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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Guest Feature : Raise Your Boys Right And You Wouldn't Have To Mind My Short Skirt

Now this argument is not new, but coming from a Gender Minister- the most senior individual responsible with the welfare of women and children makes it even more egregious.

The old baseless, shiftless and lazy short skirt argument that doesn't even hold water. It is so useless an argument that how it was uttered from the mouth of a cabinet minister completely beats me. Not only is his argument just downright disgusting not to mention unintelligent, it is outright offensive. It is offensive to young girls who are raped by family members who know nothing about sex or sexuality.

It is offensive to women who have suffered the injustice and psychological fall out of rape who are fully covered in hijabs and burkas. And last and certainly NOT least, it is offensive to men. It implies that men are ravenous animals who have no moral uprightness or absolution and are slaves to instinct. Basically it is just an all-around terrible statement and we all lose.
We must really do better.

The point is, we are building and colluding with societies that are unbothered by the bodily security of the vulnerable in society.  The real task for all those who want to utter the "short skirt" argument is not to throw out unintelligent utterances, but to dedicate themselves to building a society where all members feel safe and do not feel threatened based on gender or any other metric.

We are socialized into blaming victims of sexual assault for something they did not invite upon themselves. I am so sickened by Otiko's comments to the point of tears especially since her message was given at an all girl’s school on a day they were celebrating their academic achievements. The sheer atrocity of it all cannot be understated.

How insensitive! Congratulations Hon. Minister you perpetuated a problem you are somehow tasked to fix, and have contributed to a vicious cycle that dispossesses women of agency and assuages the wrong thinking that cause the issues in the first place. Well done.

I can think of a million other things she could have said. She could have said anything for all I care if it would have saved us all the anger and outrage. Instead of telling girls not to wear short skirts, how about we raise boys to respect a woman's agency and crush this idea that somehow men are entitled to the bodies of their fellow female citizens.

Let's remind boys, that just as they are sovereign and reserve the right not to be defiled regardless of what they wear, that girls have the same rights???? People, all people have a right to bodily security and wearing a short skirt or otherwise does not mean you waive access to that right.

Written by Yaa Boatenmaa