Women During The Past And Present Essay

Women During The Past And Present Essay

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There is little doubt that women today experience very different forms of oppression than the oppression experienced by women a century ago. However it seems to be not as much it what oppression women experience as opposed to how women experience that oppression. The struggle of women to have their voices heard and respected is one that has raged for years. While progress has certainly been made there are particular narratives regarding women that appear to remain imperishable to the advancement of gender equality. One such narrative is that of the ‘ideal’ rape victim. Society, both in the past and present, creates these narratives and images of someone who is capable of being sexually violated, and someone who is not. These narratives make their way into our justice system, which is not immune to gender bias, and have a great impact on how sexual assault cases are treated and judged.
What constitutes an ‘ideal’ rape victim? Someone who is thought to be ‘capable’ of being sexually assaulted is assumed to be someone who is sexually pure, who has not been drinking, and who does not know the rapist (Singh, 2016, Lecture 8). This is true despite the fact that a large majority of women who experience sexual violence know their offender, and are often in a close relationship with them. It also helps a woman’s case of appearing more credible and being a true victim if the attack includes physical evidence of violence and resistance on the part of the woman, things such as torn clothes or physical marks such as bruises (Larcombe, 2002, pg. 132). Attached to these ideas is the narrative that women who are not sexually pure are ‘bad women’, and it is these women who will have a much harder time convincing the legal system that they have ...


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...ut whose assailants were not convicted until 1987. An inquiry into the case found that despite police being aware that white men had been sexually preying on young Indigenous women, the police did not feel that “the practice necessitated any particular vigilance” (Pietsch, pg. 139).
The “ideal” rape victim, like any social construct, is one that is constantly evolving in response to the present social climate. As ideas surrounding sexual violence, gender, and racism continue to change we can hope that a new ‘ideal’ is formed. Universities are currently forming new sexual violence policies (Singh, 2016, Lecture 13), ideas such as consent are being taught in Ontario public schools, and sexual violence prevention is becoming a trending topic. As this growth continue to happens we as a society can hope that one day the ‘ideal’ rape victim will be no rape victim at all.

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