After a trip to South Africa just last month in which he was supposed to discuss oil and gas partnerships, Secretary of Energy, Rick Perry, came back with some unexpected opinions. (Or maybe you expected this.) Just yesterday, Perry suggested that the high rate of sexual assault in South Africa was a direct result of the lack of fossil fuels and electricity within the area.
Don’t panic, you read that right.
Rick Perry genuinely believes that one of the main reasons that sexual assault occurs in South Africa is because there are no lights that shine at night. His exact words were these:
“When the lights are on, when you have light that shines, the righteousness, if you will, on those types of acts. So from the standpoint of how you really affect people’s lives, fossil fuels is going to play a role in that. I happen to think it’s going to play a positive role.”
Let’s discuss. Sexual assault, in the eyes of Perry, is something that can only ever happen in the dark. The reasoning for that is because, in the light, “the righteousness” shines down on someone who is about to engage in this act and enlightens them. The light makes them realize that what they’re close to doing is vile, inhumane and results in great consequences.
If only that were realistic.
According to the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, 49% of sexual assaults occur in broad daylight. Nearly half. But, while this is just one source, a handful of others had similar or the exact same percentage. This puts things into greater perspective because, no, these disgusting acts of violence and intimidation are not exclusively present at night or in the dark as Perry had assumed. Without personal experience, no man or woman has any right to take it upon themselves to find a reasoning for a sexual assault to occur that does not place the abuser in the wrong. Clothing, lighting, behavior and relationships are not excuses or something that, once changed, would have prevented sexual assault or rape from occurring. None of these factors are saving graces that will save every man and woman from becoming a victim for the rest of their lives.
Perry’s statement gave me a headache. It took a moment for me to wrap my head around the fact that someone legitimately thought that a lack of electricity in a part of a large country had caused sexual assault rates to soar. And as much as we would love to kindly educate those who are misinterpreting major social issues, sometimes it’s just better to watch them crash and burn; especially if they belong to Trump’s administration.