Let’s Talk About Victim Blaming

After seeing a rather offensive ad on the internet about rape and victim blaming made by police, I decided to throw my two cents into the mix about this quite frankly enraging matter. To me victim blaming is somewhat of a paradox.  If you are a victim it is because something unwanted happened to you that was out of your control and therefore you are not to blame.  If you are a perpetrator it is because you did something unwanted to someone else that was completely in your control so you in turn would be to blame.  Most reasonably intelligent people are capable of understanding the difference between those two things yet still when it comes to issues of rape and sexual assault the victim is made to feel that they are at fault in some way.
  • If you are driving your car and another car where the driver has been drinking comes speeding towards you and hits you, is it your fault?
  • If you put your purse/wallet into your pocket and someone else purposely bumps into you and steals it, is it your fault?
  • If your house gets damaged from stormy weather, is it your fault?
Obviously it would not be your fault in any of those cases because the events would have been out of your control.  You would not be to blame nor would anyone make you feel responsible for what had happened.  So why is it different when it comes to acts of sexual violence?  If it isn’t my fault if my purse gets stolen why is it my fault if I get sexually assaulted? If another person puts their hands on you without your permission and attempts to hurt you for their gratification IT IS NEVER YOUR FAULT.     If someone chooses to commit an act of violence on another it is not the fault of the victim.  Until more people start to realize this and stop giving rapists an out there will continue to be a huge number of rapes and assaults that go unreported.  Thankfully there are some decent ad campaigns out there that are taking blame away from the victim and trying to decrease the number of sexually violent attacks that occur. For those who still don’t get it:  If a woman
  • wears revealing outfits,
  • talks openly about sex,
  • has had a few one night stands,
  • has had sex with over 20 people,
  • obviously flirts with men and/or women,
  • drinks a lot or gets drunk on a night out,
  • goes back to a mans place,
  • brings a man back to their place,
  • and/or kisses a man,
it does not mean they will or want to have sex with any and every man.  Nor does it give any man the right to presume the woman is theirs for the taking.  If sex occurs without the full consent of both parties, that is rape.  If a woman gives her consent and says she is willing and wants to have sex with a man.  That is not rape.  I don’t think it can be said much clearer than that. There is a line between rape and sex; that is consent.  You can rationalize it all you want but if consent is not given when a sexual act takes place then it is rape and the blame is on the person that committed the act not the victim.     Photo credit xoder via the Creative Commons License.

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  • http://twitter.com/Dick_Abuser Mark Corrigan

    It would be great if we lived in a world where police could stop crimes before they even happened. Since we don’t live in that world and we are also aware the world is a dangerous place and that horrible things can happen, it stands to reason that most sensible people will take precautions to reduce the possibility of bad things happening. While I don’t advocate rape and I don’t think that rape victims ever deserve something so horrible, there is a difference between a child or a unsuspecting victim being raped and an adult who chose to insert themselves into a questionable situation while drunk being raped. I have less sympathy for someone who willfully chose to go out and get drunk, impairing thier ability to detect a bad situation or defend themselves, than I would for someone whose home was invaded and was raped at gunpoint. The same way I would have less sympathy for someone who left thier car unlocked having thier radio stolen as opposed to someone who had to have thier window smashed in to be robbed. In a perfect world this wouldn’t be a reality but we don’t live in a perfect world and I don’t see this add as anything but useful even if it does offend your delicate sensibilities. Maybe one day we can all wander the streets in any state of dress we want inebriated without a care in the world, but until that day comes I don’t see how an add like this could be any thing but helpful in educating young women that predators exist and that if you go out and get drunk the possibility of being raped is very real. I suggest you check you privilege and consider whether the police are there to coddle you or if they are simply ordinary people trying to help other people as best they can who in return the receive what is usually shit pay and very rarely any thanks.

    • K. Salis

      To have less sympathy for a female rape victim because they were drinking is incredibly harsh and judgmental. There is nothing wrong with drinking – almost everyone I know, male and female, drinks. None of them deserve to get raped or robbed or hit by a car. I don’t think women should constantly be ready to defend themselves against a would-be attacker every time they go to the bar or outside their homes like its a war zone. This idea of second class status for women in public is wrong. Women like to drink and blow off steam just like the guys do, and that’s normal. All this judgment towards women who drink sounds a little too much like the same old virgin/whore dichotomy (the bad girls deserve it and the virtuous ones don’t) disguised as a PSA. It’s not just the bad girls who drink, its the majority of women who drink. Women, young and old, know that predators exist. The education needed is that rape is the fault of the rapist, and victims should not be ashamed, blamed, or mistrustful of the police to report it. The ads clearly implicate the woman drinking as the cause for the assault without mentioning or showing the rapist, and reinforce an attitude towards victim blaming that we all should be working to change.

  • SinA

    Great piece! Straight to the point ,its not about what the victim did wrong ,what she wore, what she didnt wear , what way she acted what situation they put themselves in but the fact this crime shouldnt have been acted out in the first place! Seriously are you really gonna go there that there is less sympathy for someone that is blind drunk or ends up in a bad situation! Isnt it great to be you that you can look at someone else and judge them for getting pissed oh sorry a woman might i add getting drunk, silly girl had it coming right? Dont be ridiculous any woman has the right to get drunk without worrying about getting assaulted or raped! No one thinks that when you see a man walking up the road out of his mind drunk its socially acceptable but if its a woman its a disgrace! Time to rethink your way of thinking for your sake and any close females in your life! The point here is the crime should not have been committed in the first place!!!! Punish and ridicule the predator! Simple as!!!!