortion legislation doesn’t even eliminate abortions. It eliminates the access to safe, legal abortions. Abortions are still going to happen regardless. When abortions were illegal in the states in 1960s, the laws were broken 1 million times a year. 1 million times.

When abortion was illegal in Ireland, people travelled to England to get them done. What these laws did was prevent safe abortions. If Roe V Wade is reversed then unsafe abortions will be on the rise.

What the pro-life movement need to understand is this, in an attempt to save one potential life, they are jeopardising two.

This isn’t about religion, or so called morals or symbols. This is about women’s lives. This is about their autonomy, their rights to control their own bodies, their rights to say no. Their rights to be able to prosecute their rapists without worry that no one will believe them.

A woman’s suffering should not come down to “She was asking for it” because what we’re all really asking for is our lives back.

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