Victim Blaming

Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault

I left this comment on a local website in response to a sexual assault and the fact that 69% of voters in a poll feel that women aren’t doing enough to protect themselves from date rape drugs.

I went for a short walk to the grocery store today, and was cutting through the park. I heard a man yell something, but I didn’t hear what, and I didn’t even know if it was to me.

Regardless, I momentarily worried that I would be assaulted. I went over my clothing (I was in a sweater and jeans) and wondered if that could be used against me. I decided that it wasn’t fitted, so it couldn’t be enticing, but that my pants are probably about a size too big and might have been easier to remove because of it.

Then I started wondering if because I was cutting through a park, if that could be used against me. Sure it was 3pm on a Sunday, but should I or could I have been safer?

I didn’t respond to the shout. Should I have looked to make eye contact in order to dissuade the attacker and let him know I was aware of his presence? I just walked by without looking. Will that be held against me if I had to take him to court?

/These/ are the things that women have to worry about when hearing a male voice in a park because people keep trying to say that women should do more to protect herself from sexual violence.

How is this what men would want? How could a man possibly think, rationally, “Gee, what I really want is for a woman to be TERRIFIED of me because if she got raped, she’d be the one blamed.”

Yea, we should all be careful and aware of our surroundings, but we really don’t need to beat it into women’s heads that they need to always be careful around men and never trust them because if we do we’re going to get raped. I mean, fuck, it probably sounds paranoid that those thoughts even occurred to me, but you can bet if I was actually assaulted those things would occur to the victim blamers.

We think of rape as happening a certain way, and that women can avoid it if they do certain things, and that if they are raped the rape will follow a certain script, and the victim will act a certain way. Hindsight is 20-20 and I’m pretty sure everyone who was raped has probably already gone over in their head what they did ‘wrong’ or what they could have done to prevented it.

(I’m using a male rapist/female victim analogy despite the fact that men can be victims and women can be rapists. I’m not trying to minimize other experiences and only speaking from my own.)

Want more?

(Role)playing the Victim – In media, victims are often told that they couldn’t really be a victim because they don’t act a certain way.

Single Story Beauty – When we hear one story, or see one thing, over and over again, anything that deviates seems wrong.

Infantilizing Women in the Name of Feminism – The right way to deal with the issues of sex work and sexual objectification isn’t blaming women and trying to take their jobs away.

4 comments

  1. Safor says:

    “Should I have looked to make eye contact in order to dissuade the attacker and let him know I was aware of his presence? I just walked by without looking.”

    I think you already answered this yourself: Yea, we should all be careful and aware of our surroundings.

    Though where goes the line between victim blaming and advice?
    Like can advice that is totally okay for men suddenly become victim blaming if the person advised is a woman?
    Like for an example: Hide in every room of your house/apartment an concealed weapon. (Obiviously one you know how to use.)

    • M. Keep says:

      I think that the problem comes when people use the advice that they give to discredit someone when they actually are raped. Like if a woman is drugged downtown, we tsk tsk her for not watching her drink better. That’s where the victim blaming comes into play, typically.

  2. pitbullgirl65 says:

    I saw an incredible video asking first men then women what they do to protect themselves from rape and sexual assault.
    The differences were astounding. Even as a woman, I was surprised at the difference, and I go through the same motions every woman does.
    For the men: I’ve seen men in their 50′s leering at children as young as 13.
    Don’t dare ask what they were wearing. They looked like kids. You men have got to step up and police other men. Please.

  3. [...] Victim Blaming - How could a man possibly think, rationally, “Gee, what I really want is for a woman to be TERRIFIED of me because if she got raped, she’d be the one blamed.” [...]

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