Talons Philosophy

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“She was asking for it” by Ashlee

After countless nights of pondering, and an infinite amount of research, the vital factor that really helped me solidify my topic was the conversation I had with my good friend, Ben (shout out to you!). The question, “What’s one topic that irks you? Without hesitation, my reflex answer was rape culture and its discriminatory traits. So, why do these thoughts occur? Where is the foundation of such beliefs? It’s time to dissect what has constantly been bothering me: why is there fear generating from the victims, when what’s been done had an absence of consent? Maybe a step by step analysis will help me (and whoever is reading) at least understand the root of such logic.


Premise #1: women dressed provocatively evoke men’s sexual urges

Premise #2: men cannot control their sexual urges

Conclusion: Therefore, men aren’t to blame for sexual assault

Let’s start with validity. The definition of a valid statement is a one that has a conclusion that follows from its premises. Considering such definition, the premises above technically lead to the final conclusion. The argument is structured, putting aside its lack of truth or consideration. If the way women dressed did provoke sexual arousal from men, and if men had a difficult time controlling such desire, then men shouldn’t be the ones to blame. It’s as simple as which party pried it out and which party has less control over their vulnerability. As much as I think it’s quite unprofessional to incorporate personal opinions into my work, I will! Personally, I value the “truth” part of a deductive argument more than its validity; anything can be valid because validity is mostly about its structure. For instance, the argument:

Premise #1: all dogs are astronauts

Premise #2: All astronauts are Spanish

Conclusion: Therefore, all dogs are Spanish

aw ye boi

With common sense, most people can detect that such argument is blatantly false (although, never take away a dog’s right to become an astronaut). The way that this argument is structured however, is completely valid. This example can be used to prove the importance of both aspects of an argument: validity and truth.

Let’s dissect the truth aspect of such argument:

The first premise that states, “ women dressed provocatively evoke men’s sexual urges” not only comes straight from the ancient prejudice of labelling men to be more aggressive and sexually active, but is false. This generalization is an attack to not only the reputation and characterization of men, but the safety of women (or any sexual assault victims).

The second premise, “men cannot control their sexual urges” is a biased cliché, and there are countless reasons as to why it isn’t factually correct, but let’s state some of the obvious. The real question here is, what is the difference between the sexual desire of a man versus a woman? The common belief that men have a stronger sexual longing than woman, to mark them as “the gender that has the uncontrollable crave to reproduce” is a myth. This myth exists due to the fact that men generally tend to place the emphasis on the outcome of the relation (in this case, sex), while most women might value the relationship, mood, or their partner more. Although this is also a societal image formed over a period of time. There is no solid answer as to how exactly specific genders feel about sex and the amount of control they have; it’s solely dependant on the person. Being aware that many studies have proven that in fact, men do have a stronger sex drive than women, that can never be an excuse to sexual assault. Everyone, no matter the gender, is entitled to a right to safety; it’s unfair for their rights to be taken away because of someone else’s lack of self-control. A more truer statement would be, “some people cannot control their sexual urges”.

With two false (and biased) premises, it’s impossible for the final conclusion to be sound. “Therefore, men aren’t to blame for sexual assault” is technically valid, but far from being factually correct, therefore, not a sound argument. After reading many articles, my ultimate conclusion was that the main cause of rape are the rapists. There might be a higher statistic in a certain cohort or a recurring similarity in sexual assault cases, but that does not change the fact that what potentially caused it was the mindset of the rapist.

It should never be okay to normalise rape culture. Although, the argument stated above, unfortunately is still the perception of some. I do not aspire to brainwash every single existing misogynist into considering gender equality, yet I do think it’s possible for me to get some people thinking, or at least myself. These things should infuriate us; one of the biggest benefits to such arguments is that it gets us thinking. I do not believe I am doing this “because I’m a woman”, but because violation against other’s rights should never be tolerated. Some might say that this argument is completely sound, but even being the frankly neutral and indecisive person I am, my answer to that is, and will stay in a strong disagreement. 


8 Responses to “She was asking for it” by Ashlee

  1. camille says:

    Hi Ashlee! Your controversial issue totally got my attention, you used images and strong words.
    Your text is clear and easy to follow. It has great arguments and your comparisons helped to understand your point of view. Rape is a complicated issue and I totally agree with you, no woman should be blamed for being raped. The clothes that people wear are not a cause for a crime to be acceptable.You used the words well and showed your opinion, your arguments are strong and well articulated. Also your premises are very clear and all your points are understandable, you explained everything and all your examples were in the context of the issue. I liked the way that you pointed things. It’s a hard topic to talk about because it’s something that happens all the time and every where so I think when people talk about this it helps to make people think about changing their actions and thoughts.

    • wallabar says:

      Thank you so much for your comment, I really appreciate it! It’s great to hear that you could connect to it! I agree that it’s an extremely sensitive and controversial topic. Thank you again and hope you have a great day!

  2. Akhila says:

    Hi Ashlee,

    Thank you for writing about such an important and relevant topic. They way you shared your argument and ideas was very clear, concise, and easy to follow. This is a topic that also “irks” me as you said; I often get into debates with friends as well as family members, and I find it appalling when people ever try to blame the victim. I think this whole piece was written extremely well, and is something to be really proud of. :)

    • wallabar says:

      Hi Akhila!
      Wow thank you so much for your comment! It really means a lot, I’m glad that my jumbled thoughts made sense to you! haha 😀 but yeah it can really be hard especially when having discussions like this with family members :( Hope you have a great day!!!

  3. Claire says:

    Ashlee, thank you so much for covering this topic. Your title immediately caught my attention; I don’t know if there is anything that makes my blood boil as much as people who say “she was asking for it.” Someone explain to me how child victims of assault and rape were “asking for it,” or any victims for that matter? You manage to keep what could be a very heated topic come across as calm and informative; you seem very level headed and open minded, and are clearly someone who knows what she’s talking about. The way you broke down the logical argument made it so anyone could understand what you were saying, even if they themselves had not studied terms such as validity and soundness. Your “all dogs are Spanish” example, while hilarious, was also a great way to prove your point and really drive your message home. I hope more people come across your post and hear what you have to say, because it is so important.

    • wallabar says:

      Hello Claire!
      Thank you so much for your comment! It definitely means a lot! It’s great to hear that you could follow along the post with ease! I was worried that people might be confused with my writing style haha. I definitely agree that such argument creates so many questions (of anger) for people like us. It makes me the most disgusted when it involves children, rooting off of your point. I hope we can continue this conversation in real life as well! Thanks again, and have a great day!

  4. emmaf says:

    Hey Ashlee,

    Thanks for this blog post. I think that dissecting these sorts of arguments is incredibly necessary to understanding the values rooted in rape culture. I appreciate you talking about this topic seriously and thoughtfully.

    In terms of the argument itself, your analysis is thorough, and I’m glad you addressed the notion of men’s culpability when it comes to sexual assault. However, I think that the argument makes a leap from premise 2 to the conclusion, and that a third premise is needed to make the argument truly valid.

    ‘Premise #1: women dressed provocatively evoke men’s sexual urges
    Premise #2: men cannot control their sexual urges
    Premise [Conclusion] #3: Therefore, men aren’t to blame for sexual assault’

    I will be speaking for the next section as if this premises were true, but of course, this argument is one that I have an immense distaste for, and I deem completely false.

    The argument goes straight from stating a man’s lack of control, and this leads right into the conclusion that states that this lack of control removes their culpability when it comes to their actions. However, if that’s the case, we are assuming that men are not to blame for what they can’t control, but this is not explicitly stated; I don’t believe we can assume this from the previous premises. This would be the reworked argument below, let me know that you think about it, Ashlee.

    ‘Premise #1: women dressed provocatively evoke men’s sexual urges
    Premise #2: men cannot control their sexual urges
    Premise #3: men aren’t to blame for what they cannot control
    Conclusion #3: Therefore, men aren’t to blame for sexual assault’

    Although the argument still remains false under these premises, I think that this little change adds some validity. Personally, I think this third premise is instrumental to the arguments of support for rape culture. When we assume that men have little or no control over their bodies (even when it involves extremely harmful, criminal activity), the obvious follow-up is that their biology, rather than their judgment, is to blame. A ludicrous idea to me when it is stated so plainly, but one that gets capitalized on in legal courts everywhere.

    The lens of rape culture shows only one variable in the instances of sexual assault between man and woman: the woman- what she chooses to wear, how much she chooses to drink, how she chooses to behave. And when male culpability is disregarded, our attention seems to be drawn to these things, causing people to believe your first premise.

    Lastly, I found one of your last comments very interesting: ‘Although, the argument stated above, unfortunately is still the perception of some. I do not aspire to brainwash every single existing misogynist into considering gender equality’. How do you think we should begin to dismantle the supporting body of this argument while remaining safe? Does it start at the ground level with individual perpetrators, or a larger community?

    Let me know what you think! Awesome post my dude.

    • wallabar says:

      Hello Emma!
      I am blown away by your comment, thank you very much!
      I completely agree that a third premise is needed, after having a thorough look at your comment.
      A premise that clarified that “men aren’t too blame for what they control” would’ve made the transition between the premise and the conclusion way smoother. I felt that it was missing something when I was writing, and I too, believe that the second premise doesn’t always lead to the conclusion for it to be considered valid, thank you for pointing that out!

      I am captivated by your approach on how “having little to no control” would potentially put the blame on an offender’s biology, and not their judgement. I really appreciate your stance on the paradigm of rape culture; I agree that most of the focus is put on the physicality of a woman.

      If you needed me to clear up my last sentence, I think most of it came from my very careful/cautious nature as a person. I tend to believe that sometimes, it’s almost impossible to change people’s views (at least not in a short amount of time), because everyone has different “norms”. Although, a huge part of me also believes in the ripple effect of these mindsets potentially influencing many.
      But your opinion on it definitely made me consider that it might have been more powerful to end it off with a different tone, a more confident and stronger one. Thank you for pointing that out, I’ll definitely put it in to account; it’s something I tend to do very often (sounding unsure).

      I’m glad to see that there are people who agree with me and understood what I was saying (somewhat..?)!
      I know I’ve been saying this a lot, but thanks for your comment! I really appreciate your time spent on this very thoughtful response.
      Have a good night and stay awesome!!!


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