I Was Scared To Dress 'Provocatively' Because I Was Scared Of Sexual Assault
Start writing a post
Feminism

I Faced My Fear Of Dressing 'Provocatively' Because What I Really Feared Was Sexual Assault

Getting dressed in the morning shouldn't be something any girl is convinced will be a nightmare.

91
I Faced My Fear Of Dressing 'Provocatively' Because What I Really Feared Was Sexual Assault

As a girl, I was always told to "cover up." Shirts should have sleeves, cleavage shouldn't peak out, dresses should reach the knees, and makeup shouldn't be "too much." If my clothes fit me a certain way, I would be inviting people to basically attack me and anything that happens would be my fault. Because "boys will be boys," and that means it's in their DNA to gawk at pretty girls.

And even with me being called "chubby," or "thick," or "closed off," and "unapproachable," that still applied to me. I was a "pretty girl" and therefore a target if my shoulders were out. When you're twelve or fifteen, it feels like a protocol. It's the way it is and covering up is for your own good.

And all through high school, I followed the rules. I didn't dress even remotely provocatively out of fear. I was comfortable with being more reserved. I had confidence without being prudish, and I felt secure. But in time, I realized that even though my loved ones may have been just trying to keep me safe, they were victim blaming. People were telling me that if something bad happened to me, it would be my fault for dressing a certain way. But they weren't preparing me for the real fear: sexual assault

I finally realized I would never be at fault for being assaulted, God forbid it'd ever happen. It's completely out of my hands. The fear of showing my shoulders of thighs wasn't something to fear at all. Predators don't walk around with a checklist with requirements we need to meet in order to be a target.

And no one was going to tell me "you can't wear that," or deceive me by telling me I was "asking for it." So I bought a dress that was more revealing than anything I'd ever worn. It wasn't like the cute sundresses I always wore before. It was lowcut and short and when I clicked the "submit order" button, I felt like I'd done something bad. I felt all the words of assistant principals and aunts and grandmothers and my dad. It hung in my closet for months and collected dust with all the shorts I decided I was too tall to wear and tops that showed too much skin.

Then I decided to wear it on my 19th birthday. I knew I'd be with people I was comfortable around and just their presence would make me feel safe. The way I dressed would never matter, but especially not on my night. And it felt so good. I was a new kind of confident and I loved my body in a way I hadn't before. Because in all honesty, I didn't love it much. And the last thing I needed was another reason not to love my body. I was convinced it wasn't good for much more than tempting pervy men. Not to mention, I wasn't really worried about making myself look good as much as I was staying on guard.

I regained so much confidence. The kind of confidence you have when you're five and dress yourself for the first time and you feel fabulous with the plethora of patterns and colors you've chosen. No one was holding me back. I just broke the fear that people would be watching. Because they're not, they're too worried about themselves.

If it's hot, I wear less. If I'm feeling good about the way I look, I'll wear less. If I'm in a mood where wearing too much is going to annoy me, I'll wear less. And if anyone thinks my clothes, or my lack thereof, have to do with anything other than that, that's their problem.

Getting dressed in the morning shouldn't be something any girl is convinced will be a nightmare. Or clothes aren't supposed to be the monsters in our closets we were afraid of.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

Ready or not, here come the holidays, friends, and if you're as obsessed with the spirit of the season as I am, you are much more ready than not. Thanks to Hallmark Channel's Monopoly game making it possible to celebrate all year long, you can be ready now, too!

Keep Reading... Show less
Stephanie Tango

The pandemic has been in our world for more than half of 2020 and people are still acting stupid. If anything, they're getting stupider. They think that the virus is gone. It's not. Stop going to frat parties. Stop trying to go places without a mask. I wish things were normal, too. They're not.

Keep Reading... Show less
Kai Parlett

In the summer of 2017, 20 type 1 diabetics completed a 10-week 4,000+ mile bike ride from New York to California. They biked against the advice of doctors, family, and friends. Many were skeptical that people with diabetes could complete such a physically challenging trip without putting themselves in danger due to their disease.

Keep Reading... Show less

That's right, you heard that correctly: Demi Lovato and Max Ehrich called off their engagement after the couple originally announced their engagement in July after beginning to date in March.

Keep Reading... Show less
Swoon

Demi Lovato's Called-Off Engagement Reminds Us Of The Importance Of Taking Our Time In Relationships

While this may be another hardship she sadly has to endure, I know she will find a way to inspire and help others through it.

4159

I am heartbroken.

Keep Reading... Show less

We all love a good ol' sappy Christmas movie and this year, the Hallmark Channel is finally giving us what we want: diversity.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Seasonal Depression Is Real And It Deserves Our Attention

Check in on your friends throughout the winter season, it can be brutal.

111

As we transition seasons and enter the last few months of the year, some are feeling grand about this natural shift. But that doesn't mean everyone is thrilled that the weather is cooling down — it's important to extend your knowledge to the phenomenon that is seasonal depression.

The lack of sunlight during the later seasons of the year, beginning with autumn, triggers a state of depression for about 15% of the population. This results in the lack of serotonin provided by the sun, causing it to be hard for some to do a lot of the things that would normally be deemed simple tasks to do during the earlier times in the year like getting out of bed, showering, going to work/school, etc. A major difference is an intense need for sleep similar to a hibernation effect.

Keep Reading... Show less

September is Suicide Awareness Month, providing an opportunity to raise awareness, further educate yourself, and remember the reality that mental illnesses present. Yet it's critical to understand that suicide awareness is not an annual Instagram hashtag to use and forget. Actively advocating for mental health resources, progress in education, and a broken stigma is an everyday ask — an activity that we can each participate in.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments