Will #ThisDoesn’tMeanYes rape campaign finally put an end to victim blaming?

Four feminists, Nathalie Gordon, Lydia Pang, Abigail Bergstrom and Karlie McCulloch, have joined forces with Rape Crisis South London to launch the #ThisDoesn’tMeanYes campaign, which aims to tackle the issue of victim blaming and dispel the myth that a woman is ‘”asking for” rape by dressing or behaving in a certain way.

Because there are still plenty of men — and women — who believe that if a woman wears a provocative outfit, flirts openly, talks about sex or invites a man into her bedroom that means she’s saying “Yes” to sex, regardless of how many times she might say “No.”

“Every woman has the right to freedom of expression,” says the #ThisDoesn’tMeanYes website and, to this end, the four women hit the streets of London with renowned fashion photographer Perou — who has been previously accused of objectifying and actively sexualising women through his photography — and photographed 200 women in a pop-up street studio. It was done in a way that felt authentic and natural to the women being photographed to show that “no matter what a woman is wearing, she is never ‘asking for it’ and the mentality ‘she wants it’ is fundamentally wrong.”

The women dressed and behaved however they wanted, for no one but themselves.

“This campaign presents that ‘this’ — be it a short skirt, a low-cut top or a red lip — is not an invitation for a man to take what he chooses. It is a woman’s personal form of expression, and her right to express it,” says the campaign website.

More: Last week anti-rape campaigners slammed a Sussex Police poster campaign for “victim blaming”

Many women don’t report rape or sexual harassment because they’re scared of being blamed or not believed. This is why campaigns like #ThisDoesn’tMeanYes are so important.

The founders now want #thisdoesntmeanyes to go viral and you can help. Post a photo of yourself feeling empowered on Instagram and tag 20 other women asking them to do the same. Because nothing but “Yes” is a “Yes.”

View this post on Instagram

Some of the fiercest ladies I know have been working with #rapecrisisuk for a new campaign to fight against consent myths #thisdoesntmeanyes. Last Saturday I popped down to shoreditch to get my photo taken by @mrperou to help empower women. Now it's your turn. Post a photo of yourself where you feel empowered and tag 20 other women asking them to do the same. Let's make this go viral!!!!! Make sure you #thisdoesntmeanyes so that it feeds through to the website www.thisdoesntmeanyes.com because A SHORT SKIRT IS NOT A YES. A RED LIP IS NOT A YES. A WINK IS NOT A YES. A SLOW DANCE IS NOT A YES. A WALK HOME IS NOT A YES. A DRINK BACK AT MINE IS NOT A YES. A KISS ON THE SOFA IS NOT A YES. WHAT I WEAR AND HOW I BEHAVE ARE NOT INVITATIONS.

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Photo credit: Pip Jolley/Instagram

Photo credit: Alice Donnelly/Instagram

Photo credit: Leanne/Instagram

More: #ReportittoStopit campaign tackles unwanted sexual behaviour on public transport

You can find your nearest Rape Crisis centre through www.rapecrisis.org.uk (www.rapecrisisscotland.org.uk in Scotland) or by calling 08088 02 99 99 (08088 01 03 02 in Scotland).

More on this issue

Rape culture is still alive at the Department of Veterans’ Affairs
Madonna reveals sad, horrible reason she never pressed charges for her rape
7 Ways society is encouraging a rape culture

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